VEGANUARY may now only be a spectre at the feast for meat-eaters as March gets in to full swing, but for some being vegan is a way of life all year round - not just for the month after Christmas.

And that is where True Story comes in. If you are looking for a family-friendly, dog-friendly vegan cafe just outside York's historic Bar Walls, then look no further.

This compact and cosy nook offers a range of sweet and savoury vegan food 10am-5pm Tuesday-Thursday and on a Saturday, but don't turn up on Monday, Friday or Sunday as they're shut.

Giving directions to anyone from York shouldn't be hard - it's the building with the Bile Beans sign on the end of it, and, sitting as it does on Lord Mayor's Walk, it has superb views out towards the Minster.

Inside the management have taken their cues from the sign that dominates the building's gable end and opted for egg yoke yellow walls with black detailing - think a shabby chic Central Perk from the TV show Friends. There is a higgledy piggledy assortment of tables and chairs adding to the Bohemian atmosphere. To the rear there's a well laid out courtyard which looked perfect for summer dining.

When we dropped by for brunch on a Saturday morning in March we were the first to arrive so had the place to ourselves, but found out that several tables had already been reserved and we weren't there long before the place started to fill up.

Glancing down the brunch menu there's pretty much everything that's good for you - out with the bacon butties and sausage sandwiches and in with such wholesome goodies as smoothie bowls of peanut butter or greens topped with homemade granola, coconut, seeds or banana.

I went for 'Andy' which was 'cheddar cheese', grilled tomato, garlic herb mushrooms and rocket on two slices of granary bread (£8.50) washed down with a glass of freshly squeezed apple juice (£2.50).

Jordan ordered the breakfast pancake stack which featured substantial banana pancakes, berries, fresh banana, coconut chips, maple syrup and a yoghurt topping (£8.50).

He said it was brilliant and set him up for the day and whilst giving him the smug saintly feeling from having eating in a vegan café, he said he didn't feel he had to sacrifice anything when it came to flavour.

The pancakes used banana batter and came topped with an assortment of black currants, raspberries and blackberries.

He accompanied his pancakes with the breakfast staples of orange juice (£2.50) and a cup of coffee (£2.80).

My vegan cheese on toast was tasty at first - the mushrooms were beautifully cooked and the juicy tomatoes cut through the strong cheese, but as I ate my way across the plate, the strength of the thick gooey cheese began to take its toll.

For me it packed far more flavour than any strong cheese I've ever had before and was just too much. Jordan had a bite and thought it tasted like Wotsists crisps.

Throughout our visit service was friendly but with a fairly relaxed pace, we were not in a hurry so took the time to enjoy our drinks and the beautiful Minster view from the window, but if you’re in a rush it's probably is not your best option.

Brunch is served until 12pm when a lunch menu takes over and includes the likes of soy burgers, chickpea omlettes and a range or toasted and open sandwiches. There's also an assortment of cakes and scones to choose from - all egg-free of course.

On their website the venue boasts a late night supper club and hosts live music acts.

While I have to admit the vegan option would not be my natural first choice over a full English, I was pleasantly surprised by True Story and it's good to see York offering somewhere cool and relaxed to go if you aren't in the mood for meat or have opted to go without dairy altogether.

As on supermarket shelves, vegan alternatives comes at a bit of a premium as does a location like this. We didn't feel hard done to, but had to dig a little bit deeper than we usually do for breakfast.

The total bill came to £24.80.


True Story, 18, Lord Mayor's Walk, York YO31 7HA

T: 01904 656566


Ratings (out of ten): Food 7, Service 8, Ambience 8, Value 7