Grub Guide: Sova Vegan Butcher

Jennifer Keegan

One wouldn’t often hear the words “butcher” and “vegan” in the same sentence, but just off Camden Street, on Pleasants Street, in a plain-faced building, is Sova Vegan Butcher.

As a non-vegan, I was extremely curious as to what I would find in a restaurant that sounds so different and peculiar.

I went with a friend who is vegan and was very excited about “not having to read into every single ingredient…I can just eat everything, this never happens.”

The décor on the outside is understated. Tables are no-nonsense and only a simple flower sits on them. The walls are white and unadorned. It wasn’t what you would call cosy but something about the rough and readiness of the room and the warm lighting made the place feel welcoming.

The menu is rather extensive for a vegan-only restaurant, but maybe I’m naïve. This is where the “butcher” element comes into it. The menu is really filled with meat dishes, but with the vegan versions. We have “steaks” and “schnitzel” that are all made of ingredients I am not familiar with.

It isn’t cheap but it isn’t extortionate either. It’s definitely more of a “special occasion” kind of dining experience. There is an option of a three course menu for just under €30 as well as an option to bring your own booze. Brunch is also available all week.

The service was good, with two very attentive waiters who filled up our water jugs constantly and knew exactly when to take the dishes away once we were finished.

I went for the “Pickled Courgette Cannelloni”, the “Soya Chicken Goujons” and for dessert, the cheesecake. It was hard to choose because I simply wanted to try everything.

The food took a while to arrive but once the starter came, the rest followed in well-paced succession.

For thirty quid, I was beyond stuffed. The dishes are deceptively large and so beautifully put together, that you almost feel guilty for diving in. It’s hard to fault each dish, but the cheesecake stands out as the winner. I’ve been craving it ever since.

My vegan friend had the soup of the day (a classic potato and leek), the Soya Chicken like myself and the avocado and chocolate mousse (I wasn’t daring enough for that combination, although it looked impressive).

We spent near three hours there, and in that time there was a constant stream of customers arriving and leaving. This was fine, but as we sat near the door, each time someone passed through it, I got a gust of icy wind across my shoulders.

Booking in advance is essential, considering it was quite busy and we went on a weekday. Sova has a very handy online booking system which is great for those like me who shy away from phone calls as much as possible.

Overall, Sova Vegan Butcher was very enjoyable. I tried lots of new foods that I had never even heard of before and I don’t regret it. However, a small disclaimer, I am not a fussy eater so I didn’t mind the mystery.

Others, who may not be so adventurous might find the menu very intimidating. The prices can also be daunting, but if you’re just heading in for brunch, it’s a viable option for all your vegan and non-vegan friends.

Jennifer Keegan

Image Credit: Andy Hay