Top 5 places to get eat vegan in Brentwood

PUBLISHED: 16:44 30 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:46 31 January 2020

Cafe 56 in West Horndon now has a 90 per cent vegan menu. Picture: Harry Limby

Cafe 56 in West Horndon now has a 90 per cent vegan menu. Picture: Harry Limby

Harry Limby

Having a plant-based diet is more popular than ever, and with headlines awash with the benefits of meat-free life, more and more options are popping up across Brentwood. From country cafes to fine dining, we’ve rounded up our favourite five venues if you want to dip a toe into the vegan lifestyle.

Spiced lentils, roasted cauliflower and crispy shallots at Alec's restaurant. Picture: Lucy Richardson.Spiced lentils, roasted cauliflower and crispy shallots at Alec's restaurant. Picture: Lucy Richardson.

Cafe 56, 56 Station Rd, West Horndon

With every corner of this cosy cafe draped in greenery, you'll certainly feel like you've come to a haven of plant-based eating.

Robbie Elmore, who has been running the little cafe for five years, has recently revamped the menu - now the "Game Changer" menu, inspired by the Netflix documentary, The Game Changer, about vegan athletes.

A self-proclaimed vegan, of two weeks, (got to start somewhere!) he has honed this 90 per cent vegan menu to perfection.

But do not fear for your carnivore friends (or token carnivore friends as Robbie might have it!) He explains: "Instead of having that token vegan dish, I wanted it so we would have the token meat dish instead."

Expect rich bean stews, spicy tomato veg balls, vegan pies, fajitas, vegan cheese - with this hearty selection, you will not be left craving a chicken nugget.

Hopefield Animal Sanctuary Cafe, Sawyer's Hall Farm, Sawyers Hall Lane, Brentwood

The sanctuary, founded by Paula and Ernie Clark, was set up after stories of ponies were being abandoned by their owners on Rainham marshes were hitting the headlines, Twenty years later, the sanctuary is going strong and last year opened a 100 per cent plant-based cafe.

After a day petting the alpacas and ponies come and treat yourself to 'sausage' rolls, savoury pasties, burger and chips, 'fish' and chips, cake, and hot drinks and syrups. More than promoting a vegan lifestyle, the cafe focuses on 'plant-based' as a dietary choice.

Alec's Restaurant, Navestock Side, Brentwood

For a more fine dining experience, "affordable luxury", and perfect for your pescatarian friends, Alec's seafood restaurant has set menus to choose from. The vegan menu changes seasonally and prides itself on sourcing everything in the Essex area. The spiced lentils are a hit, and a recurrent feature on the menu.

It also has a gluten free menu, making it an ideal choice for events with lots of diners with different dietary requirements.

The Rose, Chelmsford Rd, Shenfield, Brentwood

If the hippie haven isn't your thing, more and more vegan options are becoming available at pubs and inns.

The Rose has some vegan starters, a vegetable curry and the option to ditch the dairy in vegetarian dishes and have vegan.

Thorndon Country Park Cafes, The Avenue, Warley, Brentwood

As the weather improves these spots in the woodland are ideal for dogs and kids with great outdoor views and picnic areas. Thorndon Country Park has two cafes either end of the park, the cafe at the north by the visitors centre, is the more popular of the two, where the kids Gruffalo trials begins from. At the south end, the Forest Cafe, with a spectacular view, has an options of vegan cakes, jacket potatoes and salads, toast, soups, pies and pasties.

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