Saltaire is a village in West Yorkshire. Situated on the outskirts of Bradford, Saltaire was created by a gentleman called Sir Titus Salt in the Victorian era. His revolutionary thinking enabled him to provide better working conditions for his employees and his creativity shaped Salts Mill which is now a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. Now a different creative revolution is taking place in Saltaire. A quiet vegan scene is slowly emerging. There are now two fully vegan venues in this small and pretty part of West Yorkshire. This is a guide to some delicious vegan eats in the village of Saltaire.
Less than 5000 people live in Saltaire yet due to the Salt Mill UNESCO World Heritage Site, the town attracts many creative individuals who visit the galleries and museums within the Mill. If you are a vegan heading to Saltaire there are two 100% vegan venues that you should know about. Both of the vegan cafes are within walking distance of the famous UNESCO site. There are also vegan options at Salts Bakery and at the Half Moon Cafe.
Willow Tree Café
The oldest 100% vegan Café in Saltaire is the Willow Tree Café. The Café was founded in 2017 and has already moved once in its lifetime. The owners, Stacey & Shaun, had previously worked in catering. They had served many traditional English pub classics during their careers. Whilst classic English pub food traditionally consists of many meat dishes, the couple were convinced that they could serve up fantastic pub grub but vegan style.
Their new place is light and airy. You walk into a lovely bright space and sit down at one of the wooden tables. The Willow Tree Café was originally on the Farfield Road and was only open at weekends. Due to the sheer popularity and selling out most days the couple moved to their current location on Kirkgate and are now open throughout the week. We look up at the board to see what food was being served that week.
Whilst there are some Willow Tree ‘favourites’ their menu changes weekly. We had planned to have their vegan breakfast and pancakes, but had sadly started our cycle ride down the Leeds Liverpool canal too late! Therefore, we opted for the Seitan Burger and the ‘fish’ and chips. I had seen good reviews for the burger on Happy Cow but was not sure what to expect with the ‘fish’ and chips.
We ordered two juices at just £1 each and waited for our meals. I enjoyed having a look at all of the flyers and the Book ‘Vegan North’ which they are featured in.
When our meals came out the portions were huge!
We tried the seitan burger first. The batter was excellent, very crispy and the seitan was not too dense. The BBQ sauce accompanied the burger perfectly. Oh and the chips were incredible! Proper thick cut chips rather than thin French fries. We were given ketchup and vegan mayo as dips on the side. Whilst years ago we were happy when there was a veggie burger. Nowadays there are so many delicious vegan burgers, venues have definitely had to up their game to compete. I can safely say that whilst this burger did not quite beat my favourite seitan burger from the Temple of Seitan, it was definitely delicious and had a wonderful texture and fantastic flavours.
Next up was the ‘fish’ and chips. All I can say is wow. The fish was accompanied with chips, mushy peas, lemon and vegan tartar sauce. I had not had tartar sauce in years! I drizzled the lemon juice all over the chips and ‘fish’. It was incredible, light and fluffy yet just fishy enough to know what it was replicating. The burger was good but this fish was another level of vegan deliciousness!
The next 100% vegan venue in Saltaire is the Dandelion Café!
The Dandelion Café in Saltaire is vegan yogis’ heaven. The Dandelion Café is located in an old Victorian warehouse. This has been beautifully converted to create a dedicated space for vegan food, yoga, holistic health, art and the community. We went along to try the vegan food.
On our way to a vegan B & B in the Lake District we stopped off at the Dandelion Café for some lunch. We ordered two vegan burgers, a cappuccino and two raw cakes.
The vegan burgers were both really good. I very much enjoyed the seitan burger whereas Alex preferred the rich beetroot burger. The Dandelion Café aims to provide wholesome and nutritional plant-based food. They want to ‘stimulate your palate whilst being a vibrant feast for your eyes!” The dish certainly was colourful, I particularly liked the homemade slaw. The slaw tasted very fresh and was nice and crunchy. The café aims to use fresh, locally sourced, seasonal and organic produce whenever possible. It was a wonderful burger packed full of flavoursome goodness.
We ordered chips with one of the burgers and a vegan potato salad with the other. We really liked the thick cut chips. Guess the chips are not particularly healthy but we had a weekend of hiking ahead of us so we did not really mind. The vegan potato salad was a lovely treat!
For dessert we had two raw cakes. Initially, I was a little disappointed how small they were for the price, but I did not realise they were raw. We took a bite into these rich and creamy sweet treats. These were excellent raw cakes. They were very sweet and nutty. There were plenty of raw desserts to choose from.
The Dandelion Café is wonderfully light an airy. Art from local creatives hangs on the wall. These pieces change regularly meaning that no visit to the Dandelion Café in Saltaire is the same.
Salts Village Bakery
If you fancy a vegan snack whilst you are visiting Saltaire, check out Salts Village Bakery.
Whilst this is not a 100% vegan venue, there are plenty of vegan options at Salts Village Bakery. This traditional bakery has vegan sandwich fillings, a tasty vegan sausage role and even a tasty vegan Thai bake full of spicy goodness.
Grabing a vegan baked good from Salts Village allows you to continue exploring or take it home to enjoy with a cup of tea later!
Half Moon Cafe
The Half Moon Cafe has a couple of options for vegans visiting Saltaire.
The Half Moon Cafe is located in Robert’s Park. This is the perfect place to stop and people watch on a sunny day. There are usually a couple of vegan cakes on offer such as a tasy flapjack.
The cafe itself is also very picturesque and is recognised as a grade II listed building.
What are you waiting for?
If you are a vegan about to visit Saltaire make sure you check out one or both of these 100% vegan venues. Enjoy a day in the beautiful UNESCO building and park then enjoy a well-deserved vegan meal at the Willow Tree Café and / or the Dandelion Café.
Have you been inspired to try delicious vegan food in Saltaire? Let us know in the comments below!