Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Vegan MoFo from afar - vegan meals in York, thanks to Goji Cafe

I decided to sign up to the 2012 Vegan Mofo despite still being in Europe. This might sound a little foolish, and I'm still not entirely sure that it isn't exactly that. However, I was so inspired by the posts I read last year that I really wanted to take part. Plus, sadly (oh, so very, very sadly) we will be home this Friday evening. I'm not sure I'm ready for that at all, but that isn't our focus for today.



Instead, today we zoom in on one of our lunches (and also one of my dinners!) in York. There will be a full post on Yorkshire eventually, which navigates the scenery and towns and attractions, but today is about a particular cafe and its rather wonderful food.

Goji Cafe is located in the historic centre of York and I noted it with interest on our first evening there. It serves organic and fair trade vegetarian and vegan food, mostly during the day, but also in the evenings on Friday and Saturday nights.


Goji Cafe by night

Their cafe menu includes dishes such as wraps, a rice bowl, a mushroom burger, and even a tofu hotdog. They also have an extensive dessert list, including vegan chocolate cake and vegan lemon and poppyseed cake - and that is before you even hit the specials, some of which are shown below.


We visited for lunch on our first full day in York, and I was delighted to discover tables tucked away at the back of the store in the sort of warmth that had a chance of defrosting my hands. We ordered drinks, a very gingery ginger beer for Mr Bite and a pot of tea for me, and set about the serious business of deciding what to eat.


I could have had any number of dishes, and the tomato and sweet potato soup (their soup of the day) was a serious contender. In the end, though, I ordered their vegan "roast vegetables with tomato and tofu" wrap . It came toasted, with a side of salad and tomato salsa, and was packed full of spinach, capsicum, onion, zucchini and tofu strips. The tomato flavouring was exquisite, smoky and deep and also (unexpectedly) carrying notes of lime. I loved it.


Mr Bite had intended to order their large vegetarian samosa with salad, but some confusion in the ordering process resulted in him receiving the Indian platter. It included the samosa (hidden in the above photo), along with an onion bhaji, lentil dhal soup, side salad, and yoghurt and mango chutney sides. He enjoyed the samosa and bhaji but found them too spicy to be optimal, and he was rather red faced after eating! The soup, hot in temperature as well as taste, defeated him.

This was good for me, because it meant I had a partner in dessert. I don't usually do dessert at lunch time, but given that we finished our main courses at 2.30pm and the menu featured vegan liquorice cake - well, I made an exception.

Vegan liquorice cake with soy ice cream, plus Mr Bite's ginger beer

I am glad I did, because the cake was amazing.

I wasn't sure what to expect from a liquorice cake, but I can only say that it was delightful. The taste and texture was reminiscent of a dark ginger cake, with underlying flavours of molasses or treacle, but instead of ginger there was subtle, subtle liquorice. The icing packed a slightly greater liquorice punch, but still not an over-powering one. The cake as a whole managed to be dense and light at the same time. We split it down the middle and both loved it.


The vanilla ice cream was so creamy that I was convinced it was almond-based. However, when I asked, I was told it was soy. I can only say that it was nothing like any soy ice cream I'd eaten previously, and the use of real vanilla bean seemed to make a world of difference to the flavour.

I was so enamored with this meal that it may come as no surprise that I managed a repeat visit. On our final night, when we didn't venture out to find dinner until 8.30pm, we decided to buy take-away instead of searching for, and then waiting at, a restaurant. As we were staying at a B&B, we weren't about to make things from scratch and I decided that Goji Cafe would be just the place to cater to my tastes. Mr Bite went for Wagamama, which was just down the road (yes, even in historic York!).

If you were to eat in at Goji Cafe for dinner, you could order dishes such as a vegan coconut curry, stuffed butternut squash, or a layered eggplant bake. Their mushroom burger also features in the evening. Their evening take-away options are a bit more limited, however, as they only serve cold dishes to take away. This led to me buying a repeat of my lunch wrap, which frankly I was quite happy to do.

Just as good cold

We also bought another cake to share, this time the vegan carrot cake. Like the liquorice one, it was beautifully done - fluffy, moist, and dense enough to satisfy without being excessively heavy. The cake was studded with raisins (no nuts, which I prefer in carrot cake) and the icing was a vegan cream cheese.



Goji cafe, thank you for two delicious meals. You are very worthy of kicking off my Vegan Mofo posts for 2012 and I hope I will be back to visit again one day.

What was the last surprise cafe discovery you made? I really didn't expect to find such a great place on the main street of York!

29 comments:

  1. That looks like a great cafe. I love the blackboard menu. And the food looks so delicious. I'm surprised though, that it's so cold in York. At this time of the year? How cold does it get in winter? xx

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    1. Oh Charlie, it has been so cold! Think maximums of 12-15'C. Warm relative to winters of 0-5'C, but for someone out of a Perth winter, it has been chilly :P

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  2. Ah carrot cake... one of the best.

