Monday 20 March 2017

Vegan in Brick Lane

I was meant to spend yesterday eating my way around Brick Lane with my buddy Jenny but an unfortunately timed sinusitis flare up combined with some suspiciously flu like symptoms meant that I decided to spend the day at home with a nasal spray and some sub par painkillers rather than risk flying to China whilst sick! Brick Lane is definitely one of my favourite places to hang out at the weekend, the vibe's pretty great, it's fun to scope out the market stalls, the vegan food options are plentiful, and there are lots of places to sit and chat.

One of my very favourite spots is new kid on the block Vida Bakery who recently opened a pop up on Cheshire Street. It seems to be going well for them so far if the amount of love I see directed their way on social media is anything to go by. The space itself is the perfect size with plenty of seating and it's seriously so cute inside.

As well as cupcakes Vida Bakery offer layer cakes, including (if you're there at the right time like I was!) freaking rainbow cake. RAINBOW CAKE! That's basically my dream cake.

It was just as amazing as you'd imagine and I enjoyed every single colourful bite. I actually didn't realise until afterwards that it was gluten free because the sponge itself was really light and it was spot on for the style of cake. Vida Bakery also offer afternoon tea and whilst I haven't had the chance to head there for that yet (maybe next time I'm back in the UK?) I did sit next to some people partaking in the afternoon tea last time I visited and it looked epic. It includes cheeses from both Essential Vegan and Pomodoro E Basilico as well as Vida's own delectable savouries and desserts. Yum town!

Pomodoro E Basilico is my go-to for a proper meal in the area. Located inside the Boiler House Food Hall in the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane (Google maps will lead you there - it's surprisingly easy to miss if you're just wandering around the area) this stall punches way above it's weight offering not only burgers but bowls, fries, deep fried cheese sticks, and plenty of regular and raw desserts. That would all be pretty impressive but you need to go prepared to have your mind blown because Sara makes everything herself - from the buns to the mayo and everything in-between. There are no store bought meat and cheese subs here. I first tried The Bad Burger at Veg Fest in London and I thought about it almost daily until I was able to get hold of another one, the chicken style seitan schnitzel comes on a charcoal bun with mushroom sauce and apple mustard sauerkraut. Perfection.

The cheese fingers come in regular or spicy and are an absolute delight. They really do make the perfect side dish!

Dessert wise Sal and I struggled to make a decision but settled on a Matcha Twix bar and a slice of Banana PB Kale Cake.

The Twix was a little different than I'd expected - I thought that it would have a traditional crunchy biscuit base rather than a softer coconut cookie-style crust and honestly I don't love coconut. I find that it overpowers most other flavours and I couldnt really taste the matcha here at all. The Banana PB Kale Cake on the other hand totally exceeded all of my expectations, kale in cake would usually be pretty off putting for me but my love of banana bread and anything to do with PB won out and it tasted as good as it looked - better even. The PB was clumped together in gooey chunky sections and the crunchy banana pieces in the icing added some great bite to the cake. I was so glad that I tried this and I'm pretty gutted that I wont be able to eat it again before I leave the country. 

Peanut Butter Bakery are another stall that pops up at Boiler House, unlike Pomodoro e Basilico they aren't there every weekend so check their Instagram or Facebook pages for details before making the trip. I was impressed with the selection and chose a Blueberry Cheesecake doughnut and an Oreo Cookie doughnut.

The were both seriously good but I think that the Oreo doughnut was the winner for me. The blueberry doughnut could have pipped it to the post if the filling had been inside the doughnut as well as on top but it was a little hollow which wasn't quite what I was dreaming of. I ate two and a half Oreo doughnuts though so this place is definitely worth saving some space for!

Outside on Brick Lane itself is a stall called Benny Buttons Tea. The name seemed a little misrepresentative of the stalls offerings as this is mainly a pancake spot! I was stuffed when I wandered past so I've never eaten there but the pictures on Instagram are pretty mouthwatering and if I'd known about it I would've saved some space. You have been warned! They also have a daily stall at Camden Market and pop up at Broadway Market in Hackney on a Saturday.

Mooshies is another often talked about Brick Lane vegan eatery but does it live up to the hype? My experiences there have been a little varied but I still think that it's well worth a visit especially as they're still fairly new.

I ordered the Fillet Om Fish burger both times and the first time I got a super thick slab of battered aubergine that was texturally very reminiscent of a fish burger, the second time around the aubergine fillet was smaller and more thinly sliced which I felt made it lose some of it's fishiness. I would definitely go back but I hope that with time their offerings get a little more consistent. If faux fish isn't your thing the Pulled Mooshie, their take on a jackfruit burger (pictured below), and the self explanatory Brick Lane Bahji are absolutely worth checking out.

Also in the area are Cook Daily and Home, I've eaten at both of these spots once but my allergies make it really difficult to try any of the most raved about dishes. I only ever hear good things about their food though and the atmosphere at Boxpark is pretty fun so give them a whirl if you're in the area.

Beigel Bake is my final Brick Lane rec, open since 1977 and with a cult following that means there's almost always a line this place is worth a visit if you're craving a properly made bagel rather than a bagel shaped bread roll. I wouldn't necessarily suggest eating here as the only vegan topping is Peanut Butter but they are basically the only bagels worth eating in the UK so grab a bag of six and a tub of cream cheese from Holland and Barett, return to your sofa, pop on some Netflix, and crack on.

Have you been to Brick Lane on a vegan food quest? Where were your favourite spots? Have I missed anywhere that you love? 

I'm heading to China tomorrow which means that I'll probably be taking a little break from social media due to that whole firewall thing! Don't worry though I have some great posts coming up over the next four weeks and I'll be back with my Vegan in China diaries as soon as my feet touch down on Aussie soil. 


  1. I remember going to the 'beigel' shop back in 2001! I was staying with friends in Bethnal Green and it was close enough to walk to. I was fresh from 4 years on the east coast of the US and the wee little bagels looked so funny to me. Last time I went to Brick Lane was (I think) in 2010, it still looks delicious and fun today!

    1. That's so random, I had a boyfriend who lived in Bethnal Green around that time! That area has changed so much since then (and quite a bit since 2010!)

  2. OOOh yes, rainbow cake!! Stephanie/Poopie Bitch made me a rainbow cake for my birthday one year, and it made me endlessly happy!! That Oreo doughnut and kale cake look amazing too. And cheese fingers! Geez, I'm having some serious food envy over here.

    1. It's a pretty rad place to spend a day! I'm glad that other people appreciate rainbow cake as much as I do - it really is the coolest!

  3. So much fun food! The rainbow cake looks so pretty.
    Have a great time in China!

  4. The rainbow cake is beautiful! It all looks beautiful to be honest.
    That's awesome that the rainbow cake was gluten free and you couldn't tell. Most gluten free baked goods I've tried are very dense.
    Have so much fun in China!

  5. I do love Vida, though they don't always open on time - I've found myself prowling the streets too often trying to get some cake and waiting for them to open up! Still, always worth the wait. And I've got a lot of time for Home and CookDaily too, and... well basically, everywhere you went. There's so much good food out that way! Happy travels, look forward to seeing more from foreign soil!

  6. I wish I'd read this before we visited Beigel Bake! It was delicious but some better toppings would've been super duper.

    I'm sad to have missed you but you have to be well for that long-haul, I hope it went ok! <3

  7. Hope you're feeling all better now. :-) Wow, look at all of the yummy eats! I especially like the rainbow cake, so pretty. And the charcoal bun, how interesting. Pretty much everything.

  8. Look at that rainbow cake! Wow. I've also impressed by the cheese sticks. I can't wait to finally try out Pomodoro and Basilico one day. That bagel shop is in a text book I use for teaching English, it's listed as a must-visit on a trip to London - I'm glad to hear the bagels are good, despite the poor vegan options.


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