While researching all things Vegan on Facebook, Guacs-Up came across a post advertising Ben & Johnny’s tapas restaurant in Lytham St Annes, offering a full Vegan menu soon. So we contacted them for more information, & asked if we could visit to sample their new Vegan menu, kindly they invited us in to try it out.
Ben & Johnny’s is located on Wood Street, just behind St Annes Road West, St Annes main shopping street. The establishment is a quaint little rustic restaurant bar & lounge, open by day & night, with a jazz/blues-esque twist. Live acoustic music & entertainment are provided on the evenings over the weekend, & they also offer a wide range of home cooked food with a Vegan tapas menu. Johnny the co owner is a successful musician of 25 years, while business partner, co owner Ben, is a local business man who has a huge passion for quality food.
Once inside we where greeted by Johnny who was behind the bar, he welcomed us in, & once asked began telling us how the idea for a Vegan menu came about. Johnny, knowing quite a few Vegans himself, & having a Vegan friend, was informed how difficult it is to get Vegan food so easily. One of the only options his Vegan friend had, was to ask a local tapas restaurant to make Vegan food for her specially, & that’s only because she knew the people who owned the place. So seeing as Ben & Johnny’s was also a tapas restaurant, they decided to give a Vegan tapas menu a try. They posted their menu up on Facebook, & “wow” as Johnny said, the feedback they received from it was immense, in fact Johnny said that was their biggest post. And thats how we found them.
As we waited for Ben (the co owner & chef) to arrive, Johnny continued to tell us how they’ve been looking into getting Vegan alcohol, they already had the Vegan beer’s, Brew Dog & Estrella Damm, but, were looking into getting more Vegan wines, which is always good news for us thirsty Vegans.
Ben came in to greet us with a bag of fresh groceries to make the food, which is always good to see, he told us to take a seat, make ourselves comfortable, & he’d bring the food right out once it was ready.
First up for the food was the ‘Gazpacho’, as the menu says, a “traditional, cold Andalucian soup”. Which consisted of tomatoes, red, yellow & green peppers, garlic, & mint as a little twist instead of basil. The soup was beautifully presented & full of flavour, even though we both would usually prefer a warm soup, the dish was a hit for the both of us. Next up was the ‘Bruschetta’, served with tomato, red onion & basil, garnished with rocket & a balsamic glaze to die for. I (Guac) personally loved the Brushettta, even though it’s such a simple dish, it can go so very wrong in my opinion. However, this dish was just perfect, very light, simple & flavoursome. The next dish was the ‘Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes’, which consisted of cherry tomatoes stuffed with a homemade red pesto, dressed with beets, lambs lettuce, garlic oil, balsamic glaze & chives. This was Mrs Guac’s favourite, the tomatoes where very juicy & delicate, & the red pesto was simply divine according to Mimi, & I can second that. As mentioned above, Johnny informed us that the pesto was homemade & you could tell. ‘Garlic Fried Cauliflower’ came next, which was a super simple, but super tasty mix of fried cauliflower, wilted kale, chickpeas & lemon with cumin seeds. This was my personal favourite, so fresh, super healthy & fragrant, it was very tasty, & right up my street being super healthy, a big thumbs up for me. Last for us to try was the ‘Garlic Flat Bread’, which was exactly what it said on the tin. It was a thin flat bread, with chopped garlic & garlic oil. What we liked about this dish was it was very light, even though it was bread, it would be a nice little accompaniment to the other dishes. Unfortunately we didn’t get to try the ‘Potatas Bravas’, “a classic Spanish dish of cubed potato fried in olive oil tomato & spices”, as the menu states, however, we enjoyed the taster menu so much, we’re definitely gonna be back there again soon.
After the taster menu was over, we had chance to sit down with Ben & ask him a few questions about the menu, & his Vegan food venture. He told us of how he was thinking to extend the Vegan menu to not just tapas, but to also have a regular Vegan menu as well. Enthusiastic to ask us for suggestions, Ben wanted to know if we had any idea for some dishes for a regular menu. So we suggested a few simple everyday Vegan dishes that most people would like, & that are very easy to Veganise. Like a Vegan burger, or a Vegan full English Breakfast/Brunch which Ben seemed keen on, asking us how he would Veganise it. We told Ben it’s possibly the easiest thing to Veganise, & that all he needed to do really, was replace the sausages. As I’m sure as you know if you’re a fellow Vegan in the UK, literally everywhere that sells a Vegan/Veggie full English breakfast uses Quorn sausages, which contain egg. It’s so frustrating because just that one simple change from Quorn sausages, to say, Linda McCartney’s Vegan sausages, which are readily available in most big chain supermarkets, & everything else falls into place. I mean, the rest of a full English breakfast is basically Vegan, bar the bacon & eggs of course, & if the food is cooked with oil & instead of butter, i.e. the hash browns, tomatoes, beans, mushrooms, & toast are all Vegan anyhow. Then any extras like scrambled tofu, fake bacon, Vegan black pudding, spinach or roasted veggies would all be an extra. Ben liked the idea, & pondered it with enthusiasm, showing a real passion for his food, as he didn’t like the idea of buying in Vegan sausages, & was more so contemplating making his own from fresh ingredients, which we loved to hear. As we discussed Vegan alcohol previously with Johnny, Ben asked us for any tips for Vegan alcohol, so we told him about the Vegan website ‘Barnivore’, & how he could check his beers & wines on there to see if they were Vegan. Apart from the menu & drinks, Ben also told us about another bigger venue in Lytham with a function room they are planning to open soon, that will also be hosting a Vegan menu in the near future.
it was very tasty, & right up my street being super healthy
Overall we had a great dinning experience at Ben & Johnny’s, we where throughly looked after by our hosts, the food was up to a high standard in terms of taste & quality, & we can see Ben & Johnny’s as being one of our new little Vegan haunts, its a cool little place to hang out for beers & nibbles with friends, but also offers live entertainment in the evenings too.
Guacs Up gives Ben & Johnny’s 5 stars out of 5.
Food – 5.0
Service – 5.0
Atmosphere – (We only had a private taster day so can’t comment here)
Price – 5.0
Gaus Up would like to thank Ben & Johnny for the amazing taster day, & the incredible warm welcome from our hosts, & we’re looking forward to possibly hosting a Guacs Up Monthly Vegan Meet Up there sometime soon.
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