Review: Got No Beef

Veganuary has been increasingly popular over previous years, where individuals stick to a completely plant-based diet for a month. The challenge started in 2014 and is run by a UK non-profit organisation in hopes of raising awareness of the benefits of veganism. Finding substitutes for foods and products that you love is a lot of work and requires a lot of patience, despite living in a society where the vegan community and lifestyle is one that is growing in popularity and population! Though compared to perhaps 5 or 10 years ago, there are substantially more options available today for those who want to make the transition.

Moving to University as someone who had never cooked more than beans on toast meant that I was an extremely nervous cook. I turned to vegetarian options in hope that they would be easier to cook, and much less likely to give me food poisoning! Today, a year and a half later, I find that I only ever eat vegetarian or vegan options, and I thoroughly enjoy it! Cardiff has an extensive range of vegan and vegetarian options to choose from, and one of it’s finest (and a personal favourite of mine!) is definitely Got No Beef.

Often described as one of the city’s best restaurants, Got No Beef is a family-run business in the heart of the city centre. Tom, Jackie, and Hannah have spent years travelling the country with their Got No Beef street food stall, exhibiting and blowing minds at over 150 events, before deciding to settle in their home city. Having opened just over two years ago, they have seen their way out of lockdown after lockdown, proving the strength of the vegan community here through and through! 

Garlic Parmesan Chicken Burger and Loaded Fries – Alexa Price

My experience at Got No Beef was extremely positive and I cannot wait to return. This restaurant is a plant-based utopia. While I knew to expect a completely vegan menu, the variety on offer at Got No Beef is simply mind-blowing! The atmosphere in the restaurant is nothing but warm and welcoming, and its playlist is remarkably varied. Whether you’re vegan or not, Got No Beef has something I guarantee you will enjoy.

I was recently fortunate enough to interview one of the business’ founders, Tom, in hopes of hearing and sharing his advice and experiences as a vegan, as well as to taste what’s on offer! 

What do you find most rewarding about running a vegan restaurant in the heart of Cardiff?

There are many people who have a very stereotypical outlook on vegan dining, and I like to diminish those opinions to prove that vegan food can be very exciting!

Do you find that you deal with a lot of criticism from those who aren’t vegan? How do you deal with it?

It’s definitely becoming increasingly accepted in society, and people are certainly much more open-minded to trying plant-based food. In supermarkets especially there are more options, making veganism accessible to anybody. Bigger chains are starting to include vegan options which also have an impact, again making people a lot more accepting. There will always be individuals who aren’t as open which can be bizarre, but you definitely get used to it. When you have a business that you’ve poured your heart and soul into, there will always be people who simply search for the faults, but I’ve learned that there’s truly nothing you can do about it except carry on and do your best.

How long have you been vegan? What was your motivation behind the change?

It’s been over seven years, and I’m still alive! I’ve definitely always tried to be a very thoughtful and kind person growing up, and I’d always describe myself as an animal-lover. Having been brought up with parents who always had dogs, chickens, and ducks as pets, you truly see how beautiful and surprisingly intelligent these animals are. Despite this, I’d still support and find myself at big fast-food chains, where I’d have to ask whether I was really being true to myself. I simply decided to stop after a visit to KFC one day, and became completely plant-based except for fish, though I always had the intention of becoming a vegan. This then came into place after an unfortunate trip to Italy where I had the worst possible food poisoning after some salmon! Following the incident, when I was finally able to stomach any kind of food, it was all one hundred percent vegan!

What do you enjoy most about being vegan?

Having always been a very fussy eater, veganism ensured that my palette was suddenly a lot wider. I’ve tried so many different dishes, and things I definitely would never have eaten back as a meat-eater. While I have definitely established what I do and don’t enjoy when it comes to food, veganism definitely gave me the freedom to explore what’s out there! 

As one of the seven and a half billion people on the planet, knowing that I’m making a difference definitely makes it worth it. Having a business in the centre of Cardiff also helps break down barriers and perceptions. While it’s not quite London, having vegan businesses around the country reminds people that these lifestyles are accessible, and I enjoy knowing that the business is capable of spreading positivity and reminding humanity of our values.

What’s your favourite dish on the menu at Got No Beef?

At the moment it’s definitely the Garlic Parmesan Chicken Burger and with the Loaded Fries. I often change my mind on the matter, perhaps if you ask again tomorrow I’d tell you that it was The MVP. 

Have you got any advice for readers attempting ‘Veganuary’ who’d like to carry on with this lifestyle?

One thing to always remember is that you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. If you happen to have that one Cadbury’s Creme Egg at Easter you shouldn’t beat yourself up too much. Regardless of whether it’s the food that I eat, or the products that I use, I always make sure that they are all always vegan. Despite this though, maybe 5 or 6 years ago I was accidentally fed pork at Christmas dinner and I survived! You should always be kind to yourself and to ensure that you educate yourself on what’s available. These days you’ll find that there are direct substitutes which can make the transition a lot easier. Always remember to take it easy and not to be so harsh, but also to be mindful and open to what is happening in the world with regards to environmental destruction. Becoming a vegan can be a total rollercoaster of a journey, but keeping these in mind will definitely make it worth it! 

Whether you’ve attempted Veganuary this month, or would perhaps like to start making plant-based changes in your diet, Got No Beef is definitely the place to go! I took Tom’s recommendation and had the Garlic Parmesan Chicken Burger and it was insanely good! As somebody who has very recently become vegetarian, I wouldn’t have believed it to have been any different from regular chicken! The texture and the flavour were on point, it was no doubt one of the most flavourful burgers I’ve had. The menu also had ‘beef’ burgers, chicken wings, hot dogs, and even fish substitutes! If you’re looking to fulfill that junk-food craving to celebrate your completion of Veganuary, this small but sweet restaurant is the place to go!

Finally I’d like to thank the management and staff at Got No Beef for taking time to partake in the interview, and for being so informative and pleasant. Make sure that you follow  @GotNoBeefUK on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and show them all the love that they deserve!

Featured image: @gotnobeefuk Instagram