March 3, 2023 8.00 am This story is over 15 months old

The Lincolnite tries: Vegan restaurant back with new menu and owners

It’s already getting good reviews

Two best friends who met through vegan activism have launched a new menu after taking over a Lincoln restaurant.

Melanie StJohn-Howe, 29, has been friends with Joanna Farr for five years. Mel used to work at the restaurant under previous owners Garry and Tracey Goddard, who ran the restaurant on Clasketgate from 2015 before moving on.

Jo is a housing officer for Newark & Sherwood District Council, who in her spare time runs Lincolnshire Animal Save which holds vigils at slaughter houses.

Cafe Shanti’s new co-owner Melanie StJohn-Howe with head chef Ben Morton. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The new owners have created a bigger space with seating now upstairs too and they have taken a different approach with their menu, which has been created by head chef Ben Morton.

The restaurant reopened under the new owners on Saturday, February 25, 2023.

Banana korma with tofu. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Classic vegan hotdog. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Melanie StJohn-Howe and Joanna Farr are the owners of Cafe Shanti in Lincoln.

Melanie, who has been vegan for 10 years, told The Lincolnite: “We’ve got more modern American style food, but also still kept some of the really nice curries, and updated and changed them a little bit.

“It’s been all systems go. It’s a little bit hectic, in a good and fun way with a lot of problem-solving happening, but a lot of happy customers and we’ve had quite a few reviews come in which is nice.

“We are really grateful for the opportunities the previous owners have given us and trusting us to carry on the Shanti legacy.”

Vegan Mac & Cheese. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Seitan chick’n. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Melanie believes the vegan population in Lincoln has “grown so much” and that the amount of vegan options in the city has improved.

She added: “It has definitely evolved. Lincoln has got a lot better. Of course, there are other places in the country that are amazing, but Lincoln is a small city and it has improved an awful lot.”

Inside Cafe Shanti. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

There is new seating upstairs too! | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The new owners are also planning to launch vegan Sunday roast dinners on their menu later this spring.

Cafe Shanti is open on Monday (10am-4pm), Thursday (11am-10pm), Friday and Saturday (11am-11pm), and Sunday (12pm-6pm), but closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Meanwhile, the fruit and vegetables shortage has been causing a lot of frustration recently, but what effect has it had on the new Cafe Shanti owners?

Melanie added: “It’s a little scary, but I’m not too worried right now. Yes, we’ve got a lot of vegetables on the menu, but because we’re vegan it’s not ‘everything is vegetables’, we’ve got loads of tofu, fake chicken, fake beef.

“I don’t know how it’s going to go in the future, but so far we haven’t been effected thankfully.”

The new owners launched a new menu. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Cafe Shanti is located on Clasketgate in Lincoln. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

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