It is housed in a pub named after one of the animal kingdom’s most feared carnivores – but diners at Doncaster’s newest restaurant won’t be tucking into hunks of meat.
The Leopard on West Street is the unlikely setting for Doncaster’s first totally vegan restaurant – so anyone looking to tuck into chicken, burgers or steak had better start to look elsewhere.
Behind the adventurous project is mum-of-three Tracy Morgan who is hoping her in-house diner, dubbed The Green Cat, will encourage a whole new generation of ethical eaters – and those simply intrigued by what a vegan restaurant has to offer.
She said: “I’ve been a vegan for a good few years now and there is nowhere in Doncaster that caters for people like me, so I thought why not go out and do it myself?”
And so Tracy, aged 47, who already lives above the popular live music venue, ditched her job as a ska and punk music promoter and threw herself into taking over the kitchens and creating a menu totally free from meat, fish and dairy products.
She added: “It started off with me making a vegan chilli and it sold out within an hour-and-a-half. That’s when I thought it was something that would work.”
Now the menu offers up vegan pasties, toasted sandwiches, jacket potatoes and burger meals – but of course, all the burgers are totally meat free.
Tracy said: “I made the decision to become a vegan overnight. I started looking into how food was prepared and I was upset by how much cruelty seemed to go into something dying just so I could enjoy eating it. I don’t miss meat at all – and now I can’t even bear to look at it.”
And it seems the menu is proving a hit with customers – well, the majority of them!
“We’ve got people coming from all over and a lot are surprised how much some of the dishes taste just like normal meat meals,” she said.
“But we have had a few who can’t believe we don’t serve meat and have walked out again! But they are very few and far between.
“Most people want us to start opening later, and I’ve got plenty of ideas for dishes in the future. Hopefully this is just the start.”
The Green Cat is open daily between noon and 4pm.
A vegan lifestyle in a nutshell
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in the diet, but extends to rejecting clothing created from animals, such as wool or leather.
Dietary vegans refrain from consuming not only meat but also eggs, dairy products and other animal-derived substances.
The term vegan was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson, co-founder of the British Vegan Society, to mean ‘non-dairy vegetarian’
In 1951 the society extended the definition of veganism to mean ‘the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals’.
Famous vegans include singer Bryan Adams, actress Pamela Anderson, comic Russell Brand and singer Morrissey.