Happy New Year everybody – and here we go with the first Coventry Food News of 2020. There’s a lot to get through, so make sure you buckle up!

In the wonderful world of food, January these days is confusing array of different promotions, including Veganuary (for celebrating veganism), Dryanuary (for giving up alcohol) and Tryanuary (for trying new beers if Dryanuary is a turn-off). Local businesses are supporting these initiatives in a variety of ways, so let’s go through each in turn, starting with

  • Veganuary: Fargo vegan store Green Unicorn stocks everything you need for the vegan way of life, and throughout January its Facebook page is posting daily tips and ideas to help you through the month, especially if you’re moving to veganism for the first time. Each day of the week has a different theme with Thursdays focusing on vegan eating in Coventry. Green Unicorn’s Fargo stablemate, Dirty Kitch Vegan Diner meanwhile, is challenging you to introduce a vegan eating to a friend. As a bit of encouragement, each purchase of a main dish during January means you can get another main dish half price! (Wednesdays – Fridays only. Quote “veganuary” when ordering.) And there’s more good news! By popular demand, Dirty Kitch are bringing back their legendary brunch for a trial period from Sunday (12th). Lastly on this – need to indulge your vegan sweet tooth? Vegan baking heroes Little Vegan Bakery are holding online cup cake and loaf cake sales throughout January. See their Facebook page for details of how it works.
  • Tryanuary: Castle Yard Tap Room is knocking 30% off a different beer every week in January, starting this week with Ghost Town Lager by Coventry’s own Dhillon’s Brewery. And tomorrow (10th) is also New Beer Friday at Twisted Barrel Brewery and Tap House, debuting TB’s Cherry Pies Ought To Be You, a7% Imperial Sweet Cherry Porter, plus Dankobah, a juicy 8% Double IPA with heaps of tropical flavour, made by Cov Kids Mashionistas Brewing Company in collaboration with Coventry Artspace (and while we’re on the subject of Twisted Barrel – note that they have permanently changed their opening hours from 6th January. See Facebook page for details.)
  • Dryanuary: Lebanese restaurant Aqua Food and Mood is going dry for January! To be honest, I don’t know whether that means they are not serving alcohol at all, or whether they’ve simply increased their range of alcohol-free bevvies, but along with alcohol and gluten-free beers, they are also stocking alcohol-free spirit XACHOH BLEND No 5, described as ‘the enlightened spirit of Persia – intense star anise, complimented by warming ginger & long pepper balanced with sweet camomile for a refined & fragrant experience (botanicals included turmeric, barberry & rosemary)’. Twisted Barrel also stocks a good selection of alcohol-free beers.

OK – on to other things. A night at Coventry’s ground-breaking Earlsdon Supper Club has got to be one of the city’s foremost foodie treats. The good news is that ESC has published its January programme, and it’s looking lush. Highlights include your first chance to sample ESC’s new Venetian-inspired winter menu on January 18th, and a collaboration with Earlsdon’s organic retail pioneers Down To Earth Organic on January 31st. See ESC’s website for full winter menu and reservations.

Staying in Earlsdon, the Millsy’s/Oak/Street triumvirate now has a monthly online newsletter full of all the latest offers, events and menu picks. You can view the January edition here. Street is also offering 25% off all meals from the vegan menu during January (eat in only).

After the success of its Christmas Market, Drapers Bar and Kitchen has announced it will be hosting a monthly market for new and established local suppliers of arts, crafts and homemade/handmade produce. The first market of 2020 will be held on Saturday 1st February, 12md-5pm. Each stall holder will need to make a minimum £10 donation to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Another Veganuary-friendly restaurant, the Middle-Eastern inspired Arabian Bites, has added soup to the menu. From now on, there will be a weekly ‘special’ soup. Add a delicious pitta bread from Proof Bakery and hey presto! – the perfect light lunch!

And finally…talking of soup – it’s a new month, it’s January and that can only mean…yes…HAGGIS SOUP is back on the menu at E11evanses Brunch Bar! Quite possibly my Number One ‘special’ of all time.

PS: Don’t forget the Market Way street food stalls have now moved to a slightly more intimate-feeling new location in Hertford Street. All your favourites are still there. We wish them well.