In January this year, Larder on Gardner Street, took part in Veganuary, suggested by then café assistant Liv. It became such a success that Larder’s become a full time vegan deli and sandwich shop; favourited by vegans and non-vegans alike.
We spoke to Liv (who now heads up the deli) to talk healthy soul food, amazing cake and changing perceptions of vegan food:
1. Hi Liv! How long have you been a vegan? And why did you decide to go vegan?
Coming up 2 years. I was vegetarian for 1.5 years before that.
It was for a mixture of health benefit and ethics. I was eating a lot of processed food and actually just wanted to be healthier. When I started looking into it I realised how delicious and cheap vegan food could be if it was made properly. Things like vegan “meats” are expensive and often full of chemicals but there are so many other options.
It’s also hard to afford good quality cheese and dairy products, oh and chocolate! It’s great for your health not eating so much chocolate.
2. Why did you decide to make Larder vegan?
Larder was a sandwich shop that I was working in, I did some research and realised that there was no vegan sandwich shops that did tasty simple vegan food to take away. I’ve always dreamt of having my own vegan café that could show people that vegan food can be colourful, varied, healthy and delicious. I came to Andy and Georgina (who own Common and Larder) with a proposal to turn the deli vegan as part of ‘Veganuary’ and we had such an amazing response from both local vegans and also regulars that we have kept it that way and it’s just gone from strength to strength!
3. What can we expect to eat?
A range of healthy soul food all homemade by us in the shop, we draw inspiration from around the world, Mexican, Indian, Deep South, Middle Eastern, British… We do small plates and bites, Buddha Bowls and platters and amazing cakes plus donuts from Glazed Coffee. Our coffee is banging too!
4. Which are your bestsellers?
Lentil dhal pate with crispy chickpeas, mango chutney, red onion and spinach on a sweet potato – it’s so good. Our Biscoff cake as well – it sells out so fast and was called the best cake in Brighton by a blogger recently, people often don’t realise it is vegan!
5. Any personal fave dishes?
The chilli platter with our homemade tortilla chips, quinoa, vegan chilli, avocado and our home made vegan mayo. If people don’t think vegan food is filling they should try this.
6. You’ve also become a fave place for non-vegans to dine; how does that feel?
Really fabulous! It’s great that people don’t realise that we’re vegan and just enjoy the food, we don’t shout about it too much out front as we want to appeal to everyone. Often people only realise we’re vegan when we ask whether they want coconut, almond or soya milk – most of the time they are happy to try something new, coconut milk is a bit of a revelation in coffee.
7. And finally, any exciting events coming up?
Well, we’re going to be at Sussex and The World Food Festival on Hove Lawns on May bank holiday weekend (27th -29th May). We’re one of the only vegan stalls and we’re really excited to be taking our food to a new audience. We’re going to be doing Buddha Bowls, homemade lemonades and cakes. Come see us there!
Visit Liv and the Larder team at 53 Gardner St