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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Love creating vegan meals which myfriends don’t realise are vegan.
Why doesn’t that surprise me Sheree! Seems you are multitalented in the kitchen. Thanks for reading!
Thanks for sharing this. I’m not vegan but, I’d say about 80% of my diet is vegetarian and I’m always on the look out for new things.
Glad you appreciated this Natty! I would have no qualms with trying a fully vegan meal, should another opportunity arise. Thanks for reading!
So interesting, I’m a meat lover like you but happy to go without some days both at home and in restaurants. Back in December when we visited Gibraltar I had lunch in my first ever Vegan restaurant and was very impressed with the texture, flavour and appearance of the dishes so would happily go to the Young Vegans Pie Shop or elsewhere without issue. Did you watch the tennis last night? It was unbelievable and so uplifting. Marion
Great to hear Marion, I think Vegan food has undergone something of a revolution over the last ten years or so. I didn’t watch the match but followed her progress through the tournament. A simply astonishing achievement! Have a great Sunday.
Nothing like a good pie, I always say. I am not sold on the whole meat substitute thing though. As our kids are all vegetarian, verging on vegan, we eat a lot of vegetarian meals, dedicated to vegetables. I have had some good vegan meals but always found the meat and cheese substitutes lacking. Guess it is because I am old. I remember ordering a salad once when dining with business acquaintances and one friend quipped, “that’s not food, that’s what food eats”. So I am between the two camps, I guess. Thanks for sharing. Glad this place survived on line. Cheers. Allan
I had to laugh at the “that’s what food eats” line. Interesting to hear that you’ve eaten more than your fair share of vegetarian and vegan dishes. I can well imagine that the more you eat the more its “deficiencies” (for want of a better word) become more pronounced. Thanks for swinging by!
I’m so appreciative of your willingness to sacrifice for your readers. And I’m glad your meal had taste. Too many vegans seem to relish in their suffering (pardon the pun). I enjoy vegetables but I like them honest. Just make them taste good. Don’t try to make them taste like meat. Vegan cookies? Now that I can get into.
Hey Memo, I was curious to hear your response to this article, as one of the most committed foodies I know. Not sure when my next Vegan meal will come from, but I’d give it a whirl again if the chance came along.
When it comes to any debate about meat eating/vegetarianism/vegan, I declare myself to be a devout Turk when it comes to diet. The ordinary Turkish menu has plenty of vegetarian options, plenty of vegan options, but a Turk would look you in the eye and ask earnestly…..”why would you choose to not eat something!?!” I subscribe.
Ha ha I hear you Phil, I thought you might say something along those lines. And you’ve now reminded us of the food in Turkey. Ahhhh…. good times.
Here in South Africa, it’s difficult not eating meat (and I’m not complaining)! I mean, when we have our ‘braai’s’ (bbq), 80% of the meal is consisting of meat. For a few years now, there’s a drive called “Meatless Mondays”. So, after indulging in all kinds of meat prepared over the fire during weekends, we have a veggie meal on a Monday night (but not every Monday 😉). I would not be hesitant to try a vegan pie … but I think you will find me more often with a meat pie!
Well I was secretly wondering what the King and Queen of Braai might think of a vegan pie. We used to do something along the lines of Meatless Monday and really enjoyed it. These days we usually go veggie once or twice a week. Thanks for reading!
hmmmmm… not convinced! I LOVE meat pies – especially English pies … first thing I look for whenever in England!!
I LOVE meat pies too! I guess sometimes you don’t know till you’ve tried. I quite liked the meal but then I haven’t been particularly moved to try it again. Thanks for reading!
Looks like a nice place- I’m trying to eat less meat so will have to check it out when I’m in London next 🙂
As a vegetarian/pescatarian, having chosen not to eat meat, I’m not crazy about fake meat that tries to taste like meat. That said, the choices at this little place sound pretty enticing. Good for you for giving it a try. I hope they can make it with their online store.
Appreciate you catching up with my off-the-tourist-track London series Ruth. Hope all is well with you and that you’re enjoying the fall.
The only suggestion for vegan pie is an ice cream pie with some cashew milk ice cream 🙂
Sounds good to me!
I’m neither vegan nor vegetarian, but I will admit that sometimes, I do crave a lighter, veggie-inspired meal, which has led me to having dishes like cauliflower tacos and “chikin” burgers, and they’ve proven tasty. This vegan pie shop does sound delightful, and I’d be keen on trying out their savory pies, hearty and rich, which I crave sometimes. I hope this store continues to operate despite COVID-19!
I love the sound of Cauliflower Tacos!
I am a confirmed omnivore. I’ve tried cutting down on meat a bit and substituting more fruit and veggies. Indian food has many delicious vegetarian options although I’m not sure it is vegan.
Agree, Indian food is great for veggie options and you still get those rich, delicious sauces. The longest I’ve ever gone without meat is about a week, which I managed without “too” much drama.
If you’ve been a lifelong omnivore, going vegan or eating vegan dishes probably seems really intimidating as without meat, dairy, and other animal products, you’re often left with a plate full of plants — but most home cooks know what a wonderful opportunity that can be.
I can totally appreciate the opportunity and challenge to surprise in the kitchen. Are you guys vegan?
Good for them for making such a name for themselves in such a tough culinary niche. To have such delicious food that even a usual meat eater enjoys it says a lot about the place. Added to my ever growing list of spots 🙂
Thanks for catching up with my explorations around Camden Town!
I would always try something new, but I’m not a vegan at heart, so you wouldn’t see me eating such on a long term🙂 I have a friend whose boys are vegan, and she loves cooking. I am amazed at how many combinations she can do, all her dishes look fantastic!
I certainly couldn’t do it long term either. Thanks for reading Christie, and for contributing to the thread!
I wish we had a place like this here! While I can’t say that I’m a vegetarian- most of what I eat is plant based. Eating vegetarian in Japan, unless you cook, is almost impossible. Pork extract is in almost everything- the one meat I do not eat! Anyway- I would love to be able to have a clean eating restaurant to visit!
And I just have to comment this- it’s so strange for me to see “no masks”. Unheard of here in Japan.
Hey, glad you enjoyed the article, thanks for commenting. Do you mean no mask on the worker? Or everyone? The article dates back to May 2019 so it was pre-COVID.
Ah! I didn’t realize that it was pre-covid! No wonder why! Here in Japan everyone wears masks – unless you are in your own home of course. Something we must live with here now. Although my husband and I don’t wear them while out on our morning walks thru the rice fields. We ignore the sideways looks from the one or two other walkers we meet… thanks for clarifying!
That sounds pretty extreme. Here in Montenegro it is very very lax. The only place I noticed people consistently wearing masks is in supermarkets.
It’s amazing to me that each place is so different. If you visit Japan bring plenty of masks- 😷
My kind of place. 🙂
Thanks for catching up with recent posts Henry, appreciate it!
I want to go!
Hey George! As I say in the article their actual premises is closed due to the pandemic. But you can order online and, I believe, pick up a delivery from their storage site. Thanks for commenting!