Last week Mr Bug and I popped into Henderson’s Vegan, Edinburgh’s very first dedicated vegan bistro. On the night of our visit it was absolutely pouring cats and dogs outside, so we were very much in the mood for some decent comfort food – would we be able to get our fix from a completely meat and dairy free menu?
The small interiors are cute and comforting, with cute bright colourful details like bright yellow chairs, multicoloured teapots and a quirky tiled floor. The menu was small but there was a decent variety that included items outside the stereotypical vegan burgers and stews.
The specials board showed a rotating selection of seasonal dishes including hummus, puddings and juices, and the kitchen was open plan with the rest of the restaurant so you could see your dinner being made pretty much in front of you, which I feel is always a really nice touch.
To drink, I had a ginger beer while Mr Bug had orange juice. The ginger beer was really nice but I particularly loved the design of the glass, and apparently it is made with fair-trade ginger grown in Sri Lanka. Either way, I really enjoyed it and it was a great accompaniment to my meal.
Mr Bug had the haggis, which is made from oats, lentils, beans and mushrooms served with turnip and potato mash. The hefty tower certainly looked impressive on the plate, and while it didn’t really taste like the real thing, it had a super satisfying flavour and texture which meant it could stand up as a dish on its own. On a cold and rainy night in Edinburgh, this certainly hit the spot!
Meanwhile, I had the chickpea pancake with lentil and apricot filling. I was really intrigued as I had never had a vegan pancake before, but this was really very good! The filling was incredible, with the apricot adding a subtile sweetness to the lentils and an overall delicate flavour that wasn’t too spiced.
It was topped with a little bit of vegan cheese, which I had heard could be really hit-or-miss, but it worked well with the dish and the whole thing was a really good, satisfying meal.
After that. we certainly had room for pudding! Mr Bug had the vegan orange and raspberry cheesecake – which was beautiful. If I hadn’t known that it was vegan, I probably wouldn’t have guessed. The texture was lovely and while the raspberry flavour overpowered the orange somewhat, it was still a really delectable desert.
Meanwhile, I ordered the affogato off the back of a very enthusiastic recommendation by our waitress. Made with soy ice cream and a shot of espresso, this was the caffeine kick I needed to finish off the meal.
And I must say, the recommendation was very much justified – this affogato was absolutely incredible! The ice cream worked with the coffee just perfectly, and once again if you hadn’t told me that it was dairy-free, I probably wouldn’t have realised. The sweet ice cream balanced the bitterness of the coffee and overall it was a fairly light desert – meaning I didn’t leave the restaurant hating myself afterwards.
Whether you’re omnivore, vegetarian or vegan, Henderson’s Vegan is definitely worth a visit. Their small menu is delicious nonetheless and demonstrates perfectly how versatile and flavourful a meat and dairy free diet can be. My only hope is that more vegan places pop up in the city soon – if this is what vegan eating tastes like all the time, then you can sign me up!
Henderson’s Vegan (website) is at 25c Thistle Street, EH2 1DX. Walk up Hanover Street and cross over George Street. Keep an eye out for the main Hendersons building on the left hand side – the wee vegan restaurant is just around the corner!