A welcome change to the full English fry up

LBN director Jennie Lewis tries out the new vegan breakfast menu at LIV Organic.

Vegan is a word hot on the lips of many right now – but it is one that has escaped the attention of wordsmiths at LBN.

Veganuary has extended far into the New Year and the vegan movement seems to be showing no signs of slowing down, with more and more of us opting to trial the benefits of a plant-based diet.

It is argued that a vegan diet can help you to lose excess weight, lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Many celebs who have gone green also extol the vegan virtues in terms of appearance, claiming their veggie intake has improved the look of their hair and skin.

So, with that in mind, when I was invited to try out the new vegan breakfast at LIV Organic, I was, of course, quick to accept.

If you haven’t heard of LIV Organic, it is, unsurprisingly, an all organic and natural food market that caters for a range of people with specific dietary requirements. It also offers organic beauty and cosmetics as well as natural cleaning and household products.

The café is positioned at the front of the store overlooking busy and bustling Bold Street – ideal for a spot of people watching over cake and coffee, one of my personal favourite pastimes.

We were bid a warm welcome at LIV Organic, before the friendly breakfast chef talked us through the new menu. A range of veggie and vegan options, using inventive substitutes for eggs and dairy products to create a menu that we, two meat eaters, still found perfectly tempting.

We ordered tea, coffee (a very good cortado) and 3 plates that we shared – poached eggs and avocado on toast (classic), the full vegan breakfast and some pancakes to finish.

The eggs and avo were fine – difficult to get wrong, really. I could have taken my eggs a little less poached, if I were being pernickety.

The vegan breakfast was certainly plentiful, offering vegan sausages (a veggie and tofu blend, I think), baked beans, fried tomato, potato croquettes, mushrooms, sourdough toast and a more unusual addition of scrambled tofu, hummus and falafel.

Ok, so I’m going to just say it, the sausages divided opinion at our table. Tony, an unashamed aficionado of a traditional banger, was none too sure, but I found them pleasant enough.

In fact I found the breakfast on the whole to be very tasty and a welcome change from a full English or poached eggs. It’s even endeared me to tofu – something I’d beforehand found to be tasteless and rubbery.

The chef even offered me tips on how to recreate the tofu scramble – how to season and variations to create a spiced tofu, which I’m definitely going to try out.

Now, the pancakes. Let me tell you about the pancakes.

The LIV Eatery includes a dedicated pancake and waffle bar. And their passion for pancakes certainly showed. We opted for banoffee – fluffy, golden crepes topped with banana, dulce de leche and smothered in toffee sauce. This certainly was a treat and we could happily have ordered more.

Our morning at LIV Organic was certainly well spent and we left feeling very satisfied.

But it isn’t just the great food on offer that makes LIV Organic special – it’s how much they care. It’s clear from the moment you arrive that the team are eager to please. The staff ask you questions, give you advice and really assist with your order.

They ask for your feedback and welcome criticism, they just want to get it right.

What’s more, a visit to LIV Organic is an experience. I’ve been back twice more since our first visit, it’s one of my new Saturday morning rituals. What better way to spend a couple of spare hours than heading out for breakfast and browsing a store stocked with wonderful and unusual goodies.

The vibe is relaxed. It is unassuming and unpretentious, and there’s always a quiet corner to be found to while away an hour or two.

Often in the market, staff hand out samples of new products and I’ve managed more than the odd new addition to my store cupboards in just a couple of visits.

LIV Organic is independently run and recently added to its dining offer with the addition of La Casa Della Pasta – authentic Italian food made fresh to order by real Italian chefs. I’ll be heading back soon to try it out!

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