Vinnie's Eatery, Cheltenham: Clean and green
PUBLISHED: 15:11 26 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:11 26 June 2017
Cheltenham's very first plant-based wholefood restaurant has opened its doors on Cheltenham's Crescent Terrace
A first for Cheltenham, Vinnie’s Eatery is a new plant-based restaurant serving dishes that don’t contain meat, eggs, fish or cheese.
A vegan establishment on Crescent Terrace, just behind the Promenade, it’s the first venture for chef Vincenzo Mangone and his partner, Louis Mander, who moved to Gloucestershire after meeting in London last year.
They both share a love of food and ‘clean eating’ but their professional lives until now have been poles apart.
Originally from Vancouver, Canada, but with Italian roots, chef Vincenzo has always worked in catering and hospitality. His family owned hotels and restaurants in Canada and he worked and trained in them from a very young age.
Louis is an internationally recognised composer, having studied and worked in London for the past decade. His opera, The Life to Come, a collaboration with actor and writer Stephen Fry, will be performed by Surrey Opera this autumn and at the Oslo Opera House. He’s also an accomplished baker in his spare time.
The couple met in London last year and their friendship has blossomed so much that they are getting married this summer.
At Vinnie’s Eatery, Louis looks after the front-of-house and Vinnie, who learned his vegan and plant-based cooking from the acclaimed Canadian raw/vegan chef Chantale Roy, is the driving force in the kitchen.
So why did they decide to open a plant-based restaurant in Cheltenham? Vincent says it was a combination of reasons.
“It has been my dream to open a plant-based wholefood eatery for ten years. I always liked the idea of opening a place that would benefit the community’s well-being and to make a change in people’s lives.
“I have been vegan for six years and vegetarian for ten years, which was more about not supporting factory animal farming than just health reasons, and Louis has become vegetarian since we met.”
From its vegan breakfast (a wedge of chickpea frittata served with grilled chestnut mushrooms, homemade baked beans, rocket and almond bread) to dinner of Moroccan tagine (chickpea, courgette and aubergine tagine with harissa paste, mint and chickpea flatbread) or ‘Vizza’ (a plant-based alternative to pizza with sundried tomato, flax and carrot crust topped with kale, mushrooms, olives and chopped walnuts), Vinnie’s Eatery certainly serves a healthy alternative for diet-conscious Cheltenham diners.
With its salads, gluten-free blueberry and maple syrup buckwheat pancakes and refusal to cook with oil (everything is steamed or boiled), this all-day business certainly ticks all the ‘clean eating’ boxes and the response so far has been very positive, according to Vincenzo.
“People in Cheltenham have a discerning and healthy eating outlook and they have welcomed us so warmly. Some customers have said they have been waiting 15 years for somewhere to eat like this.”
Wholefood and vegan restaurants have always had a bit of a hippy image, so how has Vinnie’s Eatery managed to shake that off?
Vincenzo says: “We have designed a comfy, relaxed and smart ambience and decor which helps people feel at home and our clean living, clean eating and stylish menu helps people trust our raison d’être.”
Not that Vinnie’s Eatery doesn’t serve a few treats, including spiced apple cake made with ground almonds and served with caramel sauce, a few cocktails and beer from Gloucester Brewery, alongside healthier options such as cold-pressed juice drinks like apple, kale, parsley, lemon and ginger.
And clean-living owners Vincenzo and Louis admit that even they have a few guilty secrets when it comes to food.
“I have a very sweet tooth,” says Vincenzo. “I love dates and dried fruit, which perhaps isn’t too naughty, but Louis loves coconut ice cream.”
With yoga sessions, raw food cooking classes and even tarot and numerology readings lined up at the restaurant, Vinnie’s is certainly one of the more unique eateries to open in Cheltenham in recent years.