The pleasant rebellion of plant-based cafe In Bloom

We catch up with In Bloom as it blossoms from strength to strength. Since opening its doors mid-2017, In Bloom has welcomed a host of vegans, omnis and dogs alike. Walking into the cafe feels like stepping off from -but not quite – the beaten track and into a beautifully curated shrine to one of the most groundbreaking acts of the late 20th century.

It’s a perfect pitstop, halfway between town and the west-end, 2 minutes from the subway and the Hug and Pint. Rachel tells of the location: ‘It’s perfect for us, so close to town, to bus routes, it’s hidden away, but it isn’t at all really, there’s always loads of regulars popping in’.

For anyone who has spoken to either Rachel or Graham for more than 5 minutes, they will realise what incredibly obsessive fans they are of the grunge-punk trio (It wasn’t long before the interview derailed we were of deconstructing the meaning of guitar sound in You Know You’re Right). Nirvana represent everything to the pair, the DIY ethic, their authenticity, ‘their music is not a gimic and we aren’t. They were nice guys, social-justice warriors and feminists, that’s who we are as well’. Walking into the cafe you’ll see merchandise and memorabilia of the band dotted around the place, but there is plans for more. Rachel tells me they have over 300 pieces of signed cd’s, posters and the most obscure souvenirs and hope to make the cafe a place where fans can come and bask serenely in the shrine they create. And now (you may have seen already if you’ve been into the cafe in the last few weeks), alongside the tastiest sandwiches, you can get some of that for yourself as they’ve started to sell the coolest merch: sew on patches coming in at £5, and £8 for an In Bloom bag in the famed Bodoni typeface.

In Bloom represents the kind of undercurrent movement that spawns the best kind of rebellion. It may feel tucked away, but Vegans and Nirvana fans from as far as Canada share and visit the place. And yep, that includes the band itself. Before even opening Krist Novoselic shared and liked the page on Facebook. ‘When I found that out. I was actually told about it – I couldn’t believe it. I phoned Graham up – he was working a night shift at the time I think it was about 2 or 3 in the morning but I didn’t wanna wait. I phoned him and he almost died’. It was the pair’s love for animals alongside their love for the band Nirvana which inspired the opening of In Bloom.

She finds a huge crossover between punk ethic and veganism. ‘You want to empower people, you want to empower animals. You just have to be kind (and listen to good music). It’s simple really’. As someone who has both been vegetarian and working in professional kitchens for most of her life Rachel was fed up and saddened by having to work in kitchens which serve animals. So she opened her own place. Trying any of their menu you can understand that the food comes from a vegan perspective. Expect no hummus and salad sando here, but instead doorstopper BLT’s, kebabs and veg packed soups. The haggis toastie, or cheezesteak are customer favourites but I am told to see even more recipe developments over the coming months. On top of that, they serve up a range of plant-milks and will happily suggest to you the appropriate milk in your coffee or tea. Which helps, when you’re wandering in and on the verge of veganism but don’t really know where to begin. The cafe is one of the few in Glasgow that expands its customer reach to not just the heavy commited vegans. There is a strange, almost debilitating myth that to be a vegan is to be part of a special, exclusive club. Rachel sees that side, and the cafe couldn’t be further away from it. ‘A lot of people that come in, they will eat meat in the home, or they’re trying to cut it out so they want some advice. It’s really good to see people that come back that aren’t vegan or even vegetarian. ‘We’re all nice! We want more of you!’ That’s the whole point really, to invite people in and show them the simple changes they can make, that it’s easy, we all want this kind of world, so we need more people to be part of it.

When asked if she had any tips for would-be vegans Rachel said: ‘Go online: Everyone wants to be helpful. Everyone wants there to be this revolution and change the world. Look through Instagram pages, social media. People just want to help. Come join us! The pleasant rebellion: that’s us’. And if you’ve already made the decision, you don’t need to watch documentaries; a lot of the things you eat now, are vegan anyway so it’s so much easier than you think. As soon as you make the connection and realise, no this actually isn’t good. I went vegetarian for the reasons a lot of people should probably go vegan. It’s hard at first to make the connection, but once you do it’s hard not to go vegan.

2018 will see the cafe expand and open up the back area of the cafe. ‘At the moment it’s just the take-away bit, with the small seating area but we’ll have BYOB nights, gigs and charity events. We want to make this place a hub, for music fans, and for food fans’ Rachel laughs. There you have it. If you’ve not been, go. If you’re not a Nirvana fan, I don’t really understand but still go. In the words of Rachel herself: ‘We have good food, we have music, we have wifi. Come and try us out. Come as you are’.

Check out their website here: