Moving into so-called Veganuary’s final third, this week there have been two more openings dedicated to the plant-based cause — one, a burger restaurant. The other, a fully vegan pub.
The Vurger Co, an established presence on the street food / pop-up trail, will open its first permanent site off Brick Lane on 12 March. Following a pop-up in Bethnal Green and regular appearances at collectives like KERB, the restaurant — specialising in vegan burgers as per the portmanteau — will continue offering its staple burgers as well as an “infamous” mac ‘n’ cheese. Founder Rachel McHugh is thrilled about the move:
“We couldn’t be happier, we have lived in East London for over 10 years and we adore its vibe and authenticity. We have traded in the area for two years through various pop ups, events and festivals so moving into Shoreditch was the perfect match for The Vurger Co. We just can’t wait to get started and continue to revolutionise fast food through the power of plants!”
The site will have capacity for around 30 diners, and will offer a full coffee, wine and beer program — all of which, they say, are vegan too, including brews from Camden Town brewery. The Vurger Co made headlines earlier this year when they shattered Crowdcube’s record for restaurant fundraising, bringing in £300,000 within 77 hours of launching their campaign.
Meanwhile, diners and drinkers alike can expect serious flexibility from The Spread Eagle, which launches in Homerton and — dubiously — proclaims itself London’s first 100% vegan pub. Food is currently provided by pop-up specialists Club Mexicana, while the drink listing proudly proclaims that all ales available are brewed without the aforementioned finings. The opening, which simultaneously proclaims itself one of East London’s oldest pubs and the first vegan boozer, has competition from The Coach and Horses in Soho, which launched its vegan and vegetarian food offering in 2012. While The Spread Eagle may be the first 100% vegan pub, plant-based cuisine’s exponential popularity is shattering such tight classifications; vegan is getting less vegan; cooking creatively, without meat, is more and more de rigueur: good plant-based food is, increasingly, just good food.