Last Sunday 24th February 2019, we had the pleasure of visiting Hooper and Howard’s Kitchen in Cannock (Staffordshire), and trying out their very first fully vegan Sunday lunch.

As a family of three, we’ve visited here a few times in the past, so know how great the food quality is. Although Hooper and Howard’s (known here as HH) are not exclusively vegan, they do have many suitable options daily. On the vegan menu they have dishes such as banana blossom fish and chips, and seitan steak. Not your regular old three bean chilli or falafel burger, that’s for sure! The best bit is it’s reasonably priced, has a cosy atmosphere and is run by a lovely local couple.

But what did we make of the Sunday lunch?

hooper howards kitchen bar area

Hooper and Howard’s Kitchen Review

On arrival, we were greeted enthusiastically by Katherine, one of the owners hooper and howards kitchen cannock vegan sunday lunch menu(who generally tends to ‘front of house’ and does a little of everything – super woman!). We have a 3-year-old daughter, and she is always fantastic at making her feel at home too, which helps with restless kids! The special menu for today’s lunch was up on the chalkboard with a set main course, 3 starters and 3 desserts to choose from. The seitan red brisket was priced at £8.95, which we agreed was very reasonable considering the price of a Sunday carvery at a chain pub. We were also informed that all options could be made into a child’s portion. After much deliberation, we settled on one mushroom pate dish, and one garlic mushroom plate to share as starters. That meant that we didn’t taste-test the soup, unfortunately. The main course was already pre-set, and we could decide on desserts afterwards. That was the food order out of the way! How about drinks?

vegan drinksWe chose our beverages with help from Katherine, who was knowledgeable about what was vegan, and the flavour/notes of the various wines and beers. I settled on a Pinot, my husband on beer, and our daughter enjoyed an apple juice.

As we awaited our starters, we enjoyed chatting and soaking up the cosy, casual atmosphere. Inviting cakes line the window display and the decor is clean and neutral. Although the restaurant is quite small, it was nice to sit near fellow vegans. HH was also only about 75% full, so it wasn’t cramped at all.

We shared the starters with our daughter, a self-confessed mushroom lover! The garlic mushrooms were sauteed perfectly, with just the right amount of garlic, and a little garnish. The pate was much the same – you could tell it was homemade, and there was a generous amount on each piece of toast. The pate on toast also came with a small spoon of chutney, which was a nice addition to the plate and full of flavour.

The only observation I will make is that the mushroom pate was served on 3 slices of bread, whereas the garlic mushrooms on one slice of bread. It might have been nice to have two of each.

The starters definitely got a thumbs up from all three of us.

hooper howards cannock vegan starters

And on to the main course we go!

The red seitan brisket was the obvious star of the show. It looked very much like beef, which I know some vegans may find off-putting. However, it didn’t taste and smell like meat, so that was fine with me. HH prepare the seitan by hand, and rub it with beetroot to give it the slight pink tinge of meat, which is a really inventive idea. I’m a big fan of seitan, and really loved the salty yet sweet flavours. My husband had never tried seitan at all before and was on the fence. He did enjoy it, but found it a little sweet for his personal taste.

hooper howards vegan seitan brisket

The dinner came with vegan gravy, roast parsnips, roast potatoes, mashed potato and Yorkshire puddings. The gravy was thick and rich, and the roasted veg perfectly cooked but not oily. I was a big fan of the mash as it was slightly firm; however my husband prefers it whipped and buttery, so we had to disagree on that one. It’s a matter of personal opinion – all 3 of us demolished it though! We did all agree that the Yorkshire puds were impressive – crunchy on the outside and fluffy inside. It was really lovely to be able to have those ‘proper’ roast dinner touches on a vegan meal, rather than just nut roast and veg.

Of course, we were also given a huge dish of mixed vegetables to share, which tasted great. There was plenty to go around.

The chef (Katherine’s partner and co-owner) came out to check on his guests and food at one point, which was a nice touch. Luckily, it was all positive feedback for him!

