I am not a vegan.

I wouldn’t really call myself a vegetarian even though, if you turn your head sideways, and squint, I kinda, sorta am. Ish.

But veganism is all the thing these days, no? and I’m not unaware of its health benefits and the ethics of meat and dairy production, and I was on the hook for one of these reviews, and it had to be somewhere I could go to at lunchtime, and be quick about it, because I had stories to file.

So Indy’s Vegan Kitchen it is.

It’s well-named, because when you find it, it’s literally a kitchen with just one person in it, and you order, pay and are served through the hatch. It reminds me a little bit of those refreshment huts you used to get at football grounds. Except this is in a shopping centre.

If you fancy going, look for black and white signs. I knew it was in The Crossing, in the food court upstairs in the overpass between the two halves of the Brunel Centre.

Walked around, it’s got to be here somewhere.


Oh, I’ll ask I the Swindon Artist’s Collective shop – if there’s anyone who knows where a vegan restaurant is it’ll be the collective artists, right?

No, the nice ladies, um, womanning the till had never heard of it.

It’s there, in a spur off the central hub. Next to a Carribean food joint. Black and White sign. You can miss it, it’s really easy to miss it.

But try not to.

It’s a short menu, which I always think is a good sign, and one thing (macaroni cheese) was off.

And, at Indy’s there’s no messing around – it’s all vegan (obvs) but the menu is bold: Philly Cheesesteak, a Gyros, a hot dog, A Reuben – all, frankly, meat dishes.

So, no meat, but a vegan recreation of meat-, and dairy-filled dishes.

I asked Victoria the proprietor what she’d recommend.

She said if I fancied something healthy, maybe a Gyros, if something naughty, the Philly cheesesteak.

One of each then. Oh and a can of rhubarb pop. And a cookie as dessert.

(You get full value for these reviews, starter, main, dessert and umm rhubarb pop list.)

And there’s no damask table cloths. Just tables and chairs. You’re in a food court. It’s fine. You can read the paper, or your phone if you’re one of the Young People, while eating. Alone.

My kinda place.

As the orders where prepared, some sort of vegan meat substitute was placed on the hot plate, while both the Gyros and the cheesesteak sandwich were set out.

They were handed to be in biodegradable cardboard and paper packing, I tucked my can into my pocket, held the bag with the cookie in my teeth and found a place to sit.

Now, where to start?

There was more fresh salady stuff on the Gyros - which is basically a vegan donner kebab, so that seemed the more startery.

And it was pretty good. The ‘meat’ didn’t have that delicious, sinful, greasy unctuousness that the stuff you get in a large doner did, but the salad was excellent, and so was the green, herby, yoghurty sauce.

Ah, see I’m doing it now – obviously it wasn’t yoghurt because that’s dairy. I don’t know what it was, to be honest.

And perhaps that’s my point – it wasn’t something I know, but it was really nice, and close enough to the thing I do know to have me perfectly happy.

So, starter polished off, on to the main – the Philly cheesesteak sandwich.

This was even better, the ‘meat’ was the same stuff, but the ‘cheese’ and the sweated onions and peppers gave a really tangy, umami flavour to the sub.

It’s been a while since I had a Philly cheesesteak, but this didn’t suffer in comparison, at least in my memory.

But, full disclosure, I couldn’t finish it.

I was full from the Gyros. Indy’s portions are ample, so don’t worry if you visit you’re in for a thimble of mung beans and wheatgrass.

I had to take the cookie back to work, where I ate it after I’d recovered.

It was chewy and soft and the chocolate was real chocolate (I’d assumed it wasn’t , because obviously I haven’t quite got the hang of veganism yet). I’m not sure the salt pretzel added much apart from the unnecessary (for me) taste of salt, but I’m told lots of people like salted caramel, so it’ll work for them.

So, nestled among pizza and burger joint, Indy’s Vegan Kitchen would have me going back for more.

Its menu might ape traditional ‘meaty’ streetfood – but it’s anything but a pale imitation. It’s excellent food in its own right.

Recommended. And the proprietor is a delight. Go visit.

But one main dish is probably enough, eh?