Stacey Black experiences the Flip-side of plant-based eating
With Veganuary over for another year, you might expect the recent push of plant-based eating to die down somewhat. Not so; 2020 is shaping up to be the year of the vegan. With historically meaty companies such as KFC, Burger King and Greggs launching vegan versions of their best-loved meals, there’s more choice – and more opportunity to go plant-based – than ever. Supermarket chains are stocking up on more vegan options to cope with demand, and for a person who enjoys a romantic stroll through the produce aisle like I do, this couldn’t be more exciting.
Vegan trends have tended towards junk food of late, so it’s refreshing to see places like Flip flying the flag for wholesome and healthful eats. Manager Sophie Fox says that the plan is to “create a quality experience of contemporary vegan food by providing the opportunity to eat in, take away and access ideas and ingredients for creating vegan meals at home”. With this in mind, I headed to the North Street deli to size up their Sunday roasts.
We arrived on a stormy Sunday afternoon, rather windswept and ready to eat. The bright space is cheerful and inviting, and offers a relaxed spot to enjoy coffee and cake, brunch or a main meal. The open-plan layout means that there’s plenty of opportunity to cast your eye over the bountiful shelves of deli staples such as pasta, pickles, beans, grains and soups. To the rear, there are several well-stocked freezer units that display plenty of chilled products like pizzas and tarts.
But my absolute favourite part is the deli counter itself, particularly the cheese section. I’m a sucker for a cheese alternative, and Flip have plenty to offer. Cashew cheese, soft cheese, Greek-style salad cheese – you name it, they have it. If I’d only remembered to bring a bigger bag, I’d have bought the lot.
After thoroughly inspecting the counter and making a mental shopping list for later, we sat at our table in readiness for our roast. The menu isn’t massive – in fact it offers only two types of roast dinner, but you know it’s going to be good. Starters (£5) are soup of the day served with North Street favourite, Mark’s Bread sourdough, and mushroom and tarragon arancini. But my friend and I decided that we wanted to tuck straight in. We chose one of each – chestnut nut roast, and butternut squash wellington (both £11.95). Mains come with a side of roast potatoes, orange and star anise carrots, mashed swede, braised red cabbage, parsnip crisps and kale. An optional extra is cauliflower cheese. You have to, don’t you?
Soon, we were both faced with a pretty decent-sized plate of food each. Colourful and prettily presented, this is the kind of Instagrammable roast you wish you could cobble together at home. I like my greens and I was pleased to see there was a substantial thatch of kale alongside a couple of big, crispy-coated roasties, lovely purple-red cabbage and smashed swede, all topped off by a giant orangey, spiced carrot.
The large nugget of chestnut roast offered a lovely crunch and tasted delicious when smothered with seasoned gravy.
The generous slice of squash wellington that was nestled amongst the veggies was quite filling on its own, but it’s the delicious vegetables that really make the plate.
A big old portion of cauliflower cheese on the side was a wholly unnecessary addition, but we got stuck in anyway. Made with cheese from their counter, the cauliflower was deceptively creamy, with just enough bite. Top it with a bit of caramelised onion and breadcrumbs and it would make
a meal in itself.
Even though we both claimed to be too full for anything sweet, the sugary temptation from the cake counter proved too much. My friend went for the chocolate and raspberry cupcake, while I chose the biggest slice of Victoria sponge anyone has ever seen. Sharing our desserts and alternating between the rich and fruity chocolate cake and the dense sponge was a good idea – we each got the best of both cake worlds.
If you’re in the market for a place that offers flexible eating, hefty serving sizes and good value, then look no further than Flip. I already have plans to go back, except this time, I’m going to need a bigger bag.
Images: Stacey Black
81 North Street, Bristol BS3 1ES / www.flipfood.co.uk
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