When I first came to Folkestone in 2011 to study Creative & Professional Writing at Canterbury Christ Church University, it wasn’t exactly heaving with restaurants – vegan, vegetarian or otherwise. Thankfully, Beano’s vegetarian cafe was practically next door to my university and I often went there to eat (you can read my review from 2014 here). Now Folkestone has four dedicated vegan and vegetarian cafes/restaurants with a soon-to-come dairy-free ice cream place called The Cone Zone, which is the best name ever for an ice cream place. In keeping with the ever-increasing popularity of plant-based eating and veganism, virtually all of the other restaurants and cafes that have appeared in the last few years offer not only a wide range of vegan options but many also having a separate vegan menu.
While I flicked through Simply Vegan Magazine one day, I noticed they had a ‘City Guide’ section showcasing a city’s vegan offerings. Aha, I thought. Folkestone may not be a city but it does have fab vegan offerings to rival any city and deserves a place in the magazine’s pages. The editor agreed and my article on vegan Folkestone appeared in Simply Vegan’s August issue. As well as vegetarian Beano’s and Folkestone’s 100% vegan restaurants, I highlighted just a few of the other places vegans in Folkestone can go to eat and be offered something more interesting than chips or salad. I couldn’t fit every business I’d have liked to have included because of the limited word count but, apart from the pompous husband of one non-vegan restaurant owner who was outraged his wife’s restaurant was left out, the article went down well locally.
In no particular order, the businesses I mentioned were:
Cafes, restaurants and bistros
As mentioned above, I’ve been going to Beano’s for a long time and I’m pleased it’s still there, despite the ever-growing competition. You always get a friendly service and great food there. Well, I’m assuming all the food is great but I always get the seitan wrap because I love it so much and despite my best intentions of ordering something different, I always end up saying ‘I’ll have the seitan wrap please’ each time my food order is taken.
Planet Earth Kitchen (vegan)
Lorraine and Glenn have worked really hard to get where they are and I’m so pleased they’re still going strong. They sell burgers and wraps and tofish and curry and stuff like that.
Dr Legumes (vegan)
I haven’t been here yet because a) it looks really hipster; and b) I haven’t got any friends to go with. I do need to make the effort to go though because their food looks absolutely fab.
Luben (pizza place)
Luben were the first restaurant in Folkestone to offer vegan cheese on their pizzas. It’s more of a saucy-type cheese than a chewy, stretchy type but that’s fine with me and, if you want vegan pepperoni on your pizza, they offer that too, courtesy of local vegan business Sister Seitan (who do lots of pop-ups and sell their seitanic wares online and in local shops). Luben also offer vegan mac ‘n’ cheese and a vegan salad that consists of more than lettuce and tomato.
To be fair (although that pompous man can still piss off), there were probably other more deserving restaurants, cafes and bistros in Folkestone, with a wider offering of vegan food, but I wanted to include Marleys because a) they do a vegan fry-up with vegan bacon (again, from Sister Seitan) and I haven’t seen that anywhere else ever (to be fair again though, I haven’t exactly travelled extensively); b) they use Scrabble tiles spelt out in your name to reserve your table; and c) it’s my article and I’ll include who I damn well want.
I got a whole 100 words to say what I wanted to say about local vegan or vegan-friendly businesses in Folkestone. 100 words isn’t very many but I managed to squeeze in references to:
Folkestone Wholefoods (wholefood shop)
To badly misquote Charles Dickens, Wholefoods is the best of shops and the worst of shops. It’s the best because it sells vegan essentials like Vego Bars and Round-Ups. It’s the worst of shops because if you’ve ever bought a Vego Bar or a Round-Up, you’ll know they’re fucking expensive. They’re unfortunately as hard to resist as they are expensive, so whenever I find myself in the vicinity of Folkestone Wholefoods, I walk past it with my eyes shut. They don’t only sell sweets though, they sell fresh local bread, locally sourced vegetables and other locally sourced and made groceries, store-cupboard items such as vital wheat gluten, and lots of eco-friendly products.
The Secret Salon (hairdressing salon)
Dizzy owns the Secret Salon and Dizzy is not only a brilliant hairdresser and colourist (I’d never go anywhere else now), she’s also one of the nicest people you can meet. Everything Dizzy uses in her salon is vegan and cruelty-free.
Sister Seitan (vegan)
Sister Seitan deserved a bigger mention than they did but as they (due to no fault of their own) no longer have a cafe, I had to make do with squeezing them in. Sister Seitan supply Luben and Marleys with vegan pepperoni and vegan bacon respectively, as well as hosting pop-ups at local venues and holding demonstrations where you can learn to make your own seitan. They also offer catering and consulting – find out more or buy their products at their website.
The Burlington Hotel (hotel)
Although neither fully-vegan in decor nor menu, one of the family who runs The Burlington Hotel is vegan and has been instrumental in moving away from animal products in their recent refurb. This means no more wool carpets, leather furniture or animal products in the bedding. They also have vegan-friendly cocktails using oat milk instead of dairy.
Now you know what Folkestone has to offer vegans, are you all coming to visit?