Review: Cafe Shanti, Lincoln

Now that my year abroad is finished, I’ve found myself feeling reluctant to call it a day with this blog as well. I’m going to try and keep going with it by writing about places I travel to (bound to happen far less often than it has over the last year, but never mind), things I eat, whether in a restaurant/cafe or cooked by me, and anything else of any interest whatsoever that might happen.

I’ve always been a bit wary of food blogging for a number of reasons, the main one being that a lot of it ends up seeming (very) pretentious and inaccessible. Reviews of cafes or restaurants that the average person can afford to visit don’t seem to be the norm; in terms of recipes, chia, coconut oil, out-of-season fruit, etc. seem to be the order of the day. In my mind, food should never be classist. Everyone needs it to survive, and everyone should be able to enjoy it. I hope that this will be reflected here.

So, let’s get going with a review. I’m currently in Lincoln, my home town, and on Friday I went to Cafe Shanti, a vegan and vegetarian restaurant that hasn’t been open for very long but that seems to have quickly established itself. I feel like “vegan and vegetarian restaurant” carries a certain number of connotations, not all of them positive, but these should be left at Shanti’s door.

The first thing I will say is that it is SUCH GOOD VALUE FOR MONEY. I’ve been to this cafe a few times and am amazed every time by how they offer really delicious food for remarkably low prices. Each of the main meals is about £5 and the menu includes several curries, lasagne, burgers, and wraps, most of which are suitable for vegans. I’m not vegan, but the friend who I went with on Friday is; she, too, has visited a few times, mainly for the falafel wraps. It’s stated on the menu that everything except for the bread and the vegan ice cream is made on the premises.

The second thing to be said is that Cafe Shanti was set up to raise money for a charity called Lincs2Nepal. As far as I can tell (and I could be wrong about this), all of the cafe’s profits go to the charity, which provides aid to oppressed and marginalised Nepalese people. How great is that? You can check out the charity’s website here.

After a lengthy bout of indecision, I chose a peppermint and liquorice tea for £1.35 (which I would highly recommend) and a falafel burger with hummus and sweet potato fries, which was £4.95. As someone who has had more than her fair share of falafel over the last couple of years, I was excited to try some more.

Disappointment did not feature. It was all perfect: the burger was suitably seasoned and came with a soft brown bun and plentiful salad. And who doesn’t love a sweet potato fry, really? Although Bill’s is still the undisputed champion of the traditional chip’s “healthy” (or not) relative, these ones weren’t bad at all.

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Additionally, the service was quick and friendly, and waiting time is quickly whiled away by admiring the plentiful decorations inside the cafe. I could be wrong, but I would suggest that a lot of them are souvenirs from Nepal or gifts from some of the people that the charity has worked with there.

I’ve never had dessert there, but there are several varieties of vegan cake on offer as well as waffles with various toppings.

I would really recommend this place for vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike. Lincoln is distinctly lacking in other choices for non-meat-eaters and so it’s a very welcome addition to the city. The food is delicious, it offers outstanding value for money, and I really think that local businesses such as this cannot be supported enough. And, perhaps best of all, it’s for charity. Really, what’s not to love?

Price: £6.30 for a main course and drink. Contact details available on Cafe Shanti’s website.

Featured image taken from Cafe Shanti’s Facebook page.

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