If you listened to people who spoke sense, you'd never eat anything bigger than your head. Pfffft. Some of the best eating experiences of my life have involved eating mountainous amounts of food and then having to lie down for hours afterwards while all my blood flow concentrates on my stomach.
I had another such eating experience not so long at Shoreditch's Pump street food market (yes, the confluence of the words 'Shoreditch', 'PUMP' (to give it its full nom de cuisine) and 'street food' makes me boke a bit, but that's me being irrationally unfair to East London).
Pump (I refuse to write PUMP more than once. Oh, alright, twice then, you accuracy fiends) is now playing host to an entirely vegan doner kebab stand, What The Pitta.
Don't go to What The Pitta when you're feeling pressed for time, because crafting each one of these bad boys - and crafting is very much the word - takes a lot longer than you might think. Do go to What The Pitta when you're feeling hungry though, because they are huge. To be more accurate, for those accuracy fiends, these are HUGE. I might even go so far as to say they are HUUUUUUUGE. Even with my vast stomach capacity, I struggled at the end.
But the sheer size of the kebab wasn't the only thing that made me happiest about What The Pitta. The thing that made me happiest was that they make their own flatbreads. No packet nonsense for them, no. Order a kebab, and the first thing that will happen is that there will be a beautiful, silky sheet of dough put onto one of those plate that crepes are cooked on, and will sizzle happily until it becomes a warm, soft flatbread.
Inside that lovely flatbread is all the fixings you'd expect to find in a classic doner, only they're all vegan, and they're all fab.
The 'meat' in this production is played by seitan, and it has none of the faults that wheat meat can be dogged by. No dry and chewy seitan, this - it's moist, juicy, and delicious. Alongside all that are some crunchy salad in the form of cucumber, tomato, and red cabbage. And there are sauces too - chilli if you're a hot head, or yoghurt if you'd rather a more cool approach. Or, if you can't decide, you can have both. Why have one delicious vegan sauce when you can have two?! If you've decided to order a What The Pitta kebab, you've already committed to overdoing it, so I'd go the twosome. That's what I did, and I regret it not at all.
I can't say kebabs were one of things that I missed when I gave them up to go vegan, but then again, the kebabs I remember were never as good as this one.
Another caveat - best not to go to What The Pitta if you're on a first date. Eating one of these forearm-sized kebabs is a very messy matter - as you near the end you'll end up with a pinkish mix of chilli and yoghurt sauces all over your face and down your wrists.
That said, make sure you do take someone you really like there at some point - because if you buy them a What The Pitta vegan doner kebab, they're pretty much guaranteed to fall in love with you.
What The Pitta
Find them at:
The Pump Shoreditch
168-175 Shoreditch High Street