Surprise and delight at the Bailgate Deli, Lincoln

You’ll find this awesome place tucked away in a little side street in the Bailgate of Lincoln, next to popular Italian Gino’s and boutique clothes shop Jelousie. Matt and I had stayed the night before in a nearby hotel, but the hotel’s vegan breakfast was somewhat lacking (dry toast, yum), and we decided to visit the deli and have a coffee to supplement what the hotel lacked. Unremarkable from the outside, we were blown away by the range and variety of vegan produce and options here. Its discrete window front promotes wholesome local, seasonal and vegetarian food, but doesn’t let on that it’s strictly vegetarian until you see the menu.

Until now, I thought there weren’t any vegetarian restaurants in Lincoln, but turns out this little gem has been providing for the last two years. The menu is small and well priced, especially for the area (£4-7.50 for a main- including a loaded pastrami sandwich, avocado and crispy tempeh on sourdough, and a full vegan breakfast). It is entirely meat-free and mostly dairy and egg free, which makes this place very nearly vegan, an excellent state of affairs in the little backwater that is Lincoln. The coffee is well made and the tea good quality, but it’s the food which shines. The vegan breakfast was astonishingly good, and surely appreciated by any vegan who has tried to make good tofu scramble or tempeh themselves. It’s certainly challenging!

Inside there are shelves full of unique and speciality ingredients- different kinds of flour, good quality tamari, nut butters, and miso, and a fridge and freezer with mock meats and cheeses. It’s like window shopping for a difficult foodie. I left with some rye and caraway bread and plum loaf, both of which this place serves with vegan cheeze. There’s also a selection of vegan cakes and desserts. The strawberry cake we tried was perfectly light, fluffy and sweet. They nail both savoury and sweet offerings here. Their strength lies in their simplicity and straight forward approach to good food with seasonal ingredients. They’re well ahead of the curve not only for Lincoln but for most places in the UK, as the trend for simple, honest, and conscientious food grows here.

I wholeheartedly recommend this place. It’s the only of its kind in Lincoln, and full of ever-changing delights. It will make you feel like a kid in the proverbial sweet shop.

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