• Optimum Joy vegan café in Shrewsbury

    A litany of disappointing hotel breakfasts had seen me mashing up grilled tomatoes into baked beans and dousing liberally with ground white pepper. So you can imagine my excitement when, still high from meeting my life-long hero at a Global Dance Night the previous evening, I stumbled upon ‘Optimum Joy’. The blackboard outside lured me in with the promise of scrambled tofu. What a find. Everything in the café is vegan unless you specifically request cow’s milk or butter which was a refreshing change. The art is for sale, the music is interesting and there’s allusions to massage and yoga happening somewhere.

    I devoured an enormous slice of chocolate fudge cake with my frothy soya latte before I realised it was lunchtime. I had to order various dips and a sandwich to take-away so as not to miss any of the tightly-scheduled real ale pub crawl prior to the big Shrewsbury Town vs Portsmouth League Two clash at 3. I was probably the only person sipping a kale and ginger juice and tucking into a wonderful roast red pepper dip at the New Meadow that sunny afternoon. Salops finally won after going behind to an extremely dubious penalty decision in the 3rd minute that even the vocal Portsmouth fans didn’t shout for.

    The evening choice of eating establishment was limited, if you don’t count the various vegan-friendly Indian restaurants of which Shrewsbury boasts a few. The Third Place the previous evening had provided tasty, freshly cooked vegetable dishes and my tentative request for a ‘vegan curry’ was met by a delighted waiter’s very reassuring, ‘yes – no ghee!’ So post game, and a few more ales, we turned, somewhat inevitably, to the new ‘no cheese’ pizza at Pizza Express. I think the aforementioned pub crawl assuaged the 2 hour wait for our pizzas. We didn’t even notice.

    www.optimumjoy.com / 81 Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury SY1 1UT


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