A disclaimer. I’m not Vegan. Although those of you who read Bristol Bites regularly will know that already…
So why did I visit 100% vegan café Earthcake on Southville’s North Street?
The simple answer is, I was intrigued. I’ve been known to frequent the odd vegetarian/vegan haunt (I was impressed with Vx Bristol), and we have plenty of meat-free days at home.
And you know what? I’m glad I walked through Earthcake’s door.
It’s a tiny place, with seating for just 10 people, and a stack of plastic highchairs for those with little people. It’s a simply designed but attractive place: the counter, finished in a fake brickwork pattern, takes up most of the left hand side of the venue, while the café’s logo is graffiti’d onto the opposite, pistachio-painted wall. At the back, you’ll find a few bookshelves plus blocky shelves holding cacti and other decorative elements, all accompanied by lively music with the volume turned down low – the place has a lovely vibe.
In the window, two large celebration cakes catch the eye of passers-by, enticing them in to see what the place is all about…
Alongside a chiller cabinet stocked with Fentimans and Whole Earth soft drinks is the food counter: there are various sandwiches, baguettes and vegan sausage rolls on offer, but their main selling point is their cakes, which look absolutely beautiful.
Everything is available either to eat in or take away, with white cardboard boxes perfect for transporting their delicate creations. When I last visited, there were slices of larger cakes on offer (Belgian chocolate tart, Victoria sponge, lemon chiffon cake, toffee apple crumble cake and more), as well as a range of mini cakes that you’ll see at the front of the photo above, priced at £1.20 each, or £1 if you buy four or more.
There are hot drinks too – a range of teas (£1.50) and coffees that are equally well-priced, starting at £1.50 for a single espresso, and rising to £2.50 for a cappuccino. Hot drinks are served with your choice of creamy oat milk, almond milk or coconut milk, and there are decaf options available.
I ordered at the counter and took a seat, with the friendly owner telling me that she’d bring my coffee and cake over to my table. It didn’t take long, but she still apologised for the delay…
My decaf almond milk latte (£2.40) had the requisite light layer of foam, and was tasty enough – in all honesty, the coffee flavour could have been more pronounced, but it’s certainly not the worst coffee I’ve had in Bristol.
When it came to the cake, however, I have absolutely no complaints. It was the gluten-free peanut butter and chocolate cake (£3 per slice to take away, £3.60 to eat in) that called out to me – look at it and you’ll see why! To be honest, I’d have had no idea that it was both gluten-free and vegan if I’d had it placed in front of me in a different context, which, to me, is the sign of a great free-from cake.
The chocolate sponge was really light and fluffy, with the chocolate flavour fairly light – which balanced perfectly with the thick, intensely rich and sweet peanut buttercream that sandwiched it together. On the top, shards of chocolate with more piped buttercream – its consistency was fantastic, and I was told afterwards that it’s created using a vegan margarine that the top vegan bakers use. Absolutely beautiful.
Open from 10am to 5pm Wednesday to Sunday, I definitely recommend paying Earthcake a visit – whether you’re vegan or not. And it’s now the place to be for a vegan afternoon tea, which they launched in February of this year…take a look, as it looks truly fantastic!
Earthcake is another great addition to the end of North Street that, historically, has been a little less salubrious than the west side. That’s definitely all changing, though – it’s just one of many great foodie places that you’ll now find in the area…
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