When I’m looking for vegan eateries in a city, Happy Cow is always my first port of call. However, Dr HH frequently berates me for focussing on the 100% vegan options on there, rather than looking at all the options. He rightly points out that ignoring places that serve both meat and vegan meals would have meant us missing out on some of the great food we’ve had before. I argue that I’d always prefer to give my money to a meat-free eatery, but as we’re going to be in Prague for a while we’ve been checking out the merely veg-friendly options too.
One of those is Belzepub, which isn’t far at all from where we live. We were a little hesitant to visit, because it allows smoking indoors (this is very strange and off-putting after getting so used to the smoking ban in the UK). We decided we could only risk it early in the evening (it opens at 5pm and is a pub rather than a restaurant) so as to beat the smoky crowds. This was a good move, as there was only one couple smoking in there, but still, it had that stale smoke smell which doesn’t really do much for the appetite.
So it’s just as well the food was delicious and the service was exceptional! The barman spoke perfect English, and there was an English menu to boot. The burgers come in meaty, vegetarian or vegan varieties, meaning there are three choices for vegans: the classic veggie burger, chilli or Moroccan. I went for Moroccan, because it had hummus. It was a huge burger – to my shame, I had to tackle it with a knife and fork. And it was full because of the actual burger patty, not because of rubbish filler, which isn’t always the case. The bread bun was toasted (bonus points), and the patty was really good – crispy around the outside, and tasty and soft in the centre! I wish it had been a bit more Moroccan spiced; the hummus was great, and there were some lovely chunky chickpeas in there too, but a bit more flavour would have really pushed it to the top level. Next time I’m planning on trying the chilli burger, which definitely wasn’t lacking in seasoning – Dr HH had the vegetarian variety and isn’t sure I’ll be able to take the spiciness!
The burgers are served without accompaniments, and we ordered onion rings rather than fries as a side. One serving was enough for us to share along with the substantial burgers, but the onion rings seemed like they were out of a packet rather than home made, though we could be wrong. They were nice, but not quite spectacular – they lacked that lovely light batter than makes the perfect onion ring.
Prague has a plethora of raw restaurants and numerous Asian fast food places, thanks to the Loving Hut chain, but this is the first place I’ve encountered with proper pub grub. While the smokiness will prevent me from becoming a regular, it’s definitely one that I’ll be back to.
If only there were more pubs (in the UK as well as Prague) that had vegan option burgers as standard, I’d be a happy bunny!
It was definitely a good find, and seems really popular. Hopefully the idea will catch on.
I much agree that Happy Cow’s listings are annoying. I wish they had more vegan friendly places listed because it makes figuring out where to eat in groups easier. I know that they try to only list very “organic” or “health based” restaurants that are veg-friendly, which means you can miss a lot of great places.
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