A country pub has rid meat from its menu to become Britain’s first vegan carvery.
The owners of The Barn in the village of Willey, Warwickshire, say visitors are coming from across the country to try their plant-based Sunday lunch.
Landlords Sarah Goodchild and Ben Stead-Davis, both 34, served the 13-item roast dinner at their restaurant throughout January.
And the vegan option has been such a huge hit with customers, they’re making meat-free food a permanent fixture.
Costing £14.95, the meal features a choice of ‘tofurkey’ (tofu turkey), seitan, nut roast and plant-based Lincolnshire sausages, with all the usual trimmings.
Sides include vegan Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, maple glazed parsnips, carrots, mash, roast cabbage, creamy leeks, stuffing and a red wine gravy.
The couple, who are vegan themselves, believe the carvery is the first of its kind in Britain.
However, their decision has also been met with some consternation. Customers who prefer traditional beef, lamb, pork and poultry offerings have questioned the move.
Dad-of-one Ben, who is co-owner and also head chef, said: ‘We are proud to say we are the only restaurant in the UK and even maybe the world doing what we are.
‘There are places who will offer vegan alternatives on their Sunday lunch menu – but we don’t believe anywhere else is serving a vegan carvery like ours – including vegan restaurants.’
He says that the support they’ve received has been ‘incredible,’ and they’re booked up for many Sundays to come.
‘On Sunday we had people say they had travelled hours to come and have one of our roasts,’ Ben added.
‘Now that the whole restaurant is going vegan, I hope we can keep this support.’
The chef plans to keep the menu ‘ever-changing and interesting,’ using his plant-based diet (and what he loved to eat) as inspiration.
Ben and Sarah took over the pub in September last year after they began working at the establishment in 2017.
The menu was filled with meat dishes, so the pair wanted to introduce more vegan options.
After initial success, they launched a completely vegan Sunday carvery throughout ‘Veganuary’, before ditching all meat and dairy products and rebranding The Barn as a vegan pub.
Sarah, co-owner and general manager, says they’ve been flooded with support since the move.
‘We are finding our little restaurant is becoming increasingly popular among the vegan community,’ she said.
‘Every week we serve up homemade, plant-based roasts along with Yorkshires, cauliflower cheese and all of the trimmings – all vegan.’
The carvery is served in buffet form every Sunday from 10am to 4pm and everything is freshly made in-house by Ben.
Melanie Kidd-White, 70, of Rugby, visited The Barn recently, saying: ‘I was really excited as I had never been to a fully vegan carvery.
‘I have been to other carveries like Toby Carvery where they offer vegan options but you still have to look at all the meat joints when you go up.’
She continued: ‘I absolutely loved the seitan. I’ve had seitan before and not particularly liked it but the one here today is excellent and a nice alternative to meat.’
However, not all reviews were totally positive. One would-be local customer said he was put off by the lack of the meat on the menu and would not return.
Daniel Lawley, 37, of Rugby, commented: ‘You can’t have a carvery without any meat. It’s not a proper carvery then.
‘This just puts me off going there again. I’m all for vegans having options but enforcing their lifestyle on others discriminates against us meat lovers.’
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