A profitable idea for the future may be to have some optional side dishes to order at extra cost, such as stuffing, vegan sausage wrapped in bacon and horseradish sauce.

hooper howards vegan seitan briskethooper howards vegan sunday lunch roasthooper howards vegan sunday lunch roast

I know you’re dying to know if we had room in our bellies for dessert… well of course!

We chose the chocolate orange cheesecake (me), apple and blackberry crumble (husband), and vegan Eton mess (daughter) – nobody opted for the rice pudding.

The cheesecake portion size was generous, and the chocolate was rich without being overbearing. You could taste a hint of orange (maybe an orange segment on top would have finished it off nicely?) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also stole a little of my husband’s crumble, which was delicious. It had a crunchy yet buttery crumble, and a nice soft fruity bottom. It came with a vegetable-based thick cream, which my husband was really impressed with.

I was only allowed a small taste of the 3-year-old’s Eton mess, but it was a good sized portion for a child, and the pink meringues were an impressive addition too. The cream was thick with chunks of strawberry inside. A big thumbs up from our daughter!

If I was really desperate to pick fault, the only thing I could say is that it would have been nice to have a cake on the dessert menu, as two of the desserts were quite creamy/ liquidy (Eton mess and rice pudding). Seeing all those lovely cakes on the display gave me a craving! With that said, I’m sure I could have asked for a slice to take away. My eyes are much bigger than my belly…

vegan eton messvegan chocolate cheesecakeapple blackberry crumble vegan

The meal came to £54 in total – for 2 beers, 2 medium wines, an apple juice, 2 starters, 3 mains, and 3 desserts. I was really pleased with this and think they could have charged more!

Overall, we were really impressed with this visit to Hooper and Howard’s Kitchen. Great homemade grub, lovely staff, and a modest bill at the end.

They will be running the vegan Sunday lunch all throughout March 2019, and there will also be a new seitan ‘chicken’ on offer, which I am tempted to try out! if you live in the Staffordshire / West Midlands area, you should definitely pay a visit. I think even hardcore meat-eaters would be impressed with this roast dinner. Let me know if you do go, but be sure to book in to avoid disappointment.

Vegans Visiting Non-Vegan Restaurants

Our experience at HH got me thinking about their transition since they’ve opened, moving over to offering more vegan dishes. The encouragement and repeat business from vegan clientele has been key in this.

So should vegans visit non-vegan restaurants? vegan gelato business

Let me begin by saying I am a huge fan of supporting completely vegan businesses – run by vegans, for vegans. We should be doing this first and foremost. It’s great to be able to get personal recommendations from the owners and feel safe that everything is 100% vegan. I love visiting my local vegan eateries and food stores. These businesses are few and far between though. They may be a significant drive to get to every week or more pricey than non-vegan establishments. For many of us, it is impractical to solely shop and eat at completely vegan businesses. It also completely separates veganism from the rest of society – and we do want more people to go vegan and get involved!

The development of Hooper and Howards Kitchen is a perfect example of why we should also eat at non-vegan restaurants and show the demand for cruelty-free food. They opened not too long ago, as an eatery with meat, vegetarian and vegan dishes on offer. All of their food was freshly cooked to order and made with local produce. Starting with some innovative vegan options such as banana blossom fish and chips, at a reasonable price, obviously gained attention from vegans. We visited, we spread the word, we showed demand for good quality vegan food.

HH then expanded their vegan menu, offering many starters, mains and desserts, as well as knowledge on vegan drinks they had. They started experimenting with more vegan ingredients. Next, they trialled vegan cookery classes, and now the Sunday lunch. The most exciting part is, they are trialling a fully vegan and vegetarian March 2019 – how exciting! None of these steps would have happened if they didn’t see that initial demand and support from vegans. Had we turned our heads and said “I won’t eat here because they serve beef”, the sale of vegan items would have been very small, failed to turn a profit and been eradicated from the menu. Even ethical businesses need to turn a profit. As it goes, we’ve actually shown such a demand for vegan food, that they’ve seen a gap in the local market for a vegetarian restaurant, and eradicated meat completely. The best bit is, many of their existing non-vegan customers will continue to eat here, trying delicious vegan food and opening their hearts and minds.

