Travel Report: Young Vegans Pie Shop, London.
Young Vegans Pie Shop.
I’ve always been a committed meat eater, for the most part. I do like me a bit of chicken, some crispy pork, a delicious steak, cooked medium rare if you will. When I was in Beijing I went crazy for duck, while take me to a Lebanese restaurant and I’ll be going straight for the lamb, my favourite meat of all.
I have had the occasional spell of going veggie. Just for a week or so, to rebalance the system. But I always went back to meat, and of course enjoyed it all the more for having had a break. “Have you ever tried a 100% vegan meal?” my friend Baddi asked me one afternoon. We were wandering through Camden Town exploring the second hand record stores and bookshops. “Uh….”
I had not. Thus we found ourselves approaching the pretty red brick facade of Young Vegans, a pie shop that is…. as Baddi excitedly explained… 100% vegan. Always up for trying new things, I followed him inside and joined the considerable line of people.
As you may have gathered, Baddi is a vegan. Don’t worry, he’s not the humourless, self-righteous type who’s forever lecturing everyone on what terrible human beings they are. I’ve met plenty of those over the years and, quite frankly, cannot bear to be in their company. Rather, Baddi wanted to guide me towards a new culinary experience. One, he hoped, that might surprise me a little.
Young Vegans Pie Shop.
Launched in 2015 by an Italian couple, Marco and Carla, Young Vegans took London by storm. In order to show people that vegan cooking can be so much more than salads, the pair began whipping up a range of comfort food dishes. Such as English breakfasts, pie and mash, pizza, mud pie and chocolate chip cookies.
The store’s handmade pies were front and centre that afternoon. They certainly looked good; clearly fresh and in an array of tantalising flavours. In fact, I found it tricky to choose. Should I go for Chicken Katsu Curry? Or perhaps Cheesy Meat and Potato?
Moreover, there’s a mind-boggling creation called The All Day Vegan Breakfast that’s made of sausage patty, scrambled tofu, caramelised onions and smokey baked beans. Confused about where all this meat is coming from? The substitute, Baddi explained with a smirk, is actually seitan, a form of wheat gluten.
Eventually our turn came around and both Baddi and I went for the Vegan Steak & Ale Pie. His with peas and a side of creamy macaroni cheese. Mine with a good old fashioned dollop of mash, topped with sprinkled parsley. Both with some deliciously deep brown, flavourful gravy.
Camden Town, London.
So what did I think of my first vegan meal? It was… solid. Everything was well cooked and bursting with flavour. Furthermore, I can honestly say that I might not have noticed that I was eating a vegan pie. You know, if someone had tricked me into it.
However, as much as I enjoyed it, I don’t think it rivals my very favourite London Pie and Mash establishments. I’m talking the sublime A. Cooke’s Traditional Pie and Mash, and the similarly excellent Harrington’s in Tooting.
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