Gizzi Erskine and nutritionist Rosemary Ferguson’s plant-based junk food restaurant, Filth Foods, will take up residence in Shoreditch for three months from today, Friday 4 January. Filth will open at the Dirty Burger site two doors down from Michelin-starred Lyle’s.
Writing on Instagram, cookbook author and food writer Erskine said: “After years of secret development we’ve achieved a pure miracle: Fast-food without the junk! Come get the @filthfoods burger — it tastes as filthy as an old-fashioned cheese-burger, but it’s plant-based all the way!”
A beetroot and black sesame bun encases a black bean, black lentil, and non GMO soy patty, which also packs a “secret umami paste” — this intense savouriness is the key to replicating the “filth” of a fast food cheeseburger. Lettuce, gherkins, beetroot ketchup, and a roasted garlic aioli complete a burger that, allegedly, “only use[s] sustainably-sourced produce.” The stand-out side is sweet potato fries with an “addictive” seaweed miso dust. Erskine and Ferguson have developed the recipe over the last couple of years, but will not be permanently on-site cooking.
Erskine’s announcement echoes the messaging that surrounded Pure Filth’s vegan fast food residency at the Tate Modern at the back end of 2017 — “The taste must come first – our food just happens to be good for you” — but slants more towards environmental concerns than nutritional benefits. The brand, now just Filth — F!LTH — had to change its name after a legal dispute this year. At the time, the plant-based junk food pop-up was mooted to have a first permanent site under wraps, but this looks to be another chance to put Erskine and Ferguson’s development work in the shop window. Asked about the possibility of a permanent opening in the near-future, Erskine said: “Not just yet, but we are still very much working towards this, as goes the old classic issues with sites.” For now, Filth’s collaboration with Soho House will extend to introducing the burger patty across the members’ club’s seven London sites.
View this post on Instagram
The F!LTH burger is finally here! We’re very excited to announce that our burger joint is opening on Friday at 5 pm on the 4th of January THATS TOMORROW PEOPLE where we have taken over the Dirty Burger site in Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, London E1 6LA. After years of secret development we’ve achieved a pure miracle: Fast-food without the junk! Come get the @filthfoods burger — it tastes as filthy as an old-fashioned cheese-burger, but it’s plant-based all the way! Join our revolution - you will save yourself and the universe - whilst eating a properly delicious burger. Here’s how: Our burger gives you 3 of your essential 10 a day We only use sustainably sourced produce It’s completely planet friendly Perfect for the January hang-over you’re pretending you don’t have… Welcome to the GUILT FREE FAST FOOD F!LTH BURGER Even when it’s bad, it’s good... AND HERES THE THING. For the first three days were giving away 50 free burgers on a first come first serve basis. And there on after we have hidden tickets in meals for free burgers. We just wanted to thank you for your patience. @filthfoods for PR enquiries @antonyrettie @anteatercomms
London’s vegan fast food — and approach to plant-based dining — have grown exponentially in the last year. Between numerous vegan restaurant openings and residencies, a clutch of diverse approaches have sprung up: ‘wellness’ operators continue to focus on smoothies and energy balls built for ‘nutrition,’ rather than gastronomy; restaurants like Cook Daily focus more on building a food culture centred on diversity and respect for dishes emulated; mock meats and imitations continue to thrive. The mainstream, and therefore white vegan narrative continues to both ignore and take from cuisines that are vegan or vegetarian by history, culture, tradition, scarcity, and necessity, by designating them “flexitarian.”
Erskine and Ferguson’s Filth is joining an already thriving plant-based junk food restaurant scene, but is, unlike Temple of Seitan, eschewing meat substitutes. It’s a new entry cut from similar cloth, a burger restaurant as well as a plant-based one, and it will be interesting to see how its residency plays out as a restaurant appealing to sustainability and enjoyment over the fact, and identity, of being vegan.