Part of The Old Red Bus Station, an artsy ents space and late-night bar run by creative collective Champion Up North, cheap and cheerful Cantina is Leeds’ first all-vegan canteen and offers “an ever-changing menu of classic diner munch and naughty junk food”.
There’s a whole lot of burger action to be had, mostly – though not exclusively – of the seitan variety. The one that isn’t seitan consists of a chickpea patty with coconut curry sauce, mango chutney, red onion and iceberg lettuce in a bun; others include the Hashbrown Down and the Philly Cheesesteak, which teams seitan “steak” strips with “cheese” and onions on a grilled sub roll. If you’d prefer, there’s a Greek kebab with seitan and salad stuffed in a pitta and there are seitan nuggets with various dips. Our old favourite tofu is here, marinated, breaded, deep-fried and called popcorn, while the cauli bites get the same treatment and are called, er, cauli bites. Equally shown the deep fat fryer are the mushroom arancini risotto balls, and there’s loaded mac’n’cheese and even a plant-based poutine. If you fancy something a little more healthy, there’s Thai Laksa, Cantina’s take on the spicy Malaysian classic, with rice noodles, butternut squash, and flavours of ginger, garlic and coriander. There’s also the three bean bowl, a bake combining butter, kidney and cannellini beans, onions, cheese and chillies, served with marinated cauli; cauliflower leaves are also available as a side, spiced and roasted then served with an oniony dip.
Desserts include cake – ask for today’s – and a plate of six deep-fried Oreos, which is giving us heartburn just thinking about it. Cocktails include The Beauregarde, involving violet gin and blackberries, and there’s a selection of local beers on tap, and Bus Station Brew.
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