Just like that schoolboy that paraded through the streets of London, eating (and reviewing) his way through the best fried chicken joints; I thought I’d blog about some awesome vegan restaurants. Not only do I love vegan food- from the uber healthy to vegan junk food to accidentally vegan finds- I’m hoping this edit might be helpful to some.
Temple of Seitan
The world’s first vegan fried chicken eatery is a baffling but novel concept. ‘Vegan fried chicken?! What is it made out of?’ Is often the bemused shriek that escapes many people. Like the name- phonetically similar to ‘Satan’ would suggest, it is made out of Seitan. Originating from Japan it is simply made out of gluten, with the protein-packing punch coming from the humble component of wheat. Now, that probably does not sound mouth-wateringly delicious. I mean you don’t head out thinking ‘mmm I could really murder a wheat-gluten burger right now’. Well, if you are a vegan caricature on an excursion from your over-inflated West London SoulCycle class maybe… And the oddities surrounding this little fast-food gem do not stop there, nestled on Morning Lane in Hackney (opposite Tesco) it is right next to a butchers! Yep, the irony was fully intended, and as such the place divides public opinion, but often conquers if the long line outside is anything to go by.
Mimicking the texture of meat the restaurant proves that anything meat-eaters can eat vegans can too, but in an ethical and environmentally sustainable manner. The menu is fairly limited but all finger-licking good! I’ve been a few times now and the thought of the vegan Mac N Cheese (£5) makes me want to put this blog post on pause and head out now. The menu includes a variety of vegan burgers, topped with a range of fillings such as vegan cheese, mayo and their home-made tangy slaw. The peanut and chocolate mud-cakes (£2.50) (which I got for free as my Mac N Cheese took a little while) are incredible. Oozing with chocolate sauce it is rich, dark and luxurious. The popcorn chicken is another fave (£4), with the crispy and slightly spicy breaded mock-meat rivalling the real deal anyday. If that does not make you want to don on your rainproof parka just know that burgers or wraps can be purchased with fries and an organic sparkling soft drink in a meal deal for £6! Not to mention how bubbly and passionate the staff are; it is clear that Temple of Seitan’s colossal success and popularity is both a curated menu and division of labour and love.
Fed By Water
Another interesting and unusual moniker, raising the stupid question (which we know not to utter out loud) ‘is this some breatharianism shit?’ But no, I can assure you they serve food. It is an intriguing premise- producing Italian plant-based cuisine with the objective of steeping the importance of pure water into our collective consciousness. What does this even mean, other than some convoluted hippie BS? Basically, in layman’s terms FED aims to encourage an ethical and sustainable lifestyle, starting with food being our fuel and hence driving their militant prejudice against tapwater.
Located in trendy Dalston, next to Costa and outside the shopping centre, the restaurant is easy to spot. The interior is dark and industrial Hackney Wick hipster-chic. I had the ‘Diavola:the return of the hot heaven’ which had homemade cashew cheese, spicy Seitan salami, olives, chilli and pistachio ‘culatella’ (£14.95). And, despite being South Asian, I was pleasantly surprised to find that something labelled as spicy relatively was and not the ‘spice’ associated with a bell pepper. My friend ordered the ‘Erba Fresca’ (£12.95) topped with cashew mozzarella cheese, smoked tofu, capers, olives and rocket. And given that I devoured (almost) both of our pizzas, I think it is safe to say that both were scrumptious! When my friend and I visited there was something off with the fire detector and for this disturbance we were given a drink on the house. I had a hot chocolate with hemp milk and my friend had an almond cappuccino. I was amazed by their diverse range of plant-based milks, particularly as restaurants and coffee shops often only offer soy milk which I detest.
While FED is slightly pricier it is a great example of creative and carefully thought out vegan food, other than the stock vegan tomato-based pasta dish.
Stayed tuned for more vegan reviews in different parts of London!
Thanks for reading!