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  3. We are so happy you liked our food :-) and we hope to see you again. Lovely post and great photos. Makes all the hard work so worthwhile.

    Is it ok if we put some of these pictures on our facebook page and web site?

    Gareth @ Goji Cafe, York.
    http://www.facebook.com/GojiCafe

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    1. You are absolutely welcome to use the pictures (and/or links)! Thank you so much for the comment - you were a wonderful cafe to find and we will definitely visit again if we are back in York.

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  4. yay for vegan mofo posts! Glad you are taking part. This cafe sounds like a great find. I am intrigued by the liquorice cake - do they have a bottle of flavouring or do they puree sticks of liquorice? Would love to taste it.

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    1. I wish I'd asked! I assumed it was liquorice extract or herb (like what goes in liquorice tea), but now you ask I am not sure. I am hoping to re-create it eventually though :)

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  5. Hmm perhaps I need to travel to York...Goji Cafe sounds amazing!

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    1. It really was! And York is probably worth visiting for other reasons too :)

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  6. You can count me in for that cake. It looks delicious. I tried a turtle cheesecake this past weekend, and it was so good! I will need to order that more often now.

    Thank you so much for the support you showed in my latest blog post. I understand that the fashion industry promotes an image of perfection. While that is fine for the most part, it's not okay to get mean and overly critical. I feel like "insiders" have developed an air of haughtiness lately, and they seem unwelcoming to those on the outside. I prefer to take my blog in a different direction and see where the wind takes me.

    http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

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    1. Turtle cheesecake? Now I am going to have to look that up!

      Also, you are so welcome - I will look forward to seeing where the wind takes you :)

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  7. You have rules about when you will and won't eat dessert?! Girl, that be cray cray! Glad you flipped that on its head, because HOLY SMOKES licorice cake! I've been on a slow and steady path to adoring licorice ever since trying it in gelato form in 2010, and now I MUST HAVESTHATYES.

    P.S. Boo home! But you'll be back in London for good soon :D

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    1. Good gosh, no to cake rules, but generally speaking my cake interest doesn't start until a bit later in the day :)

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  8. So glad you are doing MoFo! The end of such an exciting trip is never fun, you'll have to start planning the next one!

    Even though I'm usually interested in savoury food more than sweet, that liquorice cake really caught my attention. It sounds amazing.

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    1. Thanks Mel - I think Mr B will be getting going on the planning before too long! The liquorice cake really ticked all the boxes in cake and I am going to have to try and make it I think.

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  9. Glad to hear you scored some good vego eats! Never heard of liquoirce cake but certainly sounds yummy. Can't wait to see some scenery pictures, enjoy the rest of your honeymoon!

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    1. Thank you - the scenery photos might be a bit delayed but will come!

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  10. Both cakes looks amazing! We also like to order two kinds, and then split both of them, if the choice is too overwhelming.

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  11. Lovely photos - and OMG, I want vegan licorice cake now! Bet we could make up a recipe for it.

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    1. I sure hope so - it has lingered in my mind and I definitely want to try :)

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  12. this looks like a great meal! delicious!

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  13. I'm soo soo glad that you found this lil gem while frolicking in York (said a with slight, just slight envy. The menu sounds wonderful! Your tofu wrap def sounds like something I can sink my teeth into. I've never heard of capsicum before..what does it taste like? At first when I read liquorice cake, I wasn't a fan. I do not like liquorice...However, the texture sounds amazing and the fact that it's not overpowering makes me want to grab a fork. This is why you can't judge anything by the cover..and yes, this def includes food ;)
    I'm with you. If I like a place, even though Tim likes to try as many diff places as the time allows, I like to go back there as many times as I possibly can. Hope you make it back home safely!

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    1. Oops, capsicum is pepper to Americans! :)

      I am terrible for repeat visits to places, but I like to think it's worthwhile if the place is good. I'm glad I'm not alone with that tendency!

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  14. That licorice cake sounds incredible... I love it when REAL vanilla bean is used in ice cream, it really makes the world of difference. YUM this cafe sounds like a place I would dig for sure.

    I love licorice, I've recently been into spelt licorice which is SO GOOD.

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    1. I haven't yet tried spelt liquorice! I shall have to - I keep seeing it but ignoring it because it costs more :P And I am now a complete convert to real vanilla bean, I can't believe how much better it was!

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  15. The Goji cafe is my favourite in York, their mushroom burger is definitely worth trying.
    I too have had the liquorice cake at Goji, and can't recommend it highly enough.
    I'm now searching for a similar recipe which I can try at home.

    :)

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