Anna Loka – Vegan & Vegetarian Cafe
114 Albany Rd, Cardiff, CF24 3RU
029 2049 7703
My niece and her boyfriend were visiting to meet William for the first time – which has been a lovely experience. Since they are both vegans, we got to experience something a little outside of our usual choice in dining, by eating at Anna Loka, a family friendly vegan restaurant in Cathays, Cardiff.
I was actually a vegetarian for 12 years when I was younger and if there had been restaurants like this around at the time, I would have been very very happy! I’m so pleased not only that dietary preferences are being catered for, but that a healthy lifestyle and lower ecological impact is being seen gradually as a more mainstream option.
The restaurant itself is very small (although it has a fair sized garden for fair-weather eating) and I’m told it can get busy in the evenings – but we called ahead and since we were eating early, it was almost empty. The ambience is very soothing, from the art on the walls to the tiny shrine tucked away, the wooden tables and the relaxing music. Everything felt authentic, real and raw and it was quite a different atmosphere to the restaurants we usually eat at.
We had William with us. At 4 months old he is not quite ready for a high chair and we haven’t started weaning. There is a kids menu and there were highchairs available, but we opted to tuck ourselves away in a corner with the stroller at the table. We fed him whilst we were waiting for our food and he even had a fingertip of smoothie which he seemed to enjoy greatly! There is one bathroom in the rear, which has a baby changing unit in it suitable for mum or dad, whoever is on nappy duty.
We shared some Padron Peppers, Bread and Olives for starters, as well as a couple of smoothies. Table water with fresh lemon was immediately brought to the table without asking. I ordered the Ultimate Burger, whilst the rest of our party had two Mendoan Burgers and a Chilli Dog.
My burger – made of beetroot and lentils, came with two giant onion rings, tomato, gherkins and jalapenos. It was full of flavour, in a soft seeded roll that was obviously very fresh. It had a bit of a spicy kick to it, which a generous amount of tomato and lettuce inside helped even out. The garlic mayo was divine – very strong flavour so you only needed a tiny bit to really taste it. I opted for sweet potato fries, which were piping hot, fresh and crispy. I’m not going to lie, I was really surprised at just how full the flavour in everything was, from the starters to the main, to the drinks to the dessert. I was full after the burger but each couple shared a slice of cake to takeaway. They do takeout, deliveroo and uber eats as well and seemed to be doing a roaring trade with quite a few people in and out. I can see why!
I was really impressed with the whole experience and I’m glad that our visitors encouraged us to go somewhere we would never have thought to go. Although we aren’t vegans, we felt very welcome there and would happily go back. At £70 for 4 including 2 starters, 2 smoothies, 4 mains, 2 desserts and a tip I felt it was really excellent value for a table-service restaurant although perhaps on the pricey side if getting a takeout. That being said, you pay for quality and this is definitely what you get.
On the way home Ben and I discussed our eating habits and although we’re not ready to commit to a meat-free lifestyle, we are willing to admit that we eat more meat than we need to and we can certainly cut down and explore several “meat-free” days at home. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a vegetarian again, but I fully understand and support those who chose vegetarianism or veganism and hope I can find more of a balance in my lifestyle.
Anna Loka is a great family friendly vegan restaurant to visit even if you’re not a dedicated vegan and a great way to put yourself outside your comfort zone and explore the other options available.
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