What the Pitta — purveyors of London’s first ‘vegan döner kebabs’ — will move to bricks-and-mortar permanence at a site in Camden when it opens on Friday 9 March. The brand first emerged with a pop-up at The Pump in Shoreditch in 2016; it now operates two sites at Boxpark locations — in Shoreditch and Croydon.
Replacing the processed lamb meat in real döner kebabs in the “unique kebabs” (they’re said to be the UK’s first) is “non-GMO soya chunks, marinated in a blend of Middle Eastern spices and grilled for a smoky kebab flavour.” The marketing literature assures, in the way that many vegan food brands do, that it will provide “the perfect healthy, guilt-free meal.”
The bread is handmade by the team on site, and is filled with homemade hummus, tzatziki, fresh salads and the seasoned soya chunks. The ‘vegan döner kebab’ is priced from £7.95 and the menu also includes variants on meat-free Turkish pizza (lahmacun), a couscous salad box and baklava.
What the Pitta was created by British-Turkish friends Cem Yildiz and Rojdan Gul. Yildiz had had recently become vegan and “was passionate about the health and environmental benefits of going meat-free, but was missing the grilled flavours of his favourite Turkish foods” when he became aware that Gul’s uncle had been experimenting with vegan kebabs in Germany for years. The duo duly took a trip to learn the secret recipe.
Yildiz said, in a statement:
“We are so proud that what started as little stall in Shoreditch has grown so quickly, and we’re now opening our third stall and continuing to provide good, tasty food with added health and environmental benefits to hungry Londoners.
“We have found that a lot of our customers are meat reducers, rather than strict vegans, and it’s great to see more and more people becoming conscious of where their food is coming from. It really helps people to be meat free more often when they have tasty and satisfying alternatives, and we hope to continue to fill that market in 2018 and beyond.”