Spreading veganism everywhere also normalises it for people – many still see veganism as extreme, niche or just don’t understand it. The more the general public see the word, try the food, the more mainstream veganism becomes. Normalising veganism rather than animal exploitation should be high on our to-do lists.

Veganism is growing and has no indication of tailing off any time soon – let’s encourage it by supporting vegan businesses, influencing non-vegan businesses and integrating it into society for good. The animals and environment will thank us!

Have you eaten at Hooper and Howard’s Kitchen – what did you think? Do you believe we should support non-vegan businesses? Let me know!

 

 

 

Feature of the month
Ethical Superstore logo

Ethical Superstore has everything! Groceries, clothing, homeware and plastic-free goodies for the home. Grab £3 off your order too in July.

Learner Vegan on Ko-fi

Learner Vegan is run voluntarily. Unfortunately, there are costs to running the site. If you like what we do, please consider giving a tiny donation to help keep it running!

Follow us on Twitter
Latest Pins!
Instagram Feed
  • QUESTION CALL!⁠
❗️❗️⁠
Worried about eating vegan on the go?⁠
No idea which restaurants are vegan-friendly?⁠
Are you resistant to veganism because you'll be the only one at the table not eating meat?⁠
🤓🤓⁠
This THURSDAY 16TH, 12.30PM BST, I'm going to be hosting a live Q & A over at LearnerVegan Instagram.⁠
Topic: Eating Out As A Vegan.⁠
⭐️⭐️⁠
I highly recommend joining in live - it's going to be a good one! Come along and ask anything around eating out - we'll work through it.⁠
💚💚⁠
If you can't make it, submit your question right here. But be sure to catch the replay - it will only be up for 24 hours!⁠
.⁠
.⁠
.⁠
#newvegan #learnervegan #veganbeginner #vegancommunity #vegetarians #veggielife #veggielove #veganhelp #vegansupport #dairyfree #plantbased #meatfree #meatless #veganbuys #animallover #friendsnotfood #veganwannabe #vegannewbie #goingvegan #beingvegan #almostvegan #veganuk #ukvegans #ukvegan #vegansofig #parttimevegan #vegetarian #vegan #vegans #veganfood
  • Let's inspire each other!⁠
😁😁⁠
Leave a comment with your favourite vegan meal or recipe (links and tags are fine too).⁠
🥗🍪⁠
We can all try them out and get some new dishes into our bodies. You can even save this post (3 dots to the top right) and refer back to it for inspiration!⁠
⭐️⭐️⁠
I'll start with mine in the comments.⁠
⬇️⬇️⁠
.⁠
.⁠
.⁠
⁣#whatvegansbake #vegansuk #veganbowl #veganhomemade #VeganInstagram #easytobevegan #eatingforhealth #veganuk #dairyfreerecipes #colorfulfoods #veganstudent  #veganeating #buddhabowl #nomeatnoproblem #veganideas #goingvegan #vegansoulfood #londonvegan #veganinspo #plantprotein #letscookvegan #veganism #nourishtoflourish #newvegan #vegetarians #parttimevegan #vegans #ukvegans #veganaf #almostvegan
  • Say hello to the past me, an animal-loving vegetarian.⁠
👋👋⁠
Little did I know I was about to step my game big time!⁠
😎😎⁠
Going vegan has been so much fun for me - great health, new foods, learning about the food industries. I feel so much more aligned with my morals. But it wasn't always easy in the beginning!⁠
😬😬⁠
Are you on the fence about making that leap from vegetarian to vegan?⁠
You might be interested in my post 'Making The Leap From Vegetarian To Vegan'.⁠
💚💚⁠
Let me know if you're a veggie hoping to go vegan!?⁠
⬇️⬇️⁠
LINK IN BIO⁠
.⁠
.⁠
.⁠
