Vegan fare takes over from pies
A Bath restaurant which has sat empty for months has been given a new lease of life, and the food on offer is more than a little different. Roots and Shoots has moved into the former Pieminister premises under the Bath Spa railway arch, and is offering an entirely vegan, plant-based cafe menu. The new restaurant sells Bristol Twenty coffees and a variety of teas, with the full-range of cow’s milk substitutes. It is open for breakfast from 7.30am with pastries and “facon” sandwiches, and has other light meal options throughout the day. Despite replacing a meat-lover’s retreat, assistant manager and head chef Lyndsey Patton says business has been booming and Bath has been very welcoming. She said: “It’s been really nice chatting to people coming in. Everyone’s been so friendly and positive. “We’ve been really busy. Our most popular choice has been our vegan mac and cheese. “Our other most popular option is the taster box which offers a bit of everything. “Then the seitan wrap which is made in house with chickpea flour and loads of seasoning, served with cranberry sauce, red cabbage and nut roast. “Facon has also been really popular in the mornings.” Alongside their hot food menu, the team keep on display an alluring array of sweet treats - many of them baked at home. Roots and Shoots is the passion project of co-owners and best friends Andy Mcmahon and Matt Craig. Andy said: “We’re both from Bath, we went to school together at St Greg’s up the road. “This place came up and we thought we’d give it a go. “We toyed with just being vegetarian, but thought why not go all the way?” Interest in plant-based food has surged recently and the pair saw an opening in the market. Andy said: “We thought there was nothing like this in Bath at the moment. “Bristol has lots of choice, but there’s not much here for easy, fast and convenient plant-based food.” Andy and Matt are relatively recent converts themselves. Andy said: “Three to four years ago, we were both meat eaters, but gradually we moved to plant-based diets. “I was talking to a customer the other day and we agreed that the more you look into it, the harder it is to go back. “The best thing you can do for the environment is give up meat and dairy. “And whatever reason you do it for, you can know that you are helping all the other causes. “Once you realise how nice vegan food can be it gets easier.” Lyndsey said: “Just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you want to eat 100 per cent healthy all the time. “We have exciting things planned in the New Year. We hope to do something for Veganuary and start up Junk Food Fridays.” Andy said: “In the spring and summer we hope to do live music weekends and make a nice little garden.” But for now, visitors are more interested in the basket of cosy blankets on offer. Roots and Shoots is currently opening from 7.30am up until 7pm and even until 9pm between Thursday and Saturday, according to demand.
Above, Karolina Pior and Lyndsey Patton at the new Roots and Shoots restaurant under Bath Spa railway arch; left, some of the vegan food on offer