Hoisin ‘duck’ noodles from Vegan Kitchen at the Motorpoint Arena (Image: glam_vegan)

When it became the first arena in the UK to introduce a dedicated vegan food outlet, Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena didn’t know how it would be received. However, one year on food fans are raving about the wide choice.

Vegan Kitchen joins the other food stalls selling fish and chips, burgers and fried chicken in the concourse of the 10,000-seater arena where upcoming performances include Olly Murs, Michael Bublé and Peter Kay. Visitors who have ditched meat and dairy from their diets can eat biryani with poppadoms, zesty hoisin ‘duck’ wrap, a vegan meatball sub or a kebab topped with the works.

The decision has gone down a storm. One woman said: “Other arenas need to wake up.” Another said: “As a Nottingham Panthers fan this makes me happy.”

James Perry, the arena’s head of food and beverage, said: “Returning from the pandemic in 2021 gave us a real opportunity to relook at our food and beverage offering within the venue. From this, Vegan Kitchen was born.

“Primarily, the vision behind Vegan Kitchen was to offer our guests a better choice across our concourse. Vegan Kitchen has been received incredibly well by our guests over the last 12 months and we are grateful for the fantastic reviews. Not only this, the introduction of a wide range of vegan food further increases our commitment to sustainability and the venue’s ongoing efforts in reducing our environmental impact.

Vegan Kitchen at Motorpoint Arena (Image: glam_vegan)

“We are very fortunate to have Lisa Rodgers, our sous chef, and her passion for vegan food has certainly been instrumental in producing some wonderful dishes. The wider food and beverage team have all played their part in innovating and improving our food and drink standard over the last year or so. I can confidently say our food and beverage offering must sit somewhere near the top in the UK for stadia and arena, and Vegan Kitchen is one of our many F&B successes.”

With sales growing over the last 12 months, Leslie Dodds, executive head chef, hopes it will continue to go from strength to strength as more people turn to plant-based and vegan options. He said: “From a vegan kebab with the works, to flavourful hoisin duck noodles and lots more, our menu was purposely curated around great quality fast food that doesn’t compromise on flavour. We are proud to make almost everything in house where possible – even our pickles.”

Michelle Targett, who goes by the name Glam Vegan on Instagram, was “blown away” by the offering when she went to watch Strictly Come Dancing Live. Michelle, whose husband Ian and son Louis are also vegan, told her 11,000 followers: “The flavour of the noodles was insane.”

Michelle and Ian Targett at Motorpoint Arena (Image: glam_vegan)

The 51-year-old, from Mapperley Plains, said: “Motorpoint Arena are definitely leading the way with the UK’s first ever dedicated vegan outlet and this is something I’d love to see rolled out UK-wide. Generally at arenas the vegan offer is very limited so it’s great the head chef has had the vision to think out of the box and offer genuinely inspired fast food which can be enjoyed by vegans, vegetarians and anyone else wanting to try something a bit different to the usual offer. This isn’t tokenistic veganism; this is a well-thought-out food offer to truly make vegans feel included.”

Due to demand, other food outlets at Motorpoint Arena are also including vegan options. A pizza topped with vegan cheese and Moving Mountains’ battered sausages, burgers and hot dogs with chilli are on sale.

The fish and chips outlet has a fishcake made chick peas, potatoes and samphire in a panko crumb coating and for anyone with a sweet-tooth there’s vegan doughnuts from Project D.