#newvegan #learnervegan #veganbeginner #vegancommunity #vegetarians #veggielife #veggielove #veganhelp #vegansupport #dairyfree #plantbased #plantbaseddiet #meatfree #meatless #veganbuys #veganmealplan #veganshopping #vegansupermarket #animallover #friendsnotfood #veganwannabe #vegannewbie #goingvegan #beingvegan #almostvegan #veganuk #ukvegans #ukvegan #vegansofig #parttimevegan
  • Where are my pregnant vegans at?⁠
🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️⁠
Morning sickness is TOUGH!⁠
This time around, I suffered badly from 6-21 weeks. Even now, at 26 weeks, it comes back occasionally.⁠
🙃🙃⁠
Here are some tips that helped me:⁠
⁠
⭐️Eat little and often. 5 – 6 meals per day are helpful so your stomach doesn’t become too empty, and then starts causing more nausea.⁠
⁠
⭐️Experiment with foods. You’ll likely be turned off some foods that you previously ate every day. Be prepared to let them go and try other things with similar nutritional values. Don’t be too hard on yourself!⁠
⁠
⭐️Get your partner to take the load off by cooking, if smells bother you – sometimes being in the kitchen is tough!⁠
⁠
⭐️Try the usual remedies such as ginger and lemon – but understand that they may not work. There are many suggestions online such as acupuncture, peppermint tea and chewables.⁠
⁠
⭐️Practice mindfulness through journalling/yoga/meditation. This will help to keep you in a positive frame of mind when you’re tired of feeling sick. These practices can also boost natural energy.⁠
⁠
⭐️Take your multivitamin when you feel least sick – try to notice any patterns of sickness through the day, or smells that trigger sickness.⁠
⁠
⭐️Drink plenty of water or herbal tea to keep hydrated. Small sips every 10 minutes, are better than trying to gulp down a litre at once. Or worse, hardly drinking at all!⁠
⁠
⭐️If you’re craving sweet things, try to stay as healthy and energised as possible by using alternatives. Maple syrup instead of sugar, NAKD bars, and fruit are all great sweet food items.⁠
⁠
Has anything helped you through morning sickness? Let me know!⁠
.⁠
.⁠
.⁠
#newvegan #veganbeginner #vegancommunity  #veganhelp #vegansupport #dairyfree #plantbased #plantbaseddiet #meatfree #meatless #veganbuys #animallover #friendsnotfood #veganwannabe #vegannewbie #goingvegan #beingvegan #almostvegan #veganuk #ukvegans #ukvegan #vegansofig #vegans #veganpregnancy #pregnantvegan #morningsickness #pregnant #pregnancy #veganmum #veganfamily
  • I love getting new vegan books!⁠
📖📚⁠
This one from @raw_munchies is different as it ticks a lot of boxes - self-care, beauty, non-toxic products and natural foods. You go through 30 days of incorporating actions to take care of your body.⁠
😇😇⁠
There are some fantastic action points around natural beauty for people who are already big enthusiasts and have a good regimen. And for those like me, who are very minimal with their skin and hair routine, it’s not overwhelming or time-intensive. ⁠
⭐️⭐️⁠
Interested? Find out my thoughts through the link in my bio.⁠
.⁠
.⁠
.⁠
#newvegan #learnervegan #veganbeginner #vegancommunity #vegetarians #veggielife #veggielove #veganhelp #vegansupport #dairyfree #plantbased #plantbaseddiet #meatfree #meatless #veganbuys #animallover #friendsnotfood #veganwannabe #vegannewbie #goingvegan #beingvegan #almostvegan #veganuk #ukvegans #ukvegan #vegansofig #crueltyfree #naturalbeauty #veganbeauty #selfcare
  • Watch this 10-minute clip for some great tips on how to get rid of cheese from your diet!
This is part of a longer FB LIVE which explores: 
Why cheese is such a hard habit to kick
Why we shouldn't be eating it
Some great alternatives to cheese
How to ditch cheese for good. 
Head over to LearnerVegan on Facebook to catch the full-length feature!
Like Us On Facebook
Facebook Pagelike Widget