‘It was after travelling through India I decided to stop eating meat and eventually become vegan,’ explains Matt. ‘The food I had there was so good, I wanted to make exciting dishes with vegetables.’
Is there a market for vegan food in Manchester?
‘Oh yes, people travel from all over, it’s a huge trend here too.’
Do you manage to making a living with just three days?
‘Yes, actually, as we are always full. There is a real appetite for fine vegan food. People are happy to travel to Stockport.’
What struck me is their customers weren’t your average middle class hipster vegan types, they were all sorts. I had the 10 course tasting menu, priced at £65. I didn’t have any alcohol as I had to drive to Edinburgh the same day, nevertheless they do have vegan beers and wines.
The cooking was fantastically skilful, you could taste why they have won awards. This kind of deconstructed fine dining so often looks great, but tastes of nothing much. Not the case here. Even clean-eating tropes like courgetti suddenly tasted vibrant, interesting, fresh and spicy. Highlights included the deep fried capers, bursting forth like salty dark green petals; the alien looking battered enoki mushrooms, the deconstructed blackberry and apple crumble. Matt also makes his own vegan cheeseboard selection with raw cracker and home made chutney. This is modern northern British food.
NB: Since I visited them, The Allotment are moving October to Manchester City Centre.