For Vegans, like myself, who now live in London going outside of the M25 can be a daunting prospect, especially when faced with finding vegan food. Limited Prets, a less forgiving stance and perhaps even a diluted understanding of veganism can spell disaster when hungry. Fortunately, Manchester is another big city haven for hungry vegans and V-Rev Vegan Diner is a torch carrier both in popularity and ingenuity.
THE VENUE: You can find V-Rev in the Northern Quarter of Manchester, located a few minutes walk from both The Arndale and Manchester Victoria. Inside feels like you’re in a jazzy pop art poster and a distinct American diner feel (duh, it’s in the name). Having grown up in Manchester, the sauce bottles and condiments remind me of many of the ‘greasy spoon’ cafes in the area – we felt at home.
THE MENU: The menu is jam packed with but on closer inspection, you see your choices are a burger, a hot dog, loaded fries, a sandwich or salad. They key here is these are items that many Vegans miss, especially in a restaurant – so i’m a fan of having a good selection of a few meals. Not to mention the variations are variations, with burgers ranging from Macaroni & Michele’s High School Reunion (A beefy patty, mac n cheez, chipotle cola bbq sauce, pickles) to Satay Away (A fried chkn, peanut butter, sriracha mayo, Malaysian slaw).
THE CREW: There’s a really cool vibe in this place it has to be said. We also love whoever is in charge of the sassy twitter account and the seemingly constantly watched email (you can book here). Unfortunately, whilst the restaurant wasn’t too busy it did take a while for us to be greeted and seated and our waitress didn’t seem too keen on recommending us any food…
THE BREW: A great selection of drinks are on offer here including the previously mentioned Karma Kola company’s soft drinks, 7 cocktails, 14 beers from stout to pale ale, ciders, spirits and above all else milkshakes! With three flavours to choose from (strawberry, cookies and cream and vanilla) you might need to forget about that extra side…
THE FOOD: As you can expect, the burgers are hand-formed and the chckn is battered by hand, the food did take a little while to arrive. I went for the Hell-vis Presley (Beefy patty, cheez, baecon, peanut butter, banana, pickles, baeconnaise) with extra Mexican Fries (Fries, Queso, Salsa, Guacamole, Chipotle Mayo) and a Satay Away.
It arrived, and it looked great. You get great value for money here, it has to be said. The chckn looked like an exact replica from the Colonel’s torture farm and the texture was pretty good too. Fresh Slaw, peanut butter, and sriracha mayo accompanied it and for a while, they all went really well. Then it happened. It all got a bit too much. The mayo wasn’t spicy or zingy enough to cut through the thick, seasoned chckn and abundant peanut butter.
Over on the other side of the table, the Hell-vis Presley was basking in his glory. A large patty with melted cheese and bacon slices draped over the side. The flavours were really good, and the texture of the patty was great, too. There was a similar issue with the peanut butter to everything else ratio but at least there was actual melted cheese! The bacon tasted good but wasn’t at all crispy, I found a ‘burnt’ bit in my basket and it tasted like heaven – next time i’ll be sure to ask if this is possible as a slight increase in crispiness would’ve countered the soft patty perfectly and really made the dish.
The Mexican Fries were next, and I was excited about these… Fresh Guac, check. Tangy Salsa, check. Well seasoned fries, check. Chipotle Mayo, check. These fries had everything, last check? The queso…. This was AMAZING, it was a mixture between melted cheese and sauce and was my favourite part of the meal. It tasted as good as any other vegan cheese i’ve tried and went perfectly with the other flavours. You must try this side dish.
THE VERDICT: “Great value for money with large portion sizes but when it comes to peanut butter you’ll wish you had a little less… You can tell the customer is put first here and that’s evident from the quality of everything from bun to chips, like a Vegan Five Guys!”
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