Our plans to meet you at our POP-UP SHOP in Dublin may have been postponed by COVID-19, but this will not stop us from sharing our research on CONSCIOUS DUBLIN with you!
Ireland’s capital city is a leading technology hub with many conscious destinations to discover. We are excited to explore Dublin’s sustainable fashion boutiques, vegan eateries, and art bookstores, as well as to introduce Ireland’s first vegan butcher.
A vegan… butcher?!
Google Trends reported a surging interest in veganism last year. Before the pandemic, plant-based eating was becoming increasingly accepted for its health, climate, and animal welfare benefits. The pandemic has called further attention to the importance of our health and many people are turning to the healing power of plants.
Vegan butchers are making plant-based food more accessible than ever with tasty meat-free ‘meat’. They are catering for everyone from meat eaters who are looking to reduce their meat consumption, to flexitarians and full-time vegans.
Ireland’s first vegan butcher is a passionate chef and entrepreneur called Barto Sova. His Dublin-based restaurant ‘Sova Vegan Butcher’ serves vegan ‘skallops’, seitan ‘steak’, and soy ‘schnitzels’ that taste excellent while providing all the essential nutrients that your body needs.
We got to know him better with a short interview.
Five questions with Barto Sova
SHOHEI: When did you start getting into vegan food?
BARTO SOVA: I started my vegan journey in 2014 and found that plant-based diets worked very well for me. There were three major factors behind my decision to become vegan: health, animal rights, and ethical concerns about our planet. Being vegan, for me, is not about following certain rules. It’s about making better choices for myself, animals, and the planet! A win-win situation!
SHOHEI: What inspired you to open your own restaurant, and how did it all get started?
BARTO SOVA: I have been passionate about food since childhood and one of my dreams was to open my own restaurant. My biggest inspiration was my grandmother who taught me to cook and spread love through food. Sova Vegan Butcher was born in 2014. It started as a pop-up restaurant in various locations across Dublin and Ireland. In 2016, I found a permanent place where we have operated till present. We are the first Irish vegan restaurant with a sit-down dining experience. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we have been forced to operate as a takeaway only. This is not exactly what we would love to bring to our clients, but we remain positive. There is peace after every storm!
SHOHEI: Do you think the COVID-19 pandemic has caused more people to reduce their meat intake, or to stop eating meat altogether?
BARTO SOVA: Definitely people are more aware of the impact that animal-related products have on our health, but also on climate change and the wellbeing of our planet. I saw this trend a good few years ago. There is no other way but for humanity to reduce their meat and dairy consumption and focus on saving our planet. Otherwise, the next generation might never see the world as we know it.
SHOHEI: Where do you get your vegetables from and what is the concept of a vegan butcher?
BARTO SOVA: We are sourcing local and organic vegetables as much as possible, and the menu changes seasonally. The vegan butcher concept concentrates on promoting vegan food, especially to meat eaters. We introduce tasty options which mimic meat dishes to break the stereotype that vegans only eat salads. Back in 2014 when I started, there were only a few vegan butchers. Now we can see the trend growing rapidly around the world which I'm very happy to see.
SHOHEI: Would you say fashion is connected to food in some way?
BARTO SOVA: Absolutely! We are using the same term to describe both - GOOD TASTE. For me, fashion and food are forms of art where people can express themselves like an artist. There are a lot of similarities in creating food and fashion. We are looking to develop the best colours, texture, presentation, accessories, exposition, etc., to create the final product - a piece of art :)
SOVA VEGAN BUTCHER
If you are planning a post-pandemic trip to Dublin, do not forget to explore the conscious corners of the city.
Here are some of our favourite locations to eat and shop responsibly.
VEGAN & VEGAN-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS
- SOVA VEGAN BUTCHER
- THE GARDEN ROOM AT THE MERRION HOTEL
- WILDE AT THE WESTBURY HOTEL
- ELLE’S BAR AND BISTRO AT THE IVEAGH GARDEN HOTEL
- FALLON AND BYRNE
- THE IVY
- THE FUMBALLY
VEGAN & ORGANIC BAKERIES
SUSTAINABLE LUXURY FASHION
ART & ART BOOKS
HOMEWARE & STATIONERY
Text by Marie Woods