IT is Meat Free Week in the UK this week and has given many people the opportunity to try eating as a vegetarian for the first time.
Many Cardiff restaurants try to cater for vegetarians and ensure they are not restricted to the small meat-free options found in a lot of establishments.
One of the places catering for vegetarians and serving good-quality food is Falafel Kitchen, based on Crwys Road in Cathays.
Owner Ronen Achrak started the business last July and originally served only meat-free food but started to serve more options after they realised many of their customers weren’t vegetarians – but since then the business has gained a reputation for serving high-quality food for all.
Mr Achrak said: “Now about fifty per cent of the menu is vegetarian. We wanted to provide vegetarian food but we want to cater to everybody.”
“People who are vegetarian or vegan come in because they know what I do here. We provide a lot of vegetarian food,” he explained.
But he believes it is more than just the food that draws people in. In an area with many takeaway restaurants Mr Achrak thinks he offers something different.
He said: “It is not just the food we sell but the atmosphere we create. We try to be friendly with people and treat them right.
“The idea is to be different. If you do the same as everyone else then there is no point. We get involved with people here.”
And while meat-free food is no longer exclusively on the menu at Falafel Kitchen, Mr Achrak, who used to run Falafel Cafe on Woodville Road, believes the way vegetarian customers are treated is part of why they come back.
He said: “If someone comes in, particularly if they are a new customer, we will always ask if they are vegetarian. That way we know to recommend things on the menu for them and show them what we provide.
“If we treat people right and not just like pound signs then they will like what we have.”
Mr Achrak thinks it is important people who come into the restaurant can expect to be provided with what they need whether they eat meat or not.
He said: “Vegetarians are a great community for us we have to cater for them and give them more choices. We get people from the vegetarian community regularly so we make sure we can keep them happy.”
Those who give up meat can always find vegetarian and vegan options at Falafel Kitchenm whether it is Meat Free Week or not.