Cardiff’s only vegetarian Indian restaurant is encouraging people to go veggie for Veg Pledge month

Having served tasty dishes for the last 18 years, Vegetarian Food Studio is the capital’s only veggie Indian restaurant that turns food into art

South Indian dosas and a traditional North Indian thali
Nourishing, visually pleasing, and downright delicious veggie South and North Indian food. Credit: Nikita Achanta

November is Veg Pledge Month when UK residents can choose to go vegetarian for a month to raise money for Cancer Research UK, and highlight the importance of vegetarian diets. Local restaurant Vegetarian Food Studio (VFS) serves up delectable dishes while educating its patrons about the benefits.

VFS has left its mark on the Cardiff food scene as the only all-vegetarian Indian restaurant, having bagged 30 awards since its inception in 2003. 

In India itself, veggie-only food options are commonplace as 31% of the population are vegetarian due to religious reasons. The country is dotted with pure vegetarian restaurants.

By contrast, here in the UK most people consume meat daily, making vegetarian-only restaurants a rare occurrence. As for Cardiffians, 13% do not eat meat, and according to a survey by the Food Standards Agency, 3% of UK respondents have adopted a vegetarian diet. 

However, more individuals are now moving towards plant-based food. 

“People are now realising that vegetarian food is not only healthy but tasty as well,” said Raj Patel, the owner of the family-run establishment. “They can see that when they order six different dishes, there’s six different colours. It’s not only brown and green.”

Seating area in the vegetarian Indian restaurant
Instagram-worthy corners and a home away from home. Credit: Nikita Achanta

Located next to a Hindu temple on Penarth Road, the restaurant was opened to cater primarily to temple-goers. It was frequented by South Asians during the first few years, but to the family’s surprise, 99% of the customers are now locals. 

Their ethos is to reinvent traditional Indian dishes by striking a balance between appealing plates and nutritious ingredients. Everything is cooked from scratch and is always fresh. 

“You can come back three months later and you will find that our food is the same: honest, homemade family cooking,” Raj concluded.  

The family want to continue enlightening diners, and Raj himself believes Veg Pledge Month will motivate more people to make the jump to veggie or vegan diets. 

Painting on the wall depicting India
Their paintings and decorations depict the real India, according to Raj. Credit: Nikita Achanta