When you’re covering food in Glasgow, it’s hard not to drift into pure pig out territory.
Let’s face it, the city has embraced dirty food dining like it has fey guitar bands, and everywhere you turn there’s a new burger joint offering up the biggest, maddest creation served in a paper-lined basket.
So what happens if you’re meat-free?
Well, whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan or just looking to up the health stakes for your next meal out, we’ve rounded up some of Glasgow’s finest meat-free options, from pig out spots to refined cuisine.
The Flying Duck
Who says you can’t pig out if you’re not that into the pig? Not The Flying Duck anyway. The menu here is entirely meat-free, but that doesn’t mean salads and saintly grains – oh no. Here, mash and bangers with fried onions and gravy are the order of the day, or maybe a chilli cheeze dawg topped with pulled ‘pork’. Oh yeah, and haggis koftas – vegetarian haggis kebabs, people! It’s dirty, dirty food – and yet it’s oh so right.
142 Renfield St, G2 3AU, 0141 564 1450, flyingduckclub.com
Vegetarians looking to convince and convert the meat eaters in your crowd – this is where the magic happens. Can you say five tapas dishes for £12 every Monday? Okay, so it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue – but it’s pretty easy on the wallet. Plus, little plates equals more veggie fare to sample and share. Polenta chips, buffalo cauliflower, roast aubergine, a monster mezze platter – point well made.
22-28 Renfield Lane, G2 6PH, 0141 222 2254, stereocafebar.com
Remember when we politely suggested that you fill your boots with The 78’s blow out breakfast? Well, we’re back for more. The vegan hangout offers more than greasy spoon goodness. The regular menu is full of comfort food staples (hello coconut and bean chilli) and then there’s Thursday’s Dub and Grub. We’ll let that fantastic name sink in. Oh, and the cake too – just look at the cake.
10-14 Kelvinhaugh St, G3 8NU, the78cafebar.com
Garlic mushroom sourdough pizza with capers, spinach and cream cheeze. Possibly the best pizza I've ever tasted 🍕😋🌿 #veganglasgow #veganfoodshare #veganpizza #dairyfree #noanimalingredients #pizza #monocafe #vegan #eatclean #plantpower #veganism #vegansofinstagram #instavegan #veganfood #vegansofig #sourdough
Aside from being an all-round cool bar, music venue (complete with record store) and occasional art gallery, Mono trades in full-on vegan fare – but isn’t afraid to get a little naughty. The menu has all the usual favourites (falafel, to-fish and chips, seitan burger) but with a side of world cuisine, veggie style; a banh mi laced with sriracha mayo or lamachan, a Turkish pizza with fresh chilli and sumac. Then there are events like the regular Cantina – “chicken” (okay, seitan) and waffles with hot sauce? Go big or go home, that’s what we say.
12 King’s Court, G1 5RB, 0141 553 2400, monocafebar.com
The 13th Note
The 13th Note is another gig venue and top bar with a side of vegan fare, serving huevos mexicanos (scrambled tofu with beans, tomatoes, chilli and coriander) to the brunch crowd and tandoori halloumi or lemongrass risotto cake to the pre-giggers. Vegan beers and wines are in there too – so that’s good food and a guilt-free tipple. We’ll drink to that.
50-60 King St, G1 5QT, 0141 553 1638, 13thnote.co.uk
Usha’s Indian Street Food
A controversial choice perhaps, since Usha’s ventured onto the meat market earlier this year, moving away from its pole position as Glasgow’s dedicated vegetarian Indian restaurant. There was veggie outcry – and having sampled and loved the meat-free selection of street food, we can see why. Happily, there’s still a whole page of menu packed full of vegetarian treats. Chole dosa, dhokla rice cakes and paneer spring rolls? If ever there was a cuisine suited to meat-free eating…we’ll take two of everything thanks.
2 Byres Rd, G11 5JY, 0844 884 9399, ushas.co.uk
Saramago Cafe Bar
Situated in the achingly hip CCA, Saramago Cafe Bar was always going to be a crowd pleaser. Think industrial overheads and a smattering of fairy lights and you’ve got the perfect after work drinks venue. But you’re going to need some dinner and veggies, we’ll be damned if we’re letting you eat falafel and hummus again. How about baba ghanoush with pomegranate molasses, or mushroom, caper and black-eyed bean bruschetta? We could throw in a metaphorically meaty beetroot and portobello mushroom bourguignon, so you know we’re serious. Who needs meat when you have veggie haggis fritters with tartare? Our thoughts exactly.
Centre for Contemporary Arts, 350 Sauchiehall St, G2 3JD, 0141 352 4920, cca-glasgow.com
The Hug and Pint
Music and food – we mix them pretty well here in Glasgow. Vegan hangout-turned-hot-gig-spot is a common theme, and the latest addition to that ever-growing scene is The Hug and Pint. The menu is Asian-inspired and ever changing, depending on what’s fresh in the kitchen – but to give you a taste, we’re talking tamarind plantain, jackfruit curry, mango and seaweed salad. We know – your inner foodie senses are tingling, right? Just let it happen.
171 Great Western Rd, G4 9AW, 0141 331 1901, thehugandpint.com
Cherry and Heather
A hidden gem tucked away in Cessnock, Cherry and Heather is a beloved secret to many a sandwich fan. We let the cat out of the bag when we covered the best of Glasgow pieces – but we may not have mentioned C&H’s revolving pot of vegan soups (Japanese lentil day is a winner for us) or veggie sandwiches like the (strange yet tasty) beetroot, rose and honey goats cheese pate and omega mixed seeds. Don’t try and figure it out, food fans – just order one. Oh, and did we mention sweet chilli potato salad and vegan sushi boxes? We’ve said too much already.
7 North Gower St, Cessnock, G51 1PW, 0141 427 0272, cherryandheather.co.uk
We’ve talked about the Not Dog a lot of late. And so has the rest of Glasgow – which is why we’re throwing Bloc into the mix. It may not be a vegetarian haven, but if you’re heading out with a pro-meat crowd then you could do a lot worse than this burger bar. Consider, if you will, the Veganoid; a lot like the (veggie) Not Dog, it’s a vegan delight made with nuts, lentils, sweet potato, butternut squash and chickpeas – but this time topped with rum-laced apricot jam and jalapeno puree. Or we could suggest the V.Edgy burger; a nutty, pumpkin seed and lentil-loaded patty paired with sweet onion and cinnamon relish, cheddar and sweet pickles. We’re already there – where are you and how soon can you get here?
117 Bath St, G2 2SZ, 0141 574 6066, bloc.ru
Main image: Bloc