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New vegan cafe opens in Ipswich, with tasting session planned this weekend

PUBLISHED: 16:30 16 January 2020 | UPDATED: 18:25 16 January 2020

Gemma Dempsey-Gray and Rosie O'Brien at the new Plant Cafe in Ipswich Picture: JUDY RIMMER

Gemma Dempsey-Gray and Rosie O'Brien at the new Plant Cafe in Ipswich Picture: JUDY RIMMER

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A new vegan cafe has just opened in Ipswich town centre, and is planning a tasting session on Saturday.

The new Plant Cafe is set to hold a tasting session at the weekend Picture: JUDY RIMMERThe new Plant Cafe is set to hold a tasting session at the weekend Picture: JUDY RIMMER

The Plant Cafe, in Upper Orwell Street, opened a few days ago, and offers entirely plant-based meals.

The cafe, which is linked to the New Oaks Fitness gym, will be holding an opening drinks and nibbles event from 12 to 3pm on Saturday, where people can get a taste of a few favourite recipes.

Owner Gemma Dempsey-Gray said: "We had a different cafe here before, but this is a completely new concept."

The idea is that you can choose what you want from the buffet, and your plate will be priced by weight - meaning you pay for only what you want to eat.

A tempting vegan breakfast Picture: PLANT CAFE IPSWICHA tempting vegan breakfast Picture: PLANT CAFE IPSWICH

"My family all eat plant-based foods - obviously there are a lot of reasons for doing this, and we did it for health reasons," Gemma said.

"Everything here is plant-based. We are trying to avoid fake meats, and all our meals are made from fresh vegetables."

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Breakfasts are served from 9.30 to 11.30am, with many options including smoked aubergine, scrambled chickpeas, mushrooms, tomatoes, baked beans, hash browns and vegan sausages made from leeks and vegan cheddar.

One of the plant-based meals at the cafe Picture: PLANT CAFE IPSWICHOne of the plant-based meals at the cafe Picture: PLANT CAFE IPSWICH

Lunch choices will change from day to day. On the day when I visited, Gemma and Rosie O'Brien, who runs the café with her, were busy preparing dishes including bean chilli, mushroom bourguignon, tomato soup, salsa verde couscous and lentil bolognese with pasta.

There will be a choice of salads, yoghurts and fruit, and they are also planning to add cakes.

Gemma said gym users were trying the new recipes and expressing support. "At first some were moaning about no meat, but when they came down here and tried the food, they said they were really impressed.

"A lot of people still think vegan food is just lettuce leaves, but it's not. Vegan food is amazing - we have lovely meals."

Freshly prepared plant-based buffet foods will be served at the Plant Cafe Picture: JUDY RIMMERFreshly prepared plant-based buffet foods will be served at the Plant Cafe Picture: JUDY RIMMER

The cafe's opening comes during Veganuary, a campaign to raise awareness of vegan food and lifestyles.

Ipswich has recently seen a strong growth of interest in vegan cuisine, with vegan café Hullabaloo relocating to St Peter's Street, and the opening of Hanks Deli & Shop in Lloyds Avenue. Hanks is now branching out with the opening of its new vegan pub at the former Grinning Rat in St Helen's Street.

For more information on the Plant Cafe, visit @plantcafeipswich on Facebook.

READ MORE - Vegan cafe holds festive celebration


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