V Revolution

Manchester is a thriving metropolitan of artsy liberals and activists of all kinds. Naturally, it is fantastic for its choice of vegan cuisine. Perhaps my favourite spot for meat and dairy free nosh is V Revolution, a junk food haven in the lively Northern Quater.

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What I love about this unique spot is that it doesn’t attempt any healthy new-age superfood stuff. This is burgers, hotdogs, milkshakes, the kind of food you want to eat your weight in when you’re suffering from a hangover. It’s hearty, flavoursome, and rich.

Long with their regular menu there is a daily special, every one with a fantastically cheesey  (or cheeseless?) name. On the last day I took a visit they’d plotted the Tomacco; burger, cheese, bacon, baconnaise and spicy ketchup, all totally vegan.

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As if this isn’t enough, this delightful diner also sells a selection of vegan snacks and sweets to take home with you.

The prices are affordable and more than fair for the amount of variety and different vegan food stuffs you get to sample. There isn’t a lentil or chickpea in sight, not that i’m adverse to these, but it was exciting to try the wide variety of condiments, cheeses, and crispy meat flavoured toppings that my broke self cannot afford in a typical weekly food shop.

I would recommend the ‘Knights in Satay’s Service’ burger (‘chicken’, peanut butter, siracha mayo, chilli and rocket) along with a chocolate soy ice-cream milkshake for the most satisfying vegan junk fest of your life.

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88 Oldham Street Manchester M4 1LF | Mon to Sun 12pm-6pm, closed on Tues 
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Interview: Lo & Vee, An Other World

Leeds based artists Lo & Vee have been taking the city by storm this summer with their stunning exhibition ‘An Other World’, a mixture of illustrative murals, framed works, and interactive video work inspired by folklore.

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The exhibition, which takes place in Leeds Central Library’s excellent space, Room 700, takes us on a journey through a world of fantasy and magic, of mystical beings and fairy tales.

The installation is heavily inspired by readings that the library holds; books detailing mythical creatures, legendary tribes, deep sea creatures, rare artefacts and antiques. Their collaborative murals not only reflect their appreciation of nature, dream worlds and pattern, but also their bizarre ability to make the familiar unfamiliar.

Since opening at the end of July, hundreds of people have fully immersed themselves in this fanatical world of myths and monsters. However, I wanted to dig a little deeper, to find out exactly what makes both Lo & Vee tick. I caught up with them to ask them about the exhibition, humble origins, and dreams for the future.

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1. A lot of your work focuses on nature running wild, what is it about nature that inspires you to create?

We are definitely both constantly intrigued by nature. We watch a lot of David Attenborough and I think the intelligence of nature inspires us, we enjoy drawing from the organic patterns and fluid movements of plant life and sea creatures.

2. What kind of artistic backgrounds do you come from?

We have both studied art at a degree level, Lo at Glasgow School of Art and Vee at Leeds College of Art. They have always been interested in art and creativity, Vee’s parents are both very artistic.

3. How did you start getting into painting murals? What was the first mural you painted?

After a boozy night of discussing our potential futures we had a bit of a brainwave and decided to set up our own company creating drawing classes for people who didn’t think they could draw. We had a lucky break when a friend at Whites Deli contacted us to ask if we’d be interested in drawing on their 8ft Chalk Board. From there it all snowballed. House Of Koko got in touch with us through twitter and asked us if we’d be interested in running workshops from their coffee shop. The shop was still being set up at the time and after meeting with them they asked us about designing some murals for them, which we jumped at the chance to do. We’ve being building our repetoire ever since.

4. How did you meet each other?

We met at high school. We probably formed our bond in Art Class, where we actually weren’t very good. We spent a lot of time drawing still lives and I think our joint hatred of that really solidfied our friendship.

5. Do you read a lot? What are your favourite fictional novels and why?

We probably dont spend as much time reading as we should. But we do listen to a lot of audiobooks. We’ve actually being listening to some Poirot whilst we draw on the walls.

6. Your work explores a lot of folklore, what is your favourite folklore tale?

I think one of our favourite folkore books from the exhibition has been the Water Babies.

7. Finally, what can we be expecting from you guys in the near future?

In the future we hope to get involved in some more residencies! We are looking forwards to resuming our Drawing Club in Chapel Allerton, as we’ve had to put it on hold during the residency.

You can see the exhibition until closing date 20th August. Check out @loandvee on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more information.

Stollen 1930

This is perhaps one of the coolest places I have been to on earth. This hidden, and I mean really hidden, jewel of a bar resides underneath one of the original Tyrolean taverns, the 600 year old Auracher Löchl hotel in Kufstein.
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Think of a traditional Bavarian beer hall complete with random suits of armour, barrels everywhere, and large Gothic script adorning the outside walls, and you’re halfway to imagining the hotel. Now picture descending into what looks like a dark cave and feeling slightly unnerved, until realising that you are in a subterranean gin museum.
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Gins from every time period, location, and distillery are mounted behind protective wiring, steering you through a dimly lit passageway to the bar. The man bar area is vast, considering it’s in 600 year old cave. Small alcoves with tables adjoin the main area, so you can claim your own booth in which to enjoy the vast and impressive cocktail menu.

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The gin menu alone is the size of a small novella, but you can also order rum, gin, alcohol-free drinks. For those who prefer a brew, there is an excellent selection of beer from Belgium, Ireland and England. The staff are friendly and extensively informed about their alcohol, so feel free to ask for recommendations.

Personally, I recommend the ‘Smokey Gin Pipe’. It tastes like Christmas and it comes in this cool as hell glass.

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Römerhofgasse 4, 6330 Kufstein | www.auracher-loechl.at/stollen1930 | Mon to Sun 6pm-2am | Tel +43.5372.62138

 

Bru Coffee & Gelato

This luscious little place is where I like to go for lunch most days when I am at work. Leicester has a lot of fantastic little independent cafes in the Calls and away from the city centre, and Bru is among the best of them.

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Particularly suited to those with a sweet tooth, Bru offers a mouth watering variety of cakes, waffled, crepes, milkshakes, tea, and coffee. They also offer a convenient yet gourmet selection of breakfasts for people with little time in the morning; you can choose from their choice of cereals, porridges, and freshly baked croissants. All of these, of course, can be ordered to go.

The door to Bru is always open and a constant concoction of delicious smells and upbeat music floats down Granby Street. The cakes and gelato selection are displayed behind a thin layer of glass, drawing in hungry passers-by. It’s the gelato that got me; bright colours and exotic flavours like Stem Ginger, Fizzy Cola, Apple & Cherry, and Peanut Butter Delight will tantalise your eyes and taste buds.

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Here are some ways you can enjoy the Bru gelato:

  • Affagato- a shot of espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla Gelato
  • A Bru Bronkie (a combination of a cookie and a brownie)
  • Leige Waffle and Gelato
  • A milkshake
  • A sundae

Personally, I recommend all of them. They are that good.

Also, did I mention the whole place is decorated with books? There is a definite literary feel to the atmosphere and the friendly environment means that you can go in and do some writing, read a book, do some homework etc. It feels a lot like you have just stepped into a bustling cafe in New York, where the people are creative and the food even more so.

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20-22 Granby St, City Centre, Leicester LE1 1DE | Mon to Thurs 7:30am-11pm, Sat 8am-11pm, Sun 9:30am-10pm