Driving up the M6 for a short post-Christmas break in the Lake District with extended members of the Fagan clan, we decided to make the short detour into Lancaster to find somewhere for lunch. We use the Happy Cow website quite often if we are somewhere we have never been before. We found that there were 2 veggie cafes in the centre of the city. Menus for both were online but I steered the troops towards the unusually named Whale Tail Café as I’d already spotted what I wanted to order!
It was easy to find located up an alley above a co-operative shop and was much bigger than I was expecting from reviews. However, it is obviously very popular (good sign usually) and despite lots of tables we still had to queue for a few mins and play table Tetris. I noticed queues forming throughout the lunchtime period so be prepared to wait if you are visiting. It has the typical feel of a wholefood café: blackboards, wooden benches, couple of sofas in the corner, welcoming feel and a menu to match the wholefood vibe. Now for the reviews:
Sometimes, especially after the excesses of Christmas you know when a dish is going to hit the spot so what was it that caught my eye on the menu? Only a vegan BLT with smoked tofu – I knew that was going to be good the moment I saw it. I love tofu at the best of times so bung it in a sandwich with garlic mayo on top and I’m sold!
Was it any good though? It was for me. Wholegrain roll with lettuce, tomato, about 4 pieces of smoked tofu and then smothered in the very garlicky vegan garlic mayo. I probably hummed of garlic for the rest of the day but it was worth it. If you aren’t such a lover of garlic or mayo you may want to ask for it on the side as they did lather it on. You have been warned.
Me and the girls also shared a bowl of chips. They were big, fat chips as opposed to skinny fries and there was Meridian tomato ketchup on the table to dip into. I thought they were OK as chips go and went well with the BLT.
I really enjoyed visiting the Whale Tail Café. Although it was really busy, it didn’t take that long to find a table. I ordered the BLT. It was brought to the table really quickly and it looked delicious! The BLT was made up of a wholegrain roll, lettuce, tomato, smoked tofu and loads and loads of vegan garlic mayo! If you don’t like garlic it would probably be best not to order this dish. The amount of mayo they put on was quite overwhelming and you couldn’t really taste anything else!
As well as the BLT, we ordered some chips to share. The chips were big and fat and they were so hot they were hard to eat. They tasted really good. However, I think that they could have done with putting a few more in the bowl.
At the Whale Tail Café, I had the vegan BLT with a cup of filter coffee. This BLT was very different as the ‘bacon’ was instead smoked tofu with mixed leaves, tomato, and garlic vegan mayo. As a person who loves actual bacon, I thought it tasted quite like the real thing. The added garlic mayo really lifted the overall taste of the bap even though it was very messy to eat. I really enjoyed it and would have it again anytime. We got a side of chips as well as we thought they would go well with the BLTs. However we weren’t very impressed with them as they tasted like freezer chips.
When we went to the Whale Tail Café, I had, just like most of the family, the vegan BLT. It was overflowing with lettuce and tomato and instead of bacon there was some delicious smoky tofu in its place. I guess it should be a TLT.
Along with the tofu, lettuce and tomato, there was a smothering of garlic mayo (vegan) on top of the tofu. The sauce held the whole thing together a bit more but I probably had foul breath for the rest of the day! From that I think it should be a TLT with GM. Or simply a TLTGM!
We also shared a side of chunky chips with organic ketchup. The chips were very hot but they were not dripping with oil like some chips I have eaten.
Overall the Whale Tail Café is a nice place to have a TLTGM or lunch.
I thought the Whale Tail Café was OK and the food was palatable, although I have to confess to being bitterly disappointed by the chips that accompanied my Spicy Bean Burger. I would have expected better from a vegetarian establishment. Is this fair? Not really, but when I was ordering my Spicy Bean Burger I was anticipating more of a home cooked feel to my chips and not something bright yellow from a plastic bag. The burger itself was overcooked and the roll the burger came in was just wrong. It was too soft and probably more suited to holding a slice of cheese and some salad, rather than a lovely big bean burger. However the relish applied to the burger and roll was really nice and there was lots of it.
Clearly a highly popular café in the centre of what appeared to be a pretty dull, miserable city centre (we’ve never been to Lancaster before and doubt we would bother again other than to eat lunch on the way to the Lakes!). Hadn’t quite realised how run down the city was.