IT’S been hailed the “lentil belt” of Southampton – but it could be broken up by a new steak restaurant.

Hanover Buildings is fast becoming the heart of Southampton for lovers of vegetables.

After Rice Up Wholefoods moved there four years ago, Kadampa meditation centre moved in and now after just two months managers at Cafe Thrive vegan restaurant say business has “surpassed expectations”.

But there could be a spanner in the works for the soya strip if a planning application for Cattle Steakhouse restaurant goes ahead.

Owner of the Woking-based eatery Nazim Ahmed wants to bring his brand of halal food to the city and has made an

application to take over the empty unit on the corner of Hanover Buildings and Strand.

He said: “It’s giving people the choice. I think there’s a big community of people who want premium quality”.

But not everyone’s happy.

Ellie Ataie recently put on the city’s first large-scale vegan festival, and isn’t keen on the new venture.

The 23-year-old mum-of-one from Freemantle said: “I would definitely prefer if it was a vegan or alternative restaurant.

“I’d prefer anything to do with health or wellbeing, where you are not harming animals – that would be better in my view.

“You can get vegan fish and chips made out of seaweed and there’s a vegan chicken shop in London.”

But Sarah Taylor, who opened Cafe Thrive just two months ago, said a steak restaurant could mean some healthy competition.

She said: “We call it the lentil belt down here and since we opened we’ve surpassed expectations.

“It’s a good thing that any empty unit is being used and we get extra footfall.

“There might even be some crossover and, who knows, we might convert a few people."