Eating Vegan at Scotties Fish Cafe in Newcastle East - Interview

Scotties Newcastle has, in recent months, really stepped into the vegan limelight with a great range of vegan options, the addition of a vegan fryer to their kitchen, great vegan options at Thursday's Vegan Nights and a vegan manager to boot! 
We interviewed restaurant manager, Lauren, recently to discuss the impact that she's had on this fish & chip shop that has become an institution in Newcastle East, running for over 10 years. 

How long have you been vegan?
I've been vegan since 2015. I moved to Australia from England in January 2015 and started working with a really great chef who although wasn’t vegan herself she was very conscientious of looking after her vegan customer base. Before coming to Australia I had little knowledge of veganism, so it wasn’t until I did some serious goggle-ing that I made the decision. I went vegan over night, the main reason behind my decision was based on the rate of starvation in the world versus animals raised for food. I just find it baffling that there are people starving in the world yet we manage to waste so many resources and such a huge amount of money on exploiting animals. 

Have you noticed the vegan scene in Newcastle change in the time you've lived here?
The vegan scene in Newcastle is amazing! I recently went back to the UK and found it very difficult to find places to eat out or grab a decent plant mylk coffee. Veganism is so popular here and its great to see so many restaurants catering to our lifestyle. The Newcastle Vegan Guide is so handy for pointing me in the right direction of new places to try and its so great to see so many places going out of their way to create beautiful vegan dishes rather than just plating up boring salads. 

How long have you been at Scotties?
I’ve been working at Scotties since October 2015. I’m the restaurant manager and spend my time between the floor and the kitchen. When I first started at Scotties there was a serious shortage of vegan options available; since then we’ve proudly been able to add a whole range of tasty dishes including our new breakfast kiosk menu options - granola cup made with soy or almond milk topped with fresh berries, smashed avocado on sourdough, coconut chia pudding, banana smoothie topped with granola, matcha green smoothie topped with cacao nibs, goji berries and edible flowers. 
Our lunch & dinner restaurant options include our sushi rice aranccini served on a bed of seaweed and mushroom dipping sauce (yum!), warm roasted vegetable salad and mixed green salad served with a yummy lemon dressing. We also have options which are available in the restaurant as well as from out takeaway window. These include the potato and beetroot scallops, hand cut chips and mushroom burger (as for it with cashew cheese). We love to accommodate to any other dietary requirements as well. I feel I’ve been able to make a huge vegan footprint on our kitchen as we now use separate fryers and batters for our vegan food and separate vegan burgers and rolls on our grill to prevent cross contamination. 
We also stock some great vegan wines including our Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz, ask us about them when you're next in!

Eastern nights has been running for some time now, and has introduced so many amazing different cuisines into the Newcastle food scene. What do you love about Eastern Nights, and what will other vegans love?
We have been running Eastern Nights for around 16 months now, on Thursday evenings from 5pm. We take inspiration for our curries and sides from a different country each week. I have recently taken the reigns cooking and creating our Eastern Night menu. The food is always bright, colourful and most importantly vegan! Eastern Nights food is fun and creative and a great opportunity to try different styles of cuisine. At $16 for a generous serve of food we think it's also a pretty good deal. We post the menu to our Instagram @scottiesne every Wednesday and a photo of the finished product Thursday at lunch time. The vibe is always great and its a really great place to have a laid back meal with friends. 

What do you love about Newcastle East?
I recently moved to Newcastle East because its close to work, but most importantly it's an awesome place to be. There is a great community vibe here and so many awesome places to grab a vegan bite. Its close to the beach and its super chilled. I love the East End and all the characters around the area. 

Where's your top recommendation for great vegan food that isn't Scotties?
I am a huge foodie so to choose my favourite is super difficult. I love Saluna, their breakfast menu is awesome and almost everything can be made vegan. Kinn Thai at Kotara rooftop does some amazing vegan dishes. Napoli on King Street probably do the best vegan pizza, ever. The list could go on and on.   

Head to Scotties for great vegan options at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Don't forget to follow them on Instagram to make sure you're up to date with the Eastern Nights specials! Follow Lauren on Instagram too for a great vegan feed which gives you a great roundup of Scotties' vegan options!