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Losing my Rawligion

Off Tottenham Court Road, near Goodge Street station, there's a new raw place you might have heard about. People have been raving about their caramel shortcake, and celebrating another plant-based cafe opening in London.

Depending on who follow on Twitter or Insta, you might even have seen people calling it a vegan place. That's exactly what I saw, so I decided to go check it out. 

I was told by the perky staff that everything was vegan and vegetarian, which would have been great news, if it were true. Most of it is indeed vegan, but there's some dishes with honey in, and one thing with dairy in -- that caramel shortcake. 

Normally when people tell me everything is vegan and vegetarian, I don't bother reading the ingredients to see if there's anything animal-derived included. Handily, Rawligion does list the ingredients under every dish -- and they're clear that there's dairy in the shortcake. To be fair to Rawligion, the cafe doesn't claim to be vegan and the v word doesn't appear on its website, so you can't blame them for not stocking all-vegan food. Maybe someone should tell the staff though: in an age of dairy allergies and veganism, telling people everything's vegan when it's not is probably a lousy idea.

Brief rant over, how's the eats? Though Rawligion has a couple of small tables, the music is club-loud and the decor is a bit hectic, so it's more of a grab-and-go place.

If you're after liquid refreshments, there's lots of creative juices to be had (albeit ones that are significantly more costly than most London pints) and coffee too. For more solid sustenance, there's a fridge with lunch or breakfast dishes, and desserts.

For hungry raw-ists, there's courgette marinara, thai slaw, a raw wrap, and a Lebanese box with hummus-type dip, raw falafels and tabbouleh.

I picked up some rather good-looking sushi, with cauliflower taking the place of the sushi rice. The cauliflower is wrapped around veggies like pepper and cauliflower topped with alfalfa sprouts and vegetable caviar. There's a side of tamari if you're in a dipping mood. While my home experiments with cauliflower rice have been pretty dismal, I've generally enjoyed it every time I've had it in sushi - and Rawligion's was equally pleasing. For a vegetable known for its blandness, Rawligion gets bonus points for packing in the flavour into its sushi and still making it pretty as a picture.

For dessert, I steered clear of the dairy-carrying shortcake in favour of the pancakes, which are equally good looking with their pastel shades and flour garnishes. While they were full of good fruity taste, the textures were a bit jarring -- the pancakes were amazingly soft despite being raw, but the filling was weirdly robust, which is equally surprising, given how lovely and pillowy raw cashew icing can be.

Rawligion, then, is a vegan-friendly place, but not a vegan place, so don't forget to check the ingredients as you would in any non-vegan establishment. Other than that, the menu's worth a cautious explore, if you're feeling flush or looking for raw food in the centre of London.

3 Tottenham Street

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  1. What interesting looking sushi, especially with the cauliflower rice.

    There was one joint in town that used to be vegetarian/vegan, but somehow they came to the decision - and went all vegan!

  2. If all of their dishes look and taste as good as their sushi and dessert pancakes, then they can be forgiven for having a few vegetarian items and loud club music. :-)

  3. We've just had a new place open in Manchester and people rushed down to the new 'vegan bakery' which of course wasn't a vegan bakery but had some vegan items. The fault in this case was the Manchester Evening News printing the wrong info in their article and getting everyone excited! I ate a LOT of cauli rice last year when Matt and I did the 5:2 diet. We found we liked it best when it was very lightly cooked in some stock.

  4. Wow — the sushi is so pretty! I need to work on my sushi creativity instead of always making boring (though still delicious) versions. I always assume vegetarian means eggs and dairy — at least it does here — and vegan means only plants. Some people, though, seem to think bees are plants.

  5. Unfortunate about the dairy dessert (and surprising, too!) but that is some seriously good looking sushi. Raw rolls can be really hit or miss, so it seems that this place is a keeper overall. Maybe someone can help them craft a more vegan-friendly shortcake - hint hint. ;)

  6. I encounter honey at times in raw food but have never heard of raw food with dairy - that is worrying that the staff member did not know - but good they have ingredients - sometimes I feel that sometimes what I am told and what is in food is not always the same but without an ingredients list who knows

  7. What a shame about the shortcake but your choices look divine!

  8. Oooh that sushi is gorgeous! I'm not a picky eater but the idea of caulirice freaks me out. I would try it, but I might grumble at first! Unless it looked this pretty - then I'd be all in :)

  9. I've had Rawligion described to me as a vegan place too, so surprising to find out it's not! Glad I've been warned though! Also I've just checked Happycow and it just mentions honey but not dairy (I've just reported it to Happycow). They should definitely label that caramel shortcake prominently as containing dairy - or better yet just veganise it ;) Anyway, will have to check out that sushi sometime! How was the tomato in there? I made tomato tuna the other day and was surprised how well tomato went in sushi (though mine looked and tasted different to plain tomato, and I'd marinated it in oil and kelp powder - will post it soon)! Tomato always seemed like a weird addition to sushi until now.

  10. Cauliflower rice in sushi is something I've never heard of and now really want to try! It's a shame the place wasn't as plant-based as people suggested. Vegan caramel shortcake would be such a big hit, what a missed opportunity!


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