Ely’s fast turning into a hot spot for vegans, with the city’s first meat-free cafe set to open this month.
Bi-annual vegan fairs are already drawing foodies from far and wide to Ely – and now, the city’s celebrating the launch of its first, dedicated vegan and gluten free cafe.
“Nourish to flourish” is the motto of Lucy at 35, a cafe promising “healthy, wholesome and delicious” plant based foods, based at Spa Ely.
Lucy at 35 is the brainchild of chef Lucy Andrew, from Little Downham, and Ely businesswoman Caroline Bailey.
Caroline had a “light bulb moment” after becoming frustrated at the lack of places to eat out when she found out she was gluten intolerant late last year.
“I decided to offer vegan food at 35 Forehill, to create it as a health and wellbeing lifestyle venue, catering for people’s health and beauty needs, both inside and out.”
The grand launch of Lucy at 35 will coincide with Spa Ely’s 12th anniversary – a double celebration.
Caroline said: “Our food is not aimed just at vegans, but people who want to try delicious, new flavours that are plant based.”
Lucy’s tantalising dishes include falafel, mint yogurt, rocket, pickled red onion and toasted sesame seed wraps, white truffle and mushroom risotto, Thai vegetable and peanut noodles or a vegan twist on mac ’n’ cheese, featuring butternut squash and nutritional yeast.
For those with a sweet tooth, desserts include dark chocolate, caramel and sea salt bark and sweet potato brownie with dark chocolate frosting.
Lucy, 24, said: “The wonderful thing about these dishes is the purity of them. I believe we need to ‘nourish to flourish’, that this comes from within us and what we eat.
“We will serve gorgeous rainbow coloured foods packed with pure nutrients that are shown to have many health benefits, can increase energy and give you a glowing skin, as well as being very satisfying on the pallet.”
She herself adopted a gluten free lifestyle at the age of 15 after her former partner was diagnosed as coeliac. She found it difficult to return to her previous diet, becoming very bloated after re-introducing foods she had eliminated, such as pasta, bread and biscuits.
Lucy said: “Lots of my family and friends now follow a gluten free or vegan lifestyle. We share recipes and tips, which is fun as it can lead to trying new recipes that I haven’t tried before.”
The cafe will have a strong environmental ethos. Lucy plans to use the freshest, seasonal ingredients where possible and make her best effort to source locally.
It will also serve take-away foods in recyclable and compostable containers.
Lucy at 35 will open at Spa Ely, 35 Forehill, on April 21. For more information click here.
The Vegan & Vintage Fair will take place on May 6-7 (Bank Holiday Weekend). For more details click here.