When you visit a small town in the UK, the vegan food can be extremely thin on the ground. I often find myself wandering aimlessly around provincial towns in the hope of discovering something cruelty-free to eat.
A few months ago I experienced this exact predicament in Hastings. Hastings is a picturesque seaside town steeped in history, located on the southeast coast of the mainland United Kingdom. The vegan dining options are not abundant but the people of cafe chain eat@ are somewhat redressing this imbalance.
The company showcase their range of meals across three locations. During my visit, I discovered the Alexandra Park cafe following a stroll on a bright and breezy Spring day. The food was simple and uncomplicated with a few vegan options. My potato obsession got the better of me and I ended up with a bowl of chips after quizzing the server on the vegan suitability of the ingredients and oil. Josh took charge of a vegan sausage sandwich that left a lot to the imagination but nonetheless satisfied.
The cafe did have a vegan breakfast on the menu but we didn’t make it that far. The vegan options at eat@ seemed somewhat of an afterthought. I do find this to be the case often when dining. It is as if dairy is the backbone of their business plan for making veggie meals and when you take that away, creative cooking crumbles. This is somewhat understandable in a place that serves animal flesh, but it is often seen in vegetarian restaurants too (see here and here).
I wasn’t bowled over by eat@ in Hastings. It is nice to see vegan options, but I want them to be inventive, tasty and thoughtful. As always, I welcome dissenting views from those who have experienced something different. The FGV speaks only for the FGV.
eat@ Alexandra Park Cafe, Lower Park Road, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 2LD
Click on the eat@ link above to explore their other locations.