Vegetarian Leicester: Lunch
Though I love going out to eat with family and friends, as a vegetarian it can be difficult to find a decent meal. In my 13 meatless years I have endured more vegetable lasagnes and dry bean burgers than I care to remember, so, for the good of Leicester-based vegetarians, I have decided to put together a series of posts about my favourite places to eat. Today’s post will include a selection of the best places to go for a vegetarian lunch in the city and county, with other themed posts to follow in the coming weeks.
19 Free Lane, Leicester, LE1 1JX
Good for: Homemade, wholesome fare.
Good Earth is 100% vegetarian, and has a different menu every day. You can usually expect to find quite a few hot dishes on offer, as well as fresh salads, soups, jacket potatoes, and their famous homemade rissoles. There are always lots of amazing cakes and fresh juices available too. Everything is made from scratch, and the food is some of the tastiest and most filling wholesome veggie food I’ve had outside of my own home. My particular favourites are the cheesy chilli pasta, and carrot and lentil bake. The decor is slightly dated, but don’t let that put you off as it only adds to the restaurant’s charm – it’s like going round to grandma’s for a good ol’ fashioned cooked meal. Lunches usually come in at around £6, which is pretty decent, and cakes are around £2 each.
99 High Street, Leicester, LE1 4JB
Good for: Sandwiches and Sunday Roasts.
The Orange tree is perhaps my most frequented lunch haunt, and though it isn’t purely vegetarian, it never disappoints. Their menu changes every season, and makes the most of local produce and seasonal ingredients, and they also have several specials each week, including a vegetarian one. The main menu features a variety of different vegetarian dishes, but what I usually go for are their sandwiches and Sunday roasts. At lunch the Orange tree do a deal where you can get a sandwich, homemade chips and a soft drink for £5.95, which is an absolute bargain, and the food is delicious. I really like the current veggie sandwich, which is field mushroom and homemade red pepper pesto, with melted mozzarella. Yum! And the roasts… I can honestly say the Orange tree’s vegetarian roasts are the best I’ve had when eating out. Rather than doing the usual nut roast, they like to mix it up and offer something different every week. I’ve had everything from feta and pine nut stuffed peppers to brie, mushroom and cranberry parcels, and they’re always incredible. Roasts come with roast potatoes, fresh veg and a Yorkshire pudding, and cost £7.95 (or £10.95 with a dessert, which are also amazing).
Nagarjuna Buddhist Centre, 17 Guildhall Lane, Leicester, LE1 5FQ
Good for: Variety and vegan options.
Leicester’s World Peace Café is located inside the Nagarjuna Buddhist Centre, and has a really relaxed and family friendly atmosphere. They’re 100% vegetarian, with a number of vegan options on the menu, and they have a variety of wraps, ciabattas, salads, and daily specials (such as tagines, quiches and bakes) available. I usually go for a wrap and like to have something different every time, but their vegan offerings are particularly lovely. This is a great place to go if you fancy a peaceful lunch away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city. A meal deal comes in at around £6, and will get you a wrap or ciabatta, crisps and a drink.
1 Millstone Lane, Leicester, LE1 5JN
Good for: Quorn sausages.
Admittedly I don’t go to Firebug that often for food (I’m more likely to go in the evening for a drink), and it isn’t completely vegetarian, but they do serve a few veggie dishes. The last time I went I had a Quorn sausage sandwich, with curly fries and coleslaw, and it was fab. I love Quorn sausages, but not many eateries serve them, so it’s always nice to find a place that does – especially when they come smothered in caramelised onions! At £4.50 for a sarnie and coleslaw (or £5.50 with the fries), it’s very reasonably priced, and it’s usually quiet at lunchtime too which is always a bonus.
38 South Street, Barrow Upon Soar, LE12 8LZ
Good for: Celebratory lunches and impressive puddings.
The Hunting Lodge is located on the outskirts of Leicester so is a bit of a drive out of the city, but if you fancy going somewhere a bit fancy for a special lunch then this is the place. My family and I went there to celebrate my Master’s graduation and we all had a lovely time. Their menu is rather extensive, and they have a whole page of vegetarian options, which is both exciting and daunting when you’re used to having one or two things to choose from! My favourites are the mushroom, broccoli and stilton bake, and nut roast with apricots and goats cheese, but I want to try as many dishes as I can in the future. All of their mains come with chips or potatoes, and vegetables or salad, which can be refilled for free. Their puddings are also very impressive, and are probably my favourite thing about the place. The rich chocolate and peanut stack is honestly one of the nicest things I’ve ever tasted, but if you can’t decide which dessert to have, the ‘Give Me Five’ is the way to go. Mains cost around £10.00, and puddings are between £3.00 and £6.00.
1A The Meadway, Birstall, LE4 4NG
Good for: Big portions and jacket potatoes
Ruby Tuesdays is a lovely little cafe in the village of Birstall. It can get quite busy at lunchtime, but if you’re in a pair you can usually find a table for two near the back. The portions here are pretty big, but it isn’t just quantity over quality as luckily the food is also very tasty! I usually opt for a jacket potato with cheese and homemade chunky, creamy coleslaw, but there are loads of other veggie dishes to choose from, including omelettes and sandwiches. Their veggie sausage sandwich with cranberry sauce is also quite nice.
Check back soon for more Vegetarian Leicester posts, with a focus on breakfast, dinner, and different types of cuisine and occasion, as well a Vegetarian Nottingham post! Also, if you have any recommendations or anywhere to add to the list, please leave a comment below.