Sunday 16 August 2015

Vegan Meal at the Coven

I've blogged about The Coven in Wigan before, when I popped in one day for a slice of chocolate goo cake and some Fentiman's Dandelion and Burdock, but despite there being good public transport links from Bolton to Wigan, I've not been since. So my friend, Rachel organised a vegan meal there for the Warrington, Widnes, Runcorn, St Helens and Wigan Vegan Group (phew! Long title! We need an acronym!) I thought it was time to pay a second visit.

Luckily, we had a rare visit from that bright thing in the sky, that I believe is called the sun, so all 18 of us got to enjoy our meals in their beautiful garden. This is an old picture, of my first visit, the plants have grown quite a bit since then, which gives it a lovely secret garden feel.

We all got to see the menu before hand and had to make our choices before the event, some had forgotten what they had ordered (which was amusing), but as soon as I saw bruschetta was a option for the starter, my mind was made up. The difficulty was choosing whether to go for the classic topping of tomato or the more usual asparagus or avocado. Despite the fact I've not had any asparagus this year, I opted for the avocado. Because, well, it's avocado.

This was delicious, and I didn't mind the coriander too much either! Other choices included a green vegetable soup, spiced plum and tostada salad, mezze and a raw tomato and basil soup.

Plum tostada

Mezze- the thing that looks like cheese is vegan mozzerella

Next up, were the main courses. Again, there was one option that stood out for me, which was the Chinese fritters on stir fried noodles.  This dish seemed to attract many admiring glances, as I was the only one on our table (maybe in the whole group?) that had ordered this. It looked freaking awesome!

The menu didn't explain what was in the fritters themselves, but I was pleased to discover it was a mix of vegetables and what I think was tofu. So as a tofu lover, this dish was a win!

Other options were lasagne, Tuscan bean stew with spicy polenta, lentil curry with saag aloo and poppadums, roasted peppers and raw sweet potato and beetroot spaghetti.
Tuscan Bean Stew
Spicy polenta, looks a lot like chips. May be chips!
Lentil curry (front), raw sweet potato and beetroot spaghetti (back) which also contained courgette!

Non of us knew what dessert would be, but there was plenty of choice. There was definitely a fruit crumble, a sundae containing a mix of everything for the indecisive, raw ice cream and chocolate goo cake both with and without soy, because no dessert menu is complete without chocolate cake.   The desserts also came with the option of vegan custard, cream, ice cream. For me, it was a no brainer, and despite my stomach's objections, I went for chocolate goo cake with ice cream (although the custard was tempting). 

This cake was pure delicious stodge, and I was glad I chose the ice cream to go with it as it was super refreshing. They use Swedish Glace vanilla ice cream which is super vanilla-y and a lot tastier than other ice creams. 

It would have been a great evening if it had just ended there, but Debra, who owns the nearby vegan and gluten free shop, Nooch was also at the meal and offered to open the shop for a private shopping experience for the group. I adore Nooch, and even though I don't get to Wigan that often (I intend to sort that out!) if I'm ever passing through Wigan, which is usually when I'm on my way to Liverpool via Wigan by train (£9 return!) I'll make sure I pop in to stock up. So the opportunity to visit my favorite vegan shop was unmissable.  Everyone always says never to go shopping when hungry, but you should also never go shopping when your absolutely stuffed either because it's so hard to imagine being able to eat ever again. Despite this, I managed to pick up some goodies that would usually mean a trip to Manchester. I mainly bought chocolate but I also picked up a jar of my favorite vegan pesto by Zest and my favourite vegan mayonnaise- Really! Not Dairy Roast Garlic mayonnaise.

The night was made even more epic when someone suggested that we go for a quick drink in her friend's new bar whilst we waited for our lift to arrive. The bar, Martland, Mill turned out to be two doors down from Nooch, and had a selection of vegan alcoholic beverages. 

There seems to be a little vegan haven starting to appear in Hallgate area of Wigan at the moment- with The Coven, and Nooch only a few doors down from each other and Martland Mill in Jaxon's square a minute's walk away. The fact that they're all very close to Wigan Wallgate station and across the road from the bus station makes it extremely tempting to do some vegan shopping in Nooch, get tea at The Coven, a cheeky drink or two at Martland Mill and then stumble to the train/bus station to get back to Bolton.  If you're feeling a little more athletic, I've been informed by my friend Andrea, that Wigan Central, tucked way underneath the railway bridge near Wigan North Western Station (across the road from Wigan Wallgate) also offers a selection of vegan friendly real ales and ciders. Hmmm, a day out in Wigan is sounding really tempting now... 

Massive thanks to Rachel, who provided the majority of the pictures of the food at the Coven. I suck at remembering to take photos. And also, a big thanks to those patient, hungry vegans that let us both snap away at their food before tucking in!


  1. The food looks great! I've never been to The Coven, but I love Nooch - it actually stocks a lot of things that you can't get in Manchester, like those Wagon Wheels.

  2. That looks like an excellent evening. I love those wagon wheels too!

  3. What an awesome place! I love the look of the Chinese fritters on noodles (strong ordering) and it's super cool that the mezze comes with vegan cheese. That sundae too, OMG! Your haul from nooch looks wonderful too, I emailed them recently to see if they'd be interested in stocking my zine so (fingers crossed!) you may see it there soon!

    1. I hope Nooch agree to stock your zine- I'm so excited to get to try it out next time we go away!

  4. Everything looks amazing! And the outside space delightful!

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