We've come a long way since the prevailing attitude towards vegetarianism was much like Nana Royle’s in that classic episode of the hit BBC sitcom when she just can’t get her head around the fact that wafer thin ham isn’t suitable for herbivores like me.
Greater consciousness of the ethical implications of eating meat and the potential health benefits of cutting animal products from your diet means this lifestyle choice thankfully isn’t the enigma it once was and eating out has become a lot easier for vegetarians and vegans.
Meat-free dishes are now the norm rather than the exception at most restaurants, but how does Chester fare in the vegetarian stakes?
Former model Heather Mills may have deemed the city gastronomically enlightened enough to open up a vegan concession here, but up until this autumn there was not a single permanent eatery in the city which caters exclusively for vegetarians and vegans.
Thankfully that changed when Chai Station opened its doors on Brook Street in September.
The brainchild of partners Bob Gohill and Sandeep Jarjapu, it specialises in vegetarian-only authentic Indian street food. Upon opening, Sandeep said there is a dearth of vegetarian restaurants in Chester so it was hoped Chai Station would ‘fill the gap in the market’.
Satsuma Pop Up Bistro
Now this Chester-based dining experience with a difference is fully vegetarian and vegan, but as its name gives away, it operates from a residential property on a fairly ad hoc basis.
The good news is that its next Chester session is on Friday, January 19, so follow its Facebook page for more information.
Nine Elephants – Thai drink and dine
Chester's third Thai restaurant will open on Saturday, January 13. The cuisine will be cooked by authentic Thai chefs and packed with nutritionally valuable herbs, and it will offer a specific vegetarian menu for non-meat eaters.
Heather Mills’ aforementioned grab and go counter at Holland & Barrett on Foregate Street opened in 2015 and offers Vegan Society accredited foods free from animal products, fish, eggs, dairy, artificial colourings, GMOs and hydrogenated fats and oils.
'Taste the essence of Middle Eastern falafel' at this Watergate Street eatery, which boasts an extensive vegetarian and vegan offering.
For more information about Falafel Xpress click here.
This City Road restaurant has a vegetarian set menu deal and any main course can be prepared as a meat-free dish, but a word of warning for strict vegetarians – all curry pastes apart from yellow contain trace amounts of shrimp paste.
It specialises in stonebaked pizzas and even boasts a vegan alternative.
This French-themed bistro on Northgate Street has a ‘good selection of savours for vegetarians and vegans to enjoy’, so says one of our restaurant reviewers following a recent jaunt.
And, of course, a vegetarian’s best friend... The curry house. Mercifully, Chester has plenty of them.
Over the border just into North Wales, meanwhile, there are a fair few choices in unlikely spots, like vegetarian café-deli Kyffin in the heart of Bangor, or Caffi Sam, a vegetarian café at the foot of Snowdon in the village of Llanberis, or even the Tremeifion Vegetarian and Vegan Hotel in Gwynedd.
Do you think Chester's vegetarian offering is good enough?
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Are there any gems that we haven’t heard about? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ChesterChron.