The Peacock Pub in Nottingham has become the first vegan pub in the city
The Peacock recently became Nottingham’s first entirely vegan pub. Located at the base of Mansfield Road, it closed its doors for 2 weeks to undergo refurbishment. However, upon reopening, the menu had become 100% vegan.
The three-storey pub is a Grade II listed building built in the 1850s as a Home Ales house and, in 1894, it was a fully licensed establishment under Henry Handbury. It appears to have received a quality refit during the inter-war period and the lounge has barely been changed since about 1930. I could not leave out the fact that it is thought that D. H. Lawrence used what was once the upstairs hotel as a place to stay when writing... perfect pub quiz question if you ask me!
The Peacock Pub Menu
Moving onto the food, the new menu sounds absolutely amazing. Before the refurbishment, there were already plenty of vegan options including a Sunday lunch or vegan fish and chips, made using tofu and kelp in breadcrumbs, which was unsurprisingly one of the most popular choices. There also used to be a weekly sausage club, though this will likely be replaced with various varieties of vegan sausage.
The new menu has been contributed to by suggestions from customers and has something for everyone including
- Seitan burgers
- Portobello burgers
- all-day vegan breakfast
- sosage rolls
- samosas with mango chutney
- garlic and tomato bruschetta
- vork pie
- fish and chips with mushy peas
- asparagus, minted pea and caramelised onion pie
- Sunday lunch
- not-dog with fried onions
- an array of sandwiches
- coffee and walnut cake
- sticky toffee pudding with ice cream
- coconut and lime cheesecake
...and plenty more! Chef David who has been vegan for 10 years recommends the lasagne, which is made from soya mince, cashew nuts and homemade ricotta. Additionally, once he has settled and found his groove he hopes to bring specials too. As for the drinks, the entire wine menu is vegan, there are plenty of vegan beers and a cider, and the tea comes with rice milk.
Why The Peacock has turned vegan
Michael Scholes, who has been the landlord for 17 years, was unsurprisingly nervous to open but claimed that his gut feeling was that it was a good decision. He chose to make the move in part because he had many vegan friends and recognised it as a growing trend, saying “Vegan food has come on leaps and bounds. I eat it a lot with friends. I don’t feel we’re excluding anyone.” Regarding the reaction he’s received, he continued “I am thrilled with the response. I thought am I doing the right thing? But this has made me a lot more confident.”
The pub's chef, David, said “I have been to vegan pubs around the country and they do very well. Just because you are a vegan it does not mean you have to eat quinoa and lentils.” Hang on a minute, what’s wrong with quinoa and lentils?
Riding a wave of vegan consumerism
They seem to know what they’re talking about, with recent research led by The Vegan Society and Vegan Life Magazine reporting a 360% increase in Britain’s vegan populations compared to 2006, alongside a greater demand for vegan beer in 2016. They claim Britain has at least 542,000 herbivores compared to just 150,000 a decade ago, making it “one of Britain’s fastest growing lifestyle movements” according to The Vegan Society. Things are only expected to improve, too, with almost half of vegetarians contemplating restricting their animal product intake. One of several reasons that the publishing director of Vegan Life Magazine suspects to be contributing to the rise of veganism is the recipes and food and I can certainly see the plausibility of that argument given the menu at the Peacock.
The rise of vegan pubs in the UK
Indeed, the increasing popularity of veganism is also being welcomed elsewhere. It was only in January of 2016 that what was reportedly the country’s first entirely veggie and vegan pub opened up in Bristol. The Adam and Eve served exclusively veggie food and drink with up to 80% of the items suiting vegan diets. Sadly, the pub had to close just 3 months after opening due to excessive repair costs. Operational issues aside, however, it enjoyed excellent reviews and national coverage, with the owner now looking for a new premise to fulfil his ambition.
More local to the Peacock, the Bluebird Café which is also located on Mansfield road went from veggie to vegan in the past few months and expanded to incorporate a wholefood shop. Adrian Bhagat who runs it described The Peacock’s move into veganism as “brilliant news” and is hoping for a good choice of vegan beers, saying “The provision for vegans has exploded.”
There was also the recent opening of the entirely vegan café Amala Living Foods in Cobden Chambers in Nottingham City Centre with raw, organic and vegan food and drink. Nottingham i yet another city that now has you spoilt for choice!