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9 of the best vegetarian restaurants in East Anglia

PUBLISHED: 18:00 17 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:14 19 May 2017

Wild Thyme restaurant.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Wild Thyme restaurant. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

Celebrate National Vegetarian Week at one of East Anglia’s best vegetarian cafes or restaurants

The Vegetarian Red Lion in Great Bricett near Hadleigh. Picture: GREGG BROWN The Vegetarian Red Lion in Great Bricett near Hadleigh. Picture: GREGG BROWN

It’s National Vegetarian Week, so there’s no time better to check out one of the east’s best veggie cafes or restaurants.

Cradle Foods, Sudbury

This small but perfectly formed little café, with its own flour mill by the counter, and jars of kombucha fermenting on the shelves, would more typically be found in the likes of Brick Lane, Shoreditch or Crouch End. Absolutely everything is vegan, and made with locally sourced and organic ingredients where possible. Inventive and ingenious, it’s a must-visit for anyone who doesn’t eat meat. Recent menu favourites have included ginger and pear entremets with chocolate crème anglais, and spinach and ‘brie’ tart brioche with wild garlic pesto and toasted peanut salad.

Vegan café Kind Cuisine in Sudbury for the food and drink pages of this week's EALife. Vegan café Kind Cuisine in Sudbury for the food and drink pages of this week's EALife.

The Walnut Tree, Thwaite

For travellers heading up and down the A140 this is a welcome stop, serving hearty, homemade vegetarian and vegan fare. Start your meal with oyster mushroom and cauliflower tempura, or perhaps the mushroom, rosemary, walnut and cognac pate. Then move onto the ever-popular Wellington of garlic roasted field mushroom stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in pastry, then served with white wine sauce, vegetables and potatoes. The vegan peanut butter and Oreo cookie torte have proven a real hit with diners.

Museum Street Café, Ipswich

A long-standing fixture in Suffolk’s county town. Found just off the high street, this little place serves food-to-go as well as full meals that could include asparagus and spring onion frittata, spinach and tomato pasta bake, and chickpea bake with almonds and seeds. There’s often a colourful salad bar. And you’ll always find plenty of cakes, including gluten-free, vegan and sometimes even raw options.

Wild Thyme, Norwich

A funky, homely café – all exposed brick, wooden floors and artwork. The menus here are formed based on using high quality ingredients, and cater for special diets including vegan, raw and gluten-free. There’s even organic and vegan lager, wine, beer and cider!

Dishes are designed with all food lovers in mind. So, for example, the main menu has included roasted beetroot, sweet potato and wild rice pilaf with puy lentils, beetroot baba ganoush, pistachio, preserved lemon and coriander chutney. It’s definitely not boring! There are loads of cakes and puds to choose from as well. Raw vegan chocolate, orange and coconut cheesecake anyone?

The Vegetarian Red Lion, Great Bricett

Opened under new ownership in March, the new team is keen to show that good quality vegetarian food can appeal to everyone – not just those who don’t eat meat.

Inside, the pub has been completely redecorated and is a spacious, light place for lunch and dinner. The current menu includes avocado and dill croquettes with tomato salsa, and kara masala – a curry of tomato, yam, chickpea and spinach, served with dahl and basmati rice.

Armandine’s, Diss

Set amidst a clutch of independent shops, this is a little gem of a place with a magical glass covered dining courtyard hidden inside! It really is quite special in the evenings, with fairylights twinkling as you eat.

Homemade food includes vegan, gluten and dairy-free options, made using as much locally sourced produce as possible. There are specials every day, and customers especially like the interesting salads and quiches at lunch times. You might find spicy vegetable chilli, feta, beetroot and hazelnut gratin with grain salad, or raspberry brioche pudding gracing the menu.

Kind Cuisine, Sudbury

A stripped-back, simple café serving a fresh soup and bowl food every day – which could include a vegetable broth with noodles, or an Indian platter of okra curry with lentil and chickpea dahl, pakora and rice. There are always several huge cakes to choose from, and lovely ‘cheese’ scones.

Nourish, Bury St Edmunds

Wander through Neal’s Yard, through the scents of geranium and patchouli and find yourself in this ‘superfood’ café serving fresh salads and veggie bowls, vegetarian sandwiches, herbal teas, and cakes and bakes made using unrefined sugars. You can even try raw cacao hot chocolate.

Art Café, Glandford

A pretty charming former farm building with a cornflower blue entrance and high ceilings. The café is accredited by the Vegetarian Society and a member of Slow Food UK. Pop by after shopping in one of the farmyard’s stores, for a cup of Grey Seal Coffee and a pastry, huge scones or slice of cake for the counter. Or linger longer for lunch, with the menu inspired by the seasons and changing daily.

Art-café.org

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