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Dirty vs clean: A vegan pizza faceoff at 400 Rabbits

Remember the bad old days, when hunting down good vegan pizza used to mean heading to Brighton to get fed at Purezza? Now, even Pizza Hut has vegan options and plant based pizza isjust a phone call away.

I'm more on the Purezza said of the equation than the Pizza Hut side - I like a big sourdough basd with those bubbles that have burnt a bit in the oven. Sadly for me, Purezza -- the first all-vegan pizzeria in England -- is on the other side of the Thames from me. North London has at least three vegan pizzerias, and South London? Zero. None. Not even one. It's a sad state of affairs for pizza minded vegans on the right side of the river.

While there's no plant based pizza slingers south of the river, there's definitely some good herbivore pizza to be had nonetheless.

Here's my hot tip for when you're Daaahhhn Saaaaarf and you need some vegan pizza sharpish: 400 Rabbits. There are three branches in South London and there's always a couple of vegan pizzas on the menu.

Their standard vegan offering is a radish and courgette pizza with pistou and tasted seeds, and very good it is too, but I've eaten it so many times to count. Happily, 400 Rabbits often have a vegan special. For Veganuary, there are two -- count them, two! -- new vegan specials, the dirty one and the clean one. Yes, that is what they're called. I know, I know, let's just look past that for now and crack on with eating pizzas.

According to 400 Rabbits, whichever of the two pizzas sells the most during January will get a permanent place on the menu. In the interests of fairness, me and Mr Flicking the Vs ordered one of each, in order not to throw the natural balance of the universe off.

This is the clean pizza, with portobello mushrooms, roasted cauliflower with green sauce, cauliflower leaves, lemon coconut yoghurt and aleppo chilli.

I've got a lot of time for chilli, mushrooms and cauliflower in however it chooses to dress up, and any sauce that just goes by a colour (because brown sauce and red sauce are both great, obviously). But the roast cauli puree as a base instead of tomato, I'm not convinced about. The cauliflower got lost and I felt like I was eating a bare pizza, or yoghurt mushrooms on a really big piece of toast (which actually sounds pretty good, come to think of it). I like a pizza that goes a bit free jazz when it comes toppings, but I still prefer a good tomato or squash base.

 On to the Dirty Pizza. There's vegan aausage, three vegan cheeses, crispy shallots, jalapeƱos, tomato and vegan Sriracha. As a confirmed fussy vegan cheese eater (made of nuts = vegan cheese heaven; made of coconut oil = would rather eat toenail clippings) this was not a pizza for me, which is a shame, as everything else on the Dirty Pizza sounds amazing. Mr Flicking the Vs, a big fan of all forms of vegan cheese, finished the whole thing.

At the end of January, one pizza will stay and one will go. If I could choose one, which would it be? I'm not a believer in food being clean or dirty, just good or bad, tasty or not tasty. I liked bits of both, but not everything. In an ideal world, I'd like something between the two. Insttead of Dirty or Clean, maybe a Bit Grubby, or In Need of a Wash, but Could Wear It Again at a Push?

400 Rabbits
30-32 Westow St
Upper Norwood
SE19 3AH

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  1. I think you have a future in naming pizzas if you ever decided to abandon your studies! It is a shame the cauli pizza didn't grab you - I still dream of recreating the amazing cauliflower pizza I had in sydney about 2 years ago - it was that good! Well at least you didn't buy more of one or the other so you will get votes as fence sitters :-)


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