Vegan Foods

Lymington chef Robyn Chiedozie parks a popular food truck to open the town’s first vegan cafe, Tinker’s Granddaughter

A YEAR after hitting the road with a popular food truck, chef Robyn Chiedozie of Lymington has launched the city’s first vegan cafe and food pantry.

The Handyman’s Granddaughter at 20 High Street is described by Robyn as a restaurant, deli and herbal day shop with a neighborhood cafe vibe. With space for up to 60 people over three floors, it is hoped that a private dining space for 12 people can be used for get-togethers and meetings.

The menu features colorful salads, soups and fresh sourdough sandwiches, plus vegan cheese boards and treats such as dark chocolate sea salt brownies, carrot and peanut butter cake and a Oreo rocky road.

Robyn Chiedozie (left) launched Tinker’s Grandaughter Cafe

Coffees and hot chocolates are made from pea-based Sproud milk, considered by many to be the closest alternative to cow’s milk.

Robyn said: “East Street Wines helped us put together a really great wine list – I chose wines that complement plant-based foods, but also researched interesting suppliers around the world, from countries interesting with the idea in the future that we will be having cheese and wine evenings.”

Inspired by his work as a vegan chef during a yoga retreat in Ibiza two years ago, former bar and restaurant manager Robyn launched a vegan food truck and deli service in pop-up locations across the New Forest in November 2021.

Despite building up a loyal following at vegan markets and summer events, her ultimate dream has always been to run her own cafe.

Inside the Handyman's Granddaughter
Inside the Handyman’s Granddaughter

“Customers arrive who have followed my journey with the food truck. There are also people I met at my vegan night market in Hythe,” she said.

“I’ve had customers come from Andover and the Isle of Wight because obviously there aren’t many purely vegan restaurants in the area so they seem happy to travel.

Robyn continued: “The first week has been fantastic – customer feedback has been amazing. Many people are not vegan but appreciate the fact that they can get salads, freshness and flavor.

“People appreciate variety and they said it was good to have something a little different.”

As Christmas approaches, Robyn hopes to partner with local florists to host a wreath-making workshop. Other vegan cooking classes and days are also planned.

Robyn offers a selection of vegan cookbooks
Robyn offers a selection of vegan cookbooks

She said: “The idea is for it to become this nice hub for the community where we have workshops going on. It can be a safe and quiet place to breastfeed mother and baby groups, and the New Forest networking group will meet here on a Tuesday.

The cafe has a pantry section with cheeses, Sproud milk, chocolate, wines, Fairtrade coffees, sauces, pickles and fudge. A range of vegan cookbooks are also on sale.

Robyn said: “When I get to chat with people, I find that a lot of my customers aren’t vegan, they’re just very interested in plant-based foods.

Robyn's Vegan Pantry
Robyn’s Vegan Pantry

“I’m not doing this to make the world vegan, but I think everyone needs to be a little more aware of where their food comes from.”

Plans for the future include monthly street food nights and late opening on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Robyn aims to bring back Tinker’s Granddaughter food truck for special events next summer.

The Handyman’s Granddaughter is open Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., then Wednesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.