Last updated 20 June 2020.
Despite being a city brimming with cuisines from all over the world, Manchester has been a bit slow when it comes to vegan food.
The Manchester vegan food scene is certainly picking up now, with Manchester even hosting its very own vegan food festival each year, but it hasn’t always been so easy to find vegan restaurants in Manchester.
V Rev Manchester is Manchester city centre’s first and only 100% vegan eatery, and having been planted firmly on the Manchester vegan scene for a few years now, it’s safe to say that it’s here to stay.
Now, in the nature of transparency, I should let you know that I am not a vegan myself. I do eat meat, but having said that, I also love plant-based food and I especially love vegan junk food.
It is for this reason that I was so eager to dive into the Manchester vegan food scene and visit V Rev. V Rev Manchester absolutely shatters the illusion that being a vegan is all about snorting mung beans and experimenting with quinoa.
V Rev is an American style diner that specialises in gigantic burgers, loaded fries and creamy milkshakes, and is the kind of place that makes you want to unbutton your jeans and lie on the couch for a very long time recovering from your vegan food coma.
So, how was my experience at V Rev Manchester?
Just carry on reading to find out!
Manchester Vegan Food Review – V Rev Manchester
V Rev Manchester – The Vibe
V Rev Manchester makes it clear that they’re super inclusive – as long as your politics align with theirs. They are dog friendly, their toilets are for ‘all genders,’ and the walls are adorned with posters saying ‘fuck off fascists’ and ‘never trust a Tory.’
Both the staff and customers are exactly the kind of people you usually find in a vegan restaurant – expect vintage dresses, lots of tattoos and probably a fair few white people with dreadlocks (who wants to be the one to tell them?) – and cardigans are a way of life here. I’m not sure if all this is a vegan thing or a Northern Quarter thing, but it’s definitely A Thing.
As far as the interior goes, V Rev Manchester is a strictly no frills affair. Bright yellow tables are accompanied by pastel coloured plastic chairs, the walls are turquoise and and the lighting is unforgivingly bright, but it is all deliberate. V Rev is not trying to be somewhere you go for a romantic first date – it’s aesthetic is ‘American diner’ and that is exactly the look that they have achieved.
There could also be a practical reason for the lack of low lighting and comfortable chairs – vegan restaurants in Manchester are hard to come by, and I have yet to see V Rev at any less than full capacity. The idea is to pop in, slurp on a chocolate milkshake, gobble down a greasy burger and then carry on with your day, not linger over several glasses of wine and long conversations.
V Rev Manchester – The Food
You may think about vegan food and picture celery sticks and avocado, but this is not the case at V Rev. V Rev’s shtick is junk food, and huge portions of it.
The menu at V Rev Manchester is divided into quite a few sections, with breakfast and brunch being the precursor to burgers, hot dogs, loaded fries and Mac and Cheez, along with a tonne of side dishes and small plates.
The menu changes frequently, but highlights include the macatomi plaza (beef patty, deep fried Mac and Cheez patty, ‘baecon,’ house slaw, smoked gouda and pickles), a seitan hotdog with pepperoni, baecon, mozzarella, cheddar and pickles, and ‘chckn’ tenders.
There are even ‘Kebab Fries’ with coleslaw, ‘doner meat’ and chilli sauce. Ooft.
Having not eaten anything all day, I was craving a big greasy burger – my only predicament was which to go for. I knew that I wanted to try the chkn – the mock chicken is made from seitan and dipped in buttermilk before being deep fried – but I was torn between the Kenan & Kale and the Southwest of Heaven.
In the end, I opted for the Kenan & Kale (£7.25), which consists of spicy fried chkn, vegan mozzarella, smashed avocado, garlic sriracha, black kale and mayo, while my mum went for the Barbecute beef burger (£7.55) which included a ‘beef’ patty made from seitan and soy, cheez, baecon, crispy fried onions, rainbow slaw and ranch dressing.
(Update 2020 – the burgers mentioned are no longer on the menu as it changes regularly.)
With every burger, you can add a portion of skin on fries for £1 or loaded fries for £2 (the loaded fries usually cost £3.95 so this is a really good deal), and so we decided to split one portion of loaded fries between us.
We opted for the Buffalo Fries with cheez, baecon, spicy buffalo sauce, ranch dressing and fresh chives.
(Update 2020 – these fries are still on the menu, or you can opt for the Kebab Fries or Southwest Fries instead!)
V Rev Manchester Food Review
So, how was it?!
In a word, awesome.
If this is what Manchester vegan food is like, I’m all over it. The mozzarella ‘cheez’ on my burger honestly tasted better than the real thing.
One of the main complaints about vegan cheese is that the consistency is never quite right, but this stuff tasted exactly like brie, which happens to be my favourite thing in the whole world, so I was a very happy bunny.
I actually commented to my mum that if I could get my hands on this cheese every day then I would be able to give up cheese easily, and trust me, I don’t say that lightly!
As far as the actual burger itself, the chkn didn’t taste exactly like real chicken, but it was close enough. The texture of seitan is very similar to meat, and as chicken doesn’t have much flavour anyway, I didn’t feel as though I was missing anything.
My only criticism of this burger was that there could have been more smashed avocado and garlic sriracha – I can’t deny that I got pangs of jealousy looking at my mum’s HUGE burger!
All in all though, I was impressed.
As for my mum’s Barbecute, it went down a treat, as my mum said that her beef patty tasted just like the real thing. She did comment that ‘it’s all the sauces and flavourings that make it so tasty,’ which provoked an interesting conversation where we talked about how meat is almost always seasoned with herbs and spices too, and that if we were eating a plain chicken or beef burger, it would taste pretty damn bland.
She agreed with me, and said that she hadn’t thought of it like that before, and neither had I to be fair!
Vegans 1 – Meat Lovers 0.
Anyway, onto the loaded fries.
MY GOD, THE FRIES.
I’m not usually a huge lover of fries (mashed potato FTW), but these ones were absolutely COVERED in goodies, and I could not stop eating them, even when I was full to burst. I’d actually go as far as saying that the fries were my personal highlight!
The spicy buffalo sauce had just the right amount of kick, the cheez was runny and gooey and all kinds of yummy, and the baecon added a gorgeous smokey flavour.
It was my first time ever trying vegan bacon, and while the texture was a little too soft, the flavour was on point.
Add that to generous helpings of chives and mayo and you’ve truly got a taste sensation.
The fries themselves were delicious as well – piping hot, greasy and with just the right amount of crunch.
V Rev Manchester – The Verdict
Both my mum and I were extremely impressed with V Rev Manchester. The prices are fair (our total bill came to £23 for two burgers, loaded fries and two glasses of wine), the staff are super friendly and the portions are very generous. Seriously, do not even think about getting a burger and fries all to yourself. You will die and it won’t be fun.
As meat lovers, neither of us felt that our meals were lacking in any way. In fact, I felt just as gross and lethargic afterwards as I would in any greasy diner – winning!
I would definitely recommend V Rev Manchester to anybody living in or visiting Manchester. They serve up lashings of comfort food which, with it being vegan, you can eat guilt-free (well, as long as you don’t mind the calories!).
As for me, I’ll definitely be back. I need to try the chkn tenders with BBQ sauce and the mac and cheez bites, and I’m interested to check out how their £5 lunch menu compares to other Manchester lunch deals…
V Rev Manchester is open 7 days a week, 11am-11pm and can be found at 20-26 Edge Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester. For more information and to see the full updated menu, please visit their website.
More Vegan Awesomeness
If reading this has made you hungry then you’re not alone! I have put together a quick list of some amazing vegan goodies I found on Amazon, from hampers to recipe books.
Here are some of my vegan Amazon recommendations!
Vegan Recipe Books
BOSH! Simple recipes. Unbelievable results. All plants – Henry Firth and Ian Theasby
Dirty Vegan – Mitchell Beazley
Vegan One Pound Meals – Headline Home
Ms Cupcake – The Naughtiest Vegan Cupcakes in Town – Square Peg
Vegan JapanEasy – Hardie Grant Books
15 Minute Vegan – Quadrille Publishing
Zaika – Vegan Recipes From India – Seven Dials
Vegan BBQ – Grub Street