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South London vegan favourites: From pizza to brunch and bahn mi

This is a post dedicated to all the food I've been enjoying that I've not been cooking myself. (The fact that someone else cooks food for me greatly increases my ability to enjoy it. Even a sandwich tastes better when it hasn't been through my kitchen before it reaches my face...)

I've been revising for the next set of exams (hello there, endocrinology!) and every so often, the dank hours in my revision prison get too much, I prod Mr Flicking the Vs to come out for lunch.

One Sunday, we were cruising for somewhere to have Sunday lunch in Crystal Palace, and stumbled on the excellent news that the pizza mini-chain 400 Rabbits introduced a vegan pizza for Veganuary. Turns out that its use of peanut butter as a pizza topping generated a few headlines, and enough interest to convince it to keep a plant-based pizza on the menu when Veganuary ended. The peanut butter fell by the wayside (which is either a massive relief or a huge disappointment, depending on your culinary predilections), and 400 Rabbits' vegan pizza now looks like this:

I'm normally a take-or-leave pizza kind of lass, but if anyone tried to take this, I would have stabbed them with my fork. I ate the whole thing, even though it was probably more food than I needed for a couple of days. I felt like one of those pythons that manage to dislocate their jaw so they can swallow  I really don't like non-nut cheese on my pizza, so I was more delighted than I should be to see all sorts of toppings, without the telltale used-jockstrap smell of melting Gary. Instead there was radish, courgettes, garlic and pine nut pesto, pumpkin seeds, tomato and thyme.

I also give 400 Rabbits props for having a solid beer list, all labelled as v or vg accordingly to their veggie and vegan friendliness. I greatly appreciate when eateries do that, so I rewarded 400 Rabbits for such excellent foresightedness by taking full advantage of the vg brews.

My favourite I've-just-got-to-get-away-from-my-desk-before-my-brain-explodes food stop is Broca in Brockley. It's not huge, but there's always solid vegan options on the menu and the pricing is definitely friendly for London.

Here's the Broca brunch:

For £7.50, there's salad, toast, sausage, tofu slices, baked beans, wedges, and some roasted squash, I think, for good measure. My non-vegan companion was suitably convinced by the proposition to get one too!

And while said friend tapped out after brunch, I decided to continue my gustatory marathon by purchasing a huge slice of carrot and walnut cake:

Apart from the fact this was a solid, stick to your ribs slice of cake joy, I loved that when I went to the counter to ask if they had any vegan cake, the staff had an in-depth back-and-forth as to whether they had any non-vegan cake in stock. Turns out they didn't, and everything in the cake counter when I stopped in was entirely herbivore friendly. You can see why I love this place so much, can't you?

Much as I could eat pretty much all my meals in the Broca, bar the fact that my wallet might complain, I thought I should make an effort to check out some new vegan eateries. One street food joint that's been on my radar for a while is Eat Chay, an entirely plant-based Vietnamese company that does a neat line in bahn mi. 

There used to be a bahn mi place near one of my old offices, and every Friday I'd go and get the biggest, most overstuffed Vietnamese baguette I could, and spend the afternoon in a happy food coma. That was a while ago, and it's been many years since I've had a bahn mi that's half as good. 

Happily, my bahn mi drought is all over, for I have found Eat Chay. 

This was my baguette, stuffed with chilli lemongrass soya, mushroom and walnut pate, sriracha mayo, pickled carrots, coriander, cucumber, and crispy onions. Yep, there's more elements in harmony there than a male voice choir on a team bonding day.

I should add, the day I made the journey to find Eat Chay (at Kerb on West India Quay), it was one of the coldest days of the year, and I was shivering while my baguette was being made. Happily, it was one cracking baguette. If hypothermia is the price I have to pay for bahn mi heaven, count me in.

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  1. Uhhh I am yet to find a decent local bahn mi. This one looks like carb HEAVEN!

  2. This is some good food! Glad you've managed to pick up some enjoyable eats when out of your own kitchen.

  3. I'm always in awe when you describe the vegan eateries in London, but I have to say the image of a python gorging down the pizza, takes the cake, so to speak. And the bahn mi has made me severely jealous. Hope the exams go well, but I suspect they will.

  4. that pizza looks so good but that bahn mi and the broca brekki look amazing - and I do love that they were just checking if there were any cakes that weren't vegan rather than opposite - wonder if that is an everyday thing with their cakes or the odd non vegan one slips through

  5. That is one good looking pizza! I admit I could easily put away a pizza pie all by myself too. And the brunch looks awesome but the best part is the discussion about whether or not there's any non-vegan cake. If only there was more talk like that around these parts... :-)


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