Sunday 9th August saw the launch party of Anna-Loka on Albany Road, Roath, Cardiff’s first much-anticipated 100 % all-vegan restaurant – and boy-oh-boy did it deliver. Upon arrival and completely starving it was great to see the place packed and experience the fantastic atmosphere. The excitement, support and positivity in the air was palpable. Adam El Tagoury was able to open the venue after a crowd-funding campaign raised £6,000.
There was even a guest appearance from boxer Joe Calzaghe – which should silence the doubters – yes, you really can enjoy vegan food and be an optimum-level athlete!
The menu served up to the hungry foodies of all persuasions was quite simply stunning.
As an occasional pescetarian but mainly vegetarian; and with a plus-one who is a self-confessed meat-lover, I was intrigued to see how the food would go down…
As a clue: It was eyes down and no talky-talk until we’d polished the lot off.
So what did we eat?
Pulled “pork” sliders OR raw tacos
Served with chickpea carrot curry + raw ‘slaw
Beetroot & courgette salad
Sweet potato fries
Chocolate brownie with salted caramel
Original and mixed berry komboocha
Virgin summer mojito
The pulled “pork” sliders were just heaven and oh-so-lick-lipingly-tasty; and when served with the accompanying chickpea curry, raw ‘slaw, beetroot & courgette salad and sweet potato fries, well, it was an orgasmic orgy in the mouth.
Would we have preferred the mojito’s defiled?
But as someone who’s spent time in Cuba I can confirm the authenticity was all there. And so many venues get a mojito so wrong.
Anna Loka‘s mojito however was taste-wise spot-on. I almost forgot it was alcohol-free.
I wanted some more info and background and so got together with Jiva, a pivotal member of the Anna Loka team, for a chat about the inspirational idea behind the enterprise.
Why “Anna Loka”?
"ANNA” means food, health or earth, and “LOKA” means world or planet. This is India’s ancient language, Sanksrit, and with backgrounds in travel and yoga philosophy, we think this name effectively represents what we are about; an eclectic, authentic, HEALTHY experience that facilitates principled, conscious choices but doesn’t compromise on quality or taste.
Why 100% vegan?
Slowly but surely, the British public are becoming more aware of the benefits of veganism from the viewpoints of health, environment and morality. We want to offer people choices, and an environment where they can experience the best in comfort, culture and consciousness. Our menu will be full of variety, giving the “free-from”s, the raw foodists and the meat-eaters alike wide selection and supreme satisfaction. No more jacket potato defaults on the pub menu!
What’s the plan?
We have secured a property on Albany Road in the culturally-diverse suburb of Roath, one of the more bohemian sections of the city and only a 20 minute walk from the city centre. Anna Loka aims to become a hub of home-baked goods, including our own traditional, sourdough and free-from breads and custom-made pizzas. We’ll be flipping lots of fun-filled pancakes and smoky, crispy vegan rashers, as well as other delectable meat-alternatives for you to get your teeth into! For the health-conscious we will offer a variety of summer and winter salads and raw creations, countered with plenty of tasty deep-fried naughties, such as vegan doughnuts and tofu/ vegetable tempura.
Anna Loka is now open for business seven days a week as from Friday 14th August 2015!
So if you’re wondering what to do with your weekend – well, now you know…
Oh and the meat-eater’s conclusion?
She 100% loved it.
Imagery and photography by kind permission of Neil Locke.