Times are changing in the hospitality industry, and you’re thankfully no longer limited to a salad if you happen to be vegan.
Gluten free, dairy intolerant, whatever your requirement – any good eatery will cater to your needs and that includes rustling up tasty dishes that don’t involve animal products.
So when my friend decided to come through to The Granite City from Inverness for the day, there was plenty to choose from in terms of vegan cafes.
She decided to make the leap from vegetarian to vegan just before lockdown and has never looked back, so we settled on BioCafe which can be found on Rosemount viaduct.
It hails itself as the first refined sugar free cafe in Aberdeen, with a vegetarian and vegan menu to boot.
A quick browse of their social media showed mouth watering foodie snaps, including a matcha and raspberry cheesecake, alongside an incredible summer sharing platter.
Having never dined in a vegan cafe before, I was excited to broaden my taste bud horizons.
After a tiring morning of wedding dress shopping, we rocked up with rumbling tummies at around 12:30.
It was no surprise that there was a queue at peak time, but when I say busy, I mean busy!
There was an eager hum about the place, with an orderly queue snaking out into the street.
Having foolishly not booked in advance, we were lucky to get a table for two upstairs.
A cheery member of staff explained that we could come to the counter to order, once we had checked in and scanned a QR code.
The menu was extensive, and I was torn between a pitta open sandwich complete with beetroot humus, or a Korean kimchi burger.
After much discussion, because I am nothing if dedicated in my pursuit of an excellent lunch, I did a U turn and settled on an overloaded hot dog.
This consisted of a vegan sausage, topped with avocado, tomatoes, red cabbage, red onion, spring onion, hot sauce, thousand island sauce, and jalapenos.
An amen is surely required for such a concoction?
My friend decided on a mushroom and avocado waffle, smothered in pesto, feta cheese sun dried tomatoes, red onion, walnuts, and topped with wild rocket and balsamic glaze.
And because this felt like a special occasion, or maybe because we can’t resist the call of carbs, we also ordered loaded fries to share. The homemade pink mayo was just too good an opportunity to miss.”
Having ordered at the counter, our drinks arrived quickly and deserve a special mention.
I selected the classic chocolate milkshake, only this concoction was made with coconut milk and served in a cute milk bottle with a straw.
Hands down the best milkshake I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting.
It was like a bounty in a glass, and thanks to no dairy it didn’t feel heavy on the stomach.
My friend chose sugar free cola, which I was completely fascinated by. Unlike regular coke, it had no colour to it.
She confirmed that it was also delicious, so a definite thumbs up.
It was difficult to have a conversation as the cafe grew busier, and it was a bit off putting having people queue so close to the table.
There’s very little BioCafe can do about the set up though, as they can only work with the space they inhabit.
Next time we will be wise enough to book in advance, as there is a gorgeous downstairs area where the vibe is far more intimate.
Time wore on and our bellies really started to rumble, and it seemed a little chaotic watching from the outside.
When we enquired about our order, staff were incredibly apologetic and gave us a round of drinks on the house.
Our food finally arrived after 45 minutes, and it was clear that the team were working hard to try and deal with the lunchtime rush.
There is no polite way to eat an overloaded hot dog, and I apologise to anyone who witnessed me tuck in.”
I have the ability to spill food at the best of times, so my white t-shirt stood no chance against such a feast.
There were a lot of flavours going on, so it’s hard to single out one element in particular.
The red cabbage really added to the texture, and the thousand island sauce was gorgeous.
As for the sausage, it was different and not in a bad way.
Your standard hot dog can be made from the trimmings of processed meat, which doesn’t sound appetising. The vegan offering seems like the better option, and not just as a one off.
Served with salad and tortilla chips, I struggled to finish the whole dish.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t dig in to the loaded fries however, and I am now a convert.
The crispy onion combined with fresh onion, my oh my!
There was silence across the table as my dining partner dug in, followed by some questionable noises.
My friend has sampled many a vegan dish, and is firm in her belief that if the chef gets it wrong, it can be a disaster.
But in the case of BioCafe, they have got their food beyond right.
There was not one criticism to be had as she tucked in, and proceeded to clear the plate.
Had we not been in a rush, I think we would have attempted to tackle dessert!
Anyone fancy an Oreo waffle with homemade Oreo crumbss, ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate chips, chocolate sauce, and maple syrup?”
The lunchtime rush showed no sign of abating, proof that BioCafe is a firm favourite for many.
We also admired and stroked many a good boy, as the cafe is also dog friendly and clearly popular with pet owners.
Although there was a delay to our food arriving, we would definitely go back. There are few places where you’ll find such a colourful menu, which fulfills so many different dietary requirements.
And at £28.45, it’s reasonably priced.
As for whether I was able to try on more wedding dresses after such a feast. Well lets just say alot of breathing in was required!
Adddress: BioCafe, 39 Rosemount viaduct, Aberdeen
Phone: 01224 478828