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Hidden basement bar in Liverpool named 'best vegan restaurant' in Britain

Posted on in Business News

A family-run Liverpool restaurant hidden inside a basement is officially Britain's best vegan venue.

Down The Hatch at British Restaurant Awards

Picture from @downthehatchliv

Down The Hatch is known for its seasonal plant-based menu, with crispy mushroom and cauliflower "wings", home-made soy and seitan burgers, tofu curry, loaded fries and other popular "junk food" - all with a unique vegan twist.

The restaurant, which began its underground movement inside the former legendary nightclub Le Bateau in 2017, was nominated for 'best vegan eatery' in the British Restaurant Awards 2023, and took home the grand prize.

General manager Rikki Baker, who runs Down The Hatch with her brother Jay and brother-in-law Conrad Sharp, told the Liverpool Echo: "This was an award that I really, genuinely thought wasn't for us. We were up against some amazing contenders from up and down the country, one being a restaurant in London that had blown me away, so I thought we were going up against giants.

"It was a fantastic opportunity to let the world see what we have achieved. This is the first real award that we have won. Years and years of hard work has gone into it.

"It really has been hard. Everyone is going through tough times, we're not the only ones. We see big business not as busy as they used to be, so when it comes to small guys like us it's even harder because we've never been as big anyway. So to get that recognition and be seen is just a massive win." Down The Hatch is also in the running for a further two awards this year, being shortlisted for 'best restaurant' at the England Business Awards and the 'Good Food Award' from Blue Ribbon.

Rikki said the demand for vegan cuisine has risen in recent years, with more vegan eateries opening despite the challenges faced by small businesses amid the cost-of-living crisis.

"A big thing that is important is the continuous support for independent businesses, and support comes in many different ways. It comes in physically coming into the restaurant, but also in online support. If you ever do see a new restaurant pop up on Instagram, give it a like, give it a share - those things cost nothing, and they really do help. One thing I love about Liverpool is the support we have for the little guys, and helping wherever we can."

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