Us? Meat free??
For us, veganism’s always been one of those ‘fringe’ things, and hasn’t really registered in our fine-dining world. But our recent experience of a 100% vegan tasting menu at one of our favourite restaurants, Flat Three in Holland Park, kinda blew us away.
It got us thinking what is veganism exactly, and why are people going so crazy for it?
Essentially, being vegan means no meat, dairy, eggs or honey – nothing from an animal. If you’re taking it further than just food, it means no leather, wool or silk, too. What’s left, we hear you cry? Well, a lot of great options. Nuts, seeds, pulses, beans, tofu, glorious cold-pressed oils, not to mention fruit and veg – a vegan diet can be awesome if you do it right.
The number of vegans in the UK has grown by 350% in the last decade. Vegan menus are becoming the norm in restaurants, with Pret’s vegetarian branches leading the way. It tastes great, and makes you feel great, too. Avocado and chipotle chickpea wrap, anyone?
Things have really moved on from the traditional stereotypes of nut roasts and beansprouts – take soya milk. In the barista-led world of 2017, soya milk is a far cry from the thick, curdled, weirdly twangy dairy-alternative of years past. New, professional variations are stable at high temperatures, mild-flavoured, and make a flat white indistinguishable from the real dairy thing.
And it’s as much about not harming the planet as it is about animals. Vegan foods use less chemicals to produce, and take up less land. This really matters given the population explosion we’re expecting in the next 50 years.
Where to get your meat-free fix…
All that aside, what we want to know now is where to get great vegan food – and trust us, it can be truly delicious. In London we’re big fans of What The Pitta – check them out on Instagram and defy your mouth to start watering! There’s also Club Mexicana for Mexican-inspired street food and Mooshies for massively creative (and just plain ravishing) burgers.
Big name chefs like Jamie Oliver are jumping on the vegan bandwagon, and food hero Hugh-Fearnley Whittingstall has just followed up his hit book Veg Every Day with a vegan version, Much More Veg! For us, food has always been about experimentation, sustainability, great flavours, and staying open-minded. And right now, that’s veganism to a tee.
Mat, KitchenLab UK