A freelance writer based in Leeds, Rosie's main interests comprise the arts, 'green' days out and outdoor adventure. She extols the value of an environmentally-aware approach to tourism at lightcamel.blogspot.co.uk/
Published September 28th 2012
En root to a veggie paradise
In line with the warm, rustic atmosphere of most vegetarian restaurants, Roots and Fruits has the feel of an old auction house and offers a lunch menu as eclectic as its decor.
The owners' faith in the 'Waste Not Want Not' maxim is evident: lampshades brimming with plastic fruit adorn the walls, while the hotchpotch of crockery stacked beyond the till is more car-boot than carpe diem. As for the acoustics, a muffled combination of 40s swing, jazz and a scratchy soul voice redolent of Nina Simone sets the pace. On a rain-lashed afternoon, this is the perfect spot to enjoy a wholesome lunch and a trip down memory lane.
The menu is varied, comprises a host of tempting vegetarian accoutrements and is – aptly – devoid of meat or fish. Somewhat perplexing at first site are the small encircled 'V's' that appear next to certain dishes, and it's easy to fall into the trap of scanning the unlabelled meals for signs of flesh. These V's merely denote the possibility of a vegan adaptation, however; a feat usually as simple as removing the sour cream from the ensemble.
Many of the meals on offer boast Maghrebian or Indian roots (I hear the samosas are to die for), yet this doesn't account for the New York Potatoes, Welsh Rarebit or Spinach Moussaka. In spite of this apparent incongruity, a stoic commitment to spice and colour provide the common denominator and this mentality extends to the smoothies too. Traditionalists might opt for the strawberry and mango combination; those customers more au fait with the yields of the rainforest may choose to add acai and goji berries to their selection.
Prices begin at £3.95 for a light snack; a lasagne or moussaka will set you back £7.25. Portions are generous, however, and students are invited to present their NUS cards before ordering to receive a 10% discount. A nod to eco-dining and an invitation to indulge, this cafe is well worth a visit.