‘Off the Chain’

The Canteen Cafe in Canterbury

 Off the Chain- do we mean dead cool, rad, amazing? In many ways, yes.  Off the Chain to us Veg Revvers means little cafes and restaurants that are not part of the big chain industry that is taking over our high streets, retail industry and also many restaurants. We just love finding independent gems that offer a range of unique and exciting vegetarian food and great service. It’s time to embrace some of the ways of the good ol’ days where menus and orders can be tailored, and you’re sure that the money you spend is lining the pocket of a foodie (and entrepreneur), not a mass scale chain. So, we’ve set about reviewing a range of ‘Off the Chain’ places to grab a coffee, have lunch or wine and dine, that’s best for veggies in the UK and abroad.

Although we’ve already started reviewing ‘Off the Chain’ food establishments (such as Manna, The Hutch and Café Mauresque), we are now establishing this subcategory from here on in! Our first official review is of the Canteen in Canterbury. The Canteen is a little café offering an impressive variety of healthy (and veggy!) foods, such as flat breads, soups, salads, light bites, curry hot pots for lunch and so on. The service is great, and there are a range of drinks; from fruit smoothies, to authentic teas, as well as a range of coffees, this little café is a great find. It’s set up in a similar format to Subway- a delicatessen style counter, where you can add different ingredients to your sandwich or wrap (often at no cost!). Both my twin and I (aka the Veg Revvers), ordered two falafel wraps (of course we got the same), a skinny latte each and a pot of green tea to share. I had eaten here before with my boyfriend, and knew of the large portion sizes! However, note, I am not complaining about this. It’s such a nice surprise to go somewhere that gives generous sizes for reasonable prices. I’m not sure if this place can top Habibi’s falafel bar in Cologne, but boy it comes close.

Our wraps were £3.95 each (you can choose it to be a big salad bowl for an extra 45p) and here’s a photo of them:

The tea, coffee & monster falafel wraps!

They were fun and messy to eat (not good for a lunch date though, if you know what I mean) and we were happy customers. However, as ever there could be a few minor improvements – when we arrived they’d run out of carrot (admittedly we went there around 5pm) and they really could’ve added some sliced tomatoes to give it a bit of a fresher edge. It was jam packed with salad, which is always good, but I felt like the humous was a bit overpowering and a few other flavours could’ve been mixed in. We asked to add a sprinkle of coriander and yoghurt to ours, which I’d definitely recommend. Anyone who knows their falafel wraps understands the heavenly mix of coriander with falafels – after all, it’s an essential part of making a falafel! The yoghurt dressing eliminated any dryness that can occur with falafel wraps. Overall, this really is much better value for money than say, Nero. The skinny lattes we had were also very nice (a little on the small side), but again, reasonably priced. Definitely head down to the Canteen (check out their website here ) if you’re in the area – you won’t be disappointed!

I am pro-Off the Chain food establishments and think places like this offer customers greater variety and adaptability to their food – not to mention they usually end up being healthier options.

Overall rating:

Value for money: 4/5 (as the photos indicate, the wraps are big boys!)

Veggy selection 3.8/5

The food: 4/5 (it’s just way above the average café in the area, bar Pret a Manger).

So guys, what are your favourite Off the Chain cafes and restaurants in your area? If you think we should be featuring one you love, let us know! After writing my post on Chain Cafes, we got a lot of emails letting us know that you agree and prefer visiting indepedent & local establishments – we want to know what they are and how they cater for veggies. Let us know your opinion on the Off the Chain trend below.