GRUB's ExtraVEGANza - January 2017
Admittedly this review from the last ExtraVEGANza (in January!) is a little late but with the next one coming this Saturday it feels like the perfect time to share my thoughts on how amazing their first vegan food fair was.
So, what is GRUB? Well, they're mini food fairs that happen every Saturday at a top location. GRUB are based at the Alphabet Brewing Company and provide "Good grub, top booze, lovely times" and they're bang on with that statement. Typically, traders sell food using animal products but they do have vegan options every week.
From what I can remember, the first ExtraVEGANza was held in honour of Veganuary 2017 and it went down like a storm. Judging by the smell of the food as we walked down the road to the Brewery we knew we were going to be in for a right treat. It was packed! It was amazing to see how many people turned up and I think at one point they were only letting people in as people were leaving - 1 in 1 out type of thing. I'm glad we got down there early as some traders sold out in a matter of hours and you'll see why below. There were 9 traders in total. They aren't all strictly vegan but they brought some 100% vegan delights to the fair. We couldn't possibly sample food from all of them as we were too full but I can say that all of the food looked incredible on the day and in people's photos on Instagram. Seriously. Good. Grub. The brewery also had a large selection of vegan beer and cider - we had some cider and it was so good.
So first up is Oh Mei Dumpling. Oh my god (or should that be Oh Mei God - sorry I had to) these were incredible! We had the Tofu & Kale Dumplings and some Sticky Rice wrapped in a Lotus Leaf. The flavours were that delicious we had a second helping of dumplings and wished we had bought more to take home. They sure are homemade with love. To see more of their gorgeous food and where they're trading next visit @ohmeidumpling - you won't be disappointed!
Next is Yakumama who serve Latin American street food. Here we had some Peruvian Tofu Wontons and a Plantain and Black Bean Arepa. Wow, just wow. This food was out of this world good! The Wontons were perfectly crispy with a beautifully delicate stuffing of spiced tofu and walnuts. Mr B and I shared the food from all the traders (so we had more of a chance to eat everything) and in hindsight... this was just too good to share. I'm sure Mr B takes huge bites so my advice... definitely get your own as those Arepa's are not for sharing. With crispy plantain, slow cooked black beans and the pink onion pickle which finished the Arepa off nicely, this was definitely my favourite food of the day, but probably because I've never tasted anything like that before. If you see their name on a food fair poster - you need to go! You can see more of their wonderful food on their Instagram page: @yakumama00. They even cater for weddings!
Last but not least was Fritto who make Italian street food. I really wanted a Panzerotti (a type of calzone) but I just couldn't fit it in. So we settled for an Italian Doughnut or Frittelle, which was coated in cinnamon sugar. One doughnut (I mean it was big but still why the hell did we do that?) It was amazing and I haven't had anything like that since being vegan and it reminded me of those little doughnut stalls where you can get 5 sugar coated doughnuts for £1. They always have them at fairs and sometimes outside garden centres (or maybe that's just what happens in my home town). I wanted another one but the queue was just too long (and rightly so). Moral of the story... don't do that thing that women do "I don't want my own, I'll just have some of yours". You know you will regret it. Follow Fritto on Instagram and go get yourself some doughnuts (plural!).
There were also stalls by Manjit's Kitchen who made tasty looking Indian food (which smelled incredible) and The Ottomen serving Ottoman and Mediterranean street food. I totally regret not getting a mezze plate from them as I was drooling over Instagram photos for days afterwards! They even had an 'Insane Mezze Wrap' menu which says it all (picture vegan Kofte's and hummus all wrapped up - yum!) There were also Mexican hot sauces from Los Antojitos, cakes from Blawd and chocolate from In Truffle We Trust. We couldn't even get a look in as the stalls were rammed. I hear the cakes were good! How could I forget the vegan mozzarella from The Pasta Factory - that was incredible and this post reminds me that we still need to visit their restaurant in Shudehill.
So with all that it mind it brings me to the traders who will be serving us some delicious vegan food this Saturday. Yes everyone, THIS Saturday. Drop everything and get your ass down there. They're open from 12 - 10pm at Alphabet Brewing Company, 99 North Western Street, Manchester, M12 6JL. It's less than a 10 minute walk from Piccadilly train station. The next lot of traders are:
- Wholesome Junkies - serving vegan comfort food classics (picture Dirty Fries, Spiced Kofte, Cauliflower Burgers and Triple Layered Oreo Chocolate Cake - yes... Triple layered).
- Wallace and Sons - cooking up some Gyoza and Bao's. Their first 100% vegan menu includes Five Spice Fried Tofu, Beer Battered Cauliflower and Tempura. Yum!
- Fat Annies - a notoriously meaty hot dog street trader but bringing a vegan menu to the party! Here you can taste some seriously pimped up Hotdogs, Phiily Cheese Take and all the gooey cheesy fries you can get your mits on.
- Vaso Kitchen - serving up some delicious Indian street food like Tarka Dal, Aloo Gobi and Masala Fries. Sounds absolutely yummy!
- Pollen Bakery - who will be bringing a special vegan menu including Banana & Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Loaf and Blueberry Lemon Tarts. This one is not to be missed!
- Ginger's Comfort - serving up a whole load of vegan ice cream with delicious flavours such as Salted Caramel Peanut Butter. VEGAN ICE CREAM. Enough said.
- Just in case you hadn't heard who the guest trader is... it's CLUB MEXICANA! Yummy vegan Mexican food all the way from London (I've been stalking their Instgram for ages and I'm literally gagging for some tacos). Club Mexicana will be bringing BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Burritos, Tacos and Cheeze Fries (they are Beer Battered Cheeze Fries - literally stuffed with gooey cheese). Head down to their Instagram to see what they look like - or if not turn up and let it take you by surprise!
Are you hungry yet? I sure am! You can find out more information about GRUB using their website and their Instagram (@grubmcr). I'm really looking forward to Saturday and hope it's a good turnout like last time - in that case I better get there early! Hope to see you all there if you can make it and I'll make sure my review goes up ASAP.