The first vegan butcher shop in Dublin has opened. Say hello to Sova Food Vegan Butcher.

The growth of vegan butchers

Vegan butcher. To some it sounds a little oxymoronic, but actually it’s a trend that has hit the ground running worldwide. Dublin recently saw their very first of the meatless meat merchants open.

Sova Food Vegan Butcher opened on 7th July, having previously worked as a pop-up in the MART project in Rathmines and at Yoga Hub’s Happy Food Café. The team have been searching for a more permanent residence since last summer and at long last they have found a splendid spot on Pleasants Street (which is just off Camden Street, for those already planning a visit).


Locate Sova with the map above!

The restaurant is expected to thrive with capacity for around 40 people and allows customers to bring their own drinks in exchange for a small corkage fee if they choose not to dine off of the set menu. A juice bar is set to be opening imminently within the restaurant though, no doubt meaning people will be won over by organic wheatgrass shots and other vitamin-fuelled refreshments.

The beautiful interior at Sova's seating area.

The beautiful interior at Sova's seating area.

Sova's food

As for the food itself, there is plenty to choose from. Some examples from the brunch menu include an Irish vegan breakfast, coconut pancakes or a BLT.

On the main menu you could expect to find truffle black rice cubes or butternut and apple soup for starters, steamed tofu with fennel and leek sauce or lentil and aubergine cutlets for mains, with vanilla rice pudding or chia truffles for dessert. I reiterate, those are just some examples.

The pulled 'pork' bap - one of the many meat-inspired offerings at Sova.

The pulled 'pork' bap - one of the many meat-inspired offerings at Sova.

On discussing the opening of the shop, long-term vegan Bart Sova explains “we’re just a couple of guys with a passion for food, doing what we love”. He also makes clear that omnivores are warmly welcomed to come and enjoy plant-based dining, stating “more and more countries are starting to look for healthy options. The meat industry is killing our planet, and the treatment of animals is appalling. I’m hoping our café will appeal to meat-eaters too, we’ve got vegan kebabs, steaks, things like that.”

Other vegan butchers around the world

Despite being new to Dublin, vegetarian and vegan butchers have been in existence a while now. The world’s first vegetarian butcher opened on World Animal Day in October 2010 in The Hague, called De Vegetarische Slager.

It has since become a multi-award winning international success. Owner Jaap Korteweg is a 9th generation farmer but decided to find a cruelty free way to enjoy ‘meat’. His products are made from protein-rich seeds of the lupin plant which he himself farms, now available in 3,000 stores across more than 14 countries from Curacao to Austria to South Korea. They are expanding too, with a Vegetarian Butcher shop set to open in Berlin shortly. Yet there's just one store currently in the UK serving the products – the Hyde Park Book Club in Leeds.

This also isn’t the first vegan butcher of 2016 to open – in January the Herbivorous Butcher graced Minneapolis with its presence. Similar to Sova Food Vegan Butchers, this company also started out its life as pop-ups back in June 2014; yet by late 2014 it was running what became the most successful vegan Kickstarter campaign to date.

Kale of Minneapolis' The Herbivorous Butcher showing off his latest plant-based meaty creation.

Kale of Minneapolis' The Herbivorous Butcher showing off his latest plant-based meaty creation.

They’ve made it big already, with over 50 mentions in the press including the New York Times, Huffington Post, the Telegraph, the Guardian, TIME and VOGUE, or perhaps an even greater definition of success is their declaration that they’ve received fan mail from Jon Stewart!

There’s more still, with the Butcher’s Son in Berkeley, Dragon’s Den winner YamChops in Canada, or La Carnicera Vegatariana in Spain.

If you want to give Sova Foods Vegan Butchers a try for yourself then they’re open 12pm-10pm Wednesday to Saturday and 12pm-8pm Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday. After all, the proof is in the vegan black pudding…