We’ve found the best vegan bacon in Wellington – and possibly the world

If you, like me, prefer your bacon vegan, then I have got a treat for you!

In Wellington, New Zealand, there’s a small cafe that might just have invented the best thing to eat with sliced bread! Sweet Release, proudly situated in a new cafe on Willis Street, specialises in creating authentic and delicious vegan food from scratch. They’re always experimenting with flavours and textures, working hard to make their food taste as good as the real thing and their pièce de résistance – à mon avis – is their delectable BLT. The bacon is made using their own secret recipe, and the flavour is spot-on, smoky and sweet. It’s got a little bit of a crunch which works really well with piles of fresh crispy lettuce and sweet tomatoes, and their vegan aioli ties it all together.

Follow Sweet Release on Instagram to see more of their delicious creations.

Vegetarianism and veganism aren’t just for the hippies anymore. This is evidenced by the growing number of restaurants and grocery stores catering to the plant-based market, as a direct response to the burgeoning trend towards sustainable, environmentally-friendly and cruelty-free food sources. But while Sweet Release opened its doors in 2014 at exactly the moment when Wellingtonians were starting to seek out more meat-free options, it wasn’t the demand for delectable vegan food that prompted owner Kristine Bartley to bring her fare to the hungry public.


On the walls of Sweet Release’s new cafe is a mural which tells the tale of how Kristine found relief from her autoimmune disorder through her love of baking. Although Sweet Release has always been vegetarian, veganism came to the table when Kristine, finding that eating a fully vegan diet helped to manage her own health, became a member of Wellington’s vegan community. She founded a facebook group for other people transitioning into a vegan lifestyle to help encourage other people struggling with what can be a tricky shift, and organised dinners and get-togethers so that she could connect with people on the same journey as her. From its inception, Sweet Release has been dedicated to helping others, and offers free baking classes to anyone battling a lifelong illness.

Despite the struggles of introducing a new cafe to Wellington’s already jam-packed and competitive cafe scene, Sweet Release is showing its mettle, using social media and innovative crowd-funding campaigns to stay ahead.

When it comes down to it, Kristine’s advice for managing a huge endeavour like this is simple:

“In life, make sure you find an activity you want to learn about. When you find that one thing you enjoy, learn to master it. It will get you through tough times and bring you joy.”


Whether you’re vegan, a little bit curious about vegetarianism or a full-on carnivore, I highly recommend that you try out Sweet Release. The food is mouth-watering, and the fact that spending your hard-earned cash there contributes to the development of an independent business that supports the community is really just a massive bonus!

You can find them 7 days a week at 134 Willis St, Wellington, or online here: https://www.sweetreleasecakesandtreats.co.nz

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