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Newcastle vegan favorite Super Natural launches new menu and cocktail creations

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Experimental new dishes and imaginative cocktails are adding to the menu at a popular vegan cafe-bar which is out to tempt regulars and meat-eaters alike.

Super Natural, which is also a restaurant, in Newcastle’s Grainger Street, has launched its new menu which includes a festive three-course meal in the run-up to Christmas. November is World Vegan Month and it is hoping that non-vegans too will take the opportunity to come and explore what’s on offer.

The popular venue draws from traditions dating back almost 45 years when Supernatural – its name then written as one word – opened in Upper Princess Square in 1978. It was Newcastle’s first vegetarian restaurant and it ran for years.

Read more: the vegan Newcastle chef who impressed Gordon Ramsey

Then in 2015 Andrew Bloomfield and Mark Rogers, who between them have decades of experience in the catering business, revived the concept and later went one step further, making Super Natural entirely vegan. And now, with 15 staff to call upon, the restaurant continues to keep things interesting and the young team in the kitchen have been kept constantly busy trying out new dishes

Andrew Bloomfield, co-owner of Super Natural cafe-bar in Grainger Street, Newcastle
Andrew Bloomfield, co-owner of Super Natural cafe-bar in Grainger Street, Newcastle

“They’ve got even more experimental on the food side!” says Andrew. The result, as diners can find with the new autumn-winter menu, is the likes of ‘fish and chips’ using inspired alternatives such as banana blossom which is marinated in seaweed, giving it the fishy flavor of the sea. “It’s very realistic,” says Andrew. “And it’s served with peas and bread and ‘butter’.”

The new festive meal section of menu features vegan takes on the traditonal pigs in blankets, turkey and Christmas pudding – as well as plenty other options, such has hand-made ‘steak’ and ale pie and Belgian chocolate and clementine torte. From December 1, treats will include mulled wine too.

The vegan 'fish' and chips at Super Natural
The vegan ‘fish’ and chips at Super Natural

Finding the right flavors and textures to the meat alternatives comes through trial and error and their hand-made Yorkshire puddings for the new ‘roast beef’ dinner took a long time to get right. There’s also vegan roast ‘chicken’, ‘bacon’ and egg-free frittata – all ideas which, says Andrew, are “very hard work but great fun”. A long-term customer favorite is Super Natural’s lasagna, made with mushrooms and aubergines, and there are dishes, he adds, which would fool meat-eaters if they didn’t know they were vegan.

That’s why Andrew and Mark are keen to see more non-vegans try out Super Natural which offers a warm welcome to all. They will be running a competition during World Vegan Month aimed at finding people who have not tried food in a vegan restaurant before.

In the past few years more vegan restaurants opened across the city but Andrew has since followed recent closures too and says there are fewer now. He too has seen the cost of living crisis bite and expects more problems early next year when people face the fall-out of Christmas.

Super Natural has a new menu, including tapas and new cocktails on offer plus a festive three-courser to follow
Super Natural has a new menu, including tapas and new cocktails on offer plus a festive three-courser to follow

“Food prices are going up all the time,” he points out. “So do you put prices up which will stop people coming in?” Instead, they have responded so far by absorbing costs as much as possible and imposing only minimal increases for customers so as not to put anyone off.

And they are enjoying a bustling trade which sees a wide range of customers, off all ages, fill out the venue which – under an overhead canopy of 20,000 twinkling fairylights – is cozy during the day-time and takes on an evening bar feel by night with late opening when those vegan beers and wine go down a storm and the new cocktails are served with tapas every Friday and Saturday night and on Sundays.

The egg-free frittata at Super Natural
The egg-free frittata at Super Natural

Veganism as a lifestyle choice continues to catch on, says Andrew, as people become increasingly concerned with environmental matters and healthy living. There is a drive to find alternative ways to feed and sustain the land, he adds.

For more information about World Vegan Month, which was established in 1994, see here. For more about Super Natural, which as part of its long-running support for animal charities will be running a Christmas event at the end of November for Brysons Animal Shelter in Gateshead, see its Facebook page here.

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