Vegan Café and ‘Art Space’ Opens in Newcastle

Interior of Wildflower cafe. Brightly painted, reclaimed furniture and a small bar next to a blackboard menu.

A new vegan café, which aims to be a creative hub for Newcastle’s artistic community, has opened on Westgate Road.

Wildflower, set up by artist Jessica Salmon and chef Asher Turnbull, specialises in “affordable, seasonal plant-based food”. Dishes on offer include vegan chorizo, bean pasties, and vegan cakes and toasties, though the menu often changes from day-to-day.

Wildflower says that the café was established “on a shoe-string budget, with much of our interior made up of upcycled and abandoned pieces, donations and local art. The space will be constantly evolving.”

Upcycling means transforming waste materials and unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality.

In addition to providing vegan meals and snacks, Wildflower also allows its customers to let loose their creative sides. You can indulge in activities such as drawing, colouring-in and knitting, and weekly art classes are held.

The café also hosts gigs and open-mic nights. Before Wildflower opened, a fundraising gig was held which, Jess says, “paid for our first month’s rent.”

Jess and Ash also plan to host themed dinner parties, art and upcycling workshops, comedy nights and art markets, and to give local artists the opportunity to display their work on the café’s walls.

Jess said, “As it’s a bit of a community space, we had much of our furniture donated. We’re in the process of applying for a bit of funding from the Arts Council to hopefully run more events and make improvements as we go along.”

Wildflower began life as a pop-up restaurant, but has now relocated to more solid premises on Westgate Road, near Newcastle city centre. It is hoped that an influx of small, independent businesses can help to regenerate this area.

Jess said, “We chose this location as there were lots of empty properties here and we feel it needs an injection of new business and regeneration. Hopefully, it’s the start of something new and exciting for the area.”

“It’s unfortunate, but for the most part independent businesses have been priced out of the city centre so it’s becoming very chain-orientated.”

Wildflower (283a Westgate Road) is open from 10 am to 5 pm Wednesday to Saturday and from 12 to 5 pm on Tuesday. It is closed on Sunday and Monday.

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