The Jumping Bean Cafe in Durham

I went up to Durham on Saturday for lunch with a friend. I really haven’t visited the city enough since I graduated in 2009 and do love to have a wander round to see what has changed. The day started beautifully with clear skies and sunshine and a wander around the cathedral. Both the cathedral and the castle on the other side of Palace Green looked lovely in the sunshine.



For lunch, we went to find the jumping bean cafe. I had seen their stall at the North East Vegan Festival, where the nice young northern man had plied my mother with lemon cake that she declared the ‘best cake of the festival’. It was slightly off my normal beaten track in Durham but was easy to find especially with a blackboard sign directing you towards their soup and sandwich offers and vegan and gluten free options.

The Jumping Bean cafe, 5 Neville Street, Durham, DH1 4EY

Official Website:

The cafe has been open about a year and was quite busy when we dropped in. It was a bit bigger than I expected but still only around 7 tables inside and 3-4 outside (although a bit cold for that at the moment!) The drinks menu is up on a blackboard and the paper menu included a few lunch and some breakfast items- all vegetarian and most vegan, including options of vegan cheese. I was tempted by the Spanish stew but instead chose to try the pine nut and spinach falafel and tomato chutney sandwich on brown bread, with the soup of the day which was carrot and parsnip. I also had a soya cappuccino.


The bread was lovely and fresh and soft and the soup was clearly home-made. I could detect plenty of ginger and pepper (maybe even some cayenne) in the soup and the tomato chutney in my sandwich was quite spicy too. It was all very tasty but maybe a bit strongly seasoned/spicy for some people (I’m thinking of my mother here, and would have to order wisely if i brought her)

My cappuccino was lovely and hot (which my mother would be very happy about!) and Cathy went for a pot of tea which you can see in the picture was nice and big!

The guy I’d met at the festival was icing the lemon cake just as we were about to leave so I got a slice to take away- with still-sticky icing expertly packaged so the icing stayed on the cake !!!

cakeThis was really excellent lemon cake!!! It’s lucky I no longer live in Durham or I would definitely have too much lemon cake!

I really hope this vegan venture continues its success and I look forward to visiting again next time I’m in Durham!


Beautiful York and Goji Vegetarian cafe

Official website:

Address: 36 Goodramgate, York, YO1 7LF


On a wet November day, we decided to have a day out in York as I was visiting the parents up north. I LOVE York and recommend everybody takes a weekend away there. There’s an awesome railway museum, loads of really nice shops, great architecture, old buildings (try the shambles) and a new Chocolate museum that I haven’t visited yet. The best part, however, is walking around the city walls and taking in all the history, or just enjoying the views.

The second best part is eating in one of the many lovely cafes. I always enjoy El Piano, which is completely gluten free and vegan, and tasty- the sticky toffee pudding is amazing! This time, however, we decided to visit Goji for lunch. This is a small vegetarian café that opened up a few years ago and I’ve been to for nice teas, coffees and vegan cakes before but this was my first lunch experience. I wasn’t disappointed. An extensive menu has a good variety of vegan options and there’s plenty on the specials board too.

I was in an indulgent mood so went for the vegan hot dog! It came in a crunchy baguette with fried onions, ketchup and mustard relish, with a side salad. Very satisfying! R had a non-vegan homemade mushroom and onion quiche, which he enjoyed. My mother had a lovely roasted half butternut squash with quinoa, tomato and hazelnuts and a goats cheese sauce- this could be done vegan without the goats cheese. Mum was very impressed with the flavours in this dish, and the ample portion size! My father went for the seasonal nut roast with roasted vegetables, potatoes and I think a mushroom sauce. That was very tasty too! 4 completely different mains, all done very well!

Of course, I couldn’t resist cake so we shared a lovely moist carrot cake and a not-quite-as-moist but still quite nice coffee and walnut cake. Both vegan again. Tea came loose leaf style in pots with a strainer and R went for the make it yourself hot chocolate with a chocolate bar from Germany, hot milk to stir it into (soya option, always), cream and a cookie. Very indulgent!

Please go and find Goji in York and have a lovely meal!