Alan Jones gets all organic in Entrading café with a menu which is ethical, imaginative and delicious
Situated in the heart of the busy business district of Glasgow is a café and shop that some might find a bit of a surprise. Entrading is a combined high street eco-store and café. Like high street shops, drinking and eating in our city centres have become overly homogenised by chain coffee houses, pubs and restaurants. It is therefore very refreshing to walk into a city café and store which is pretty unique in concept. The principle is to reduce the environmental impact, in the products it sells and how it sells it. Even the yearly carbon footprint of the business has been calculated.
No corporate tasting coffee or fake bonhomie here. Entrading – the ‘En’ is for environment – offers vegetarian and vegan food without an Afghan coat in sight. Often such cafés can be run in the spirit of a 1970s hippy commune, where an element of suffering is a part of the vegetarian experience. Worthiness takes pride of place on the menu and cardboard tasting food is passed off as cuisine. Not so in En-trading. Interested and engaging staff chat over the counter as the food is freshly prepared and then brought to the table (lamentably, table service in cafés is becoming an endangered part of café experience).
The decoration is spotlessly clean and stylish, with coloured blinds and lampshades adding a bit of vibrancy. Glass top tables and designer chairs sit within stark white walls with a projector beaming ever-changing images of landscapes, rainbows and seascapes – reminding you that while you are tucking in, you are also doing your bit to help save the Earth.
There is a pile of magazines to encourage you to linger and enjoy the fare. You can flick your way through a National Geographic as you tuck into one of the soups on offer. The spicy peanut soup was satisfyingly thick and included a good mix of vegetables: corn, celery and peppers all combined to make an enticing broth. It comes served with fabulous bread, from Trusty Crust organic bakery brought all the way over from East Lothian. Inhouse baking, chunky sandwiches, baps and paninis are on offer while there is a platter for the bigger appetite. You can choose four items from the menu and combine them with a bap: warmed piquant falafel, cold pasta salad with sun dried tomatoes, green salad and crunchy coleslaw.
An all day breakfast is also on the menu with tempeh rashers made from soya beans. Nothing quite beats Tempeh, which has a firm texture, sometimes a little chewy but pleasant in flavour that is quite mild, ‘nutty’ and slightly tangy.
Entrading is a one-stop easy choice for consumers looking to leave a very light carbon footprint. There are not many places where you can pick up a hemp T-shirt, unbleached baking cups, recycled aluminum foil and have a great lunch at the same time. Being climate conscious never tasted so good.
88 West Regent Street, Glasgow
0141 332 2424, www.entrading.co.uk
A cafe with a clean conscience, and an appetising menu.
Takeaway and off-license available.
Eco-shop sells kitchen and household goods.
Open Mon–Sat 10am–6pm.
Take Three: Green your eats - Ethically minded cafés
24-27 Brandon Terrace, Edinburgh, www.coffee-angel.co.uk
A new arrival to Canonmills that’s locally owned but comes with the branding and feel of a big slick chain. The coffee served is triple certified: organic, Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance, while most of the Suki range of loose leaf teas are also organic. Tea and coffee delivery service also available.
57 Bank Street, Glasgow, www.bolshieclothing.com
A Kelvinbridge shop selling organic, fairly traded and sustainable clothes, with a funky wee coffee bar serving coffee from Tapa (specially blended in Dennistoun) as well as loaves from the Trusty Crust artisan bakery in East Lothian – both of which are organic businesses.
19 St Leonard’s Lane, Edinburgh, www.engineshed.org.uk
Excellent organic lunches and snacks prepared on-site in the unfussy upper-floor cafe of a former railway shed that now operates as a training centre for adults with learning disabilities, with workshops nearby producing both bread and tofu for the cafe and wider distribution.