By Chloe's breakfast and Nosteagea's bubble waffles: A tale of two vegan meals

When I saw US vegan chain By Chloe was opening in Soho, I made a mental note to get down there as soon as I could get the time. I'd seen the pictures on Twitter, checked out the menu online, and one morning I was passing by that way, I stopped in for breakfast.

My breakfast ended up being up a memorable meal, just not in a good way. I don't like complaining about places, let alone all vegan places, but I found the whole thing a bit of a let-down. I guess part of the problem for By Chloe is that expectations around any vegan restaurant opening are so high, especially one that's already built up an all-star reputation across the pond, the reality will always fall a bit on short.

So, combine the high profile with some high prices and some less than stellar food, and the experience is all a big bag of shrug. 

The menu is split into burgers, salads, pasta, sides, and brunch stuff, as well as 'London by Chloe', a section dedicated to English classics with a bit of a post-war, Dick van Dyke vibe to them (this is an excellent idea on By Chloe's part. There's never enough tofish and chips in the world for my liking). 

Despite the awkward hour of my arriving, By Chloe was respectably heaving: the vegan and vegan-curious had turned out in force. Given there's also