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Bonobo Café, Aberdeen

I read somewhere once that trends finally reach Aberdeen about 10 years after they first hit the rest of the UK. I don't know if this is due to its northern location, or that its main (or even, only) industry is the drab and corporate oil sector, or because independent businesses never last very long, but I agree that Aberdeen is potentially one of the least trendy cities in the UK and seems to stand still in time. 

One example? A couple of months ago Aberdeen finally got its own 100% vegan café, Bonobo Café. It was previously a pop-up in the wellness centre behind Marks and Spencer's and after saving up all their earnings, they finally bought their own place on Skene Street, round the corner from Union Terrace. 

I was up visiting my parents last week and obviously I had to stop in by and show some support. The girl at the counter was super friendly and didn't mind going through the menu (my mum isn't vegan and some of the food options aren't second nature to her, but the girl was lovely and patient). 

We were there in the afternoon so got to choose from a range of wraps, soups and salads. I went for the BBQ tofu wrap and my mum chose the satay tofu wrap. I also noticed a chickpea 'tuna' sandwich on the menu that I oh-so-almost went for, but it will have to wait for another time. 

The hot drinks menu was probably the part that I found most impressive. I chose a Chai Latte and my mum a hazelnut latte, but I did almost choose the exotic sounding turmeric latte. You can also choose your own dairy-free milk from soya, oat and almond. 

The serving and counter area is downstairs with the eating bit upstairs (if you are disabled or have a pushchair this isn't ideal). It was a nice day so me and mum decided to sit outside in their garden patio. You can't see it from the street, and your view is the tall granite buildings that sit next door, but it is a lovely touch that makes you feel like you're somewhere more tropical. 

Overall? Great service, tasty (albeit snacky) food, top-notch drinks menu, and a peaceful garden patio. Bonobo Café should be getting top marks....but it isn't different to any other vegan café I've been to. I fully accept that this could just be because I'm spoilt by the vegan options available to me living in the Central Belt, and I really need to try and review this through the eyes of an Aberdonian who is jumping for joy at having somewhere they can pop for lunch without worrying about what is in their food. 

If I still lived in Aberdeen I would regularly be popping in to support it and give it the money it needs to thrive. But if another vegan café (or even vegan restaurant) opened up I've got a fear Bonobo could get left behind and within time they'll need to expend their menu to remain competitive. Independent businesses have a habit of not lasting in Aberdeen (I still weep when I walk past the place where One Up Records once resided) and I really don't want its first vegan café to go south too. 

Have you been to Bonobo Café yet? What were your thoughts? 

Morag x

P.S. While enjoying my lunch, there was a woman with a London/South-East English accent talking about how Aberdeen was a different "kettle of fish" and how she was "used to Edinburgh and Glasgow" and that she might go to Manchester early for something to do. She also said she wasn't vegan but enjoyed having somewhere cute to eat for lunch that wasn't a chain. There's a second review on Bonobo and Aberdeen for you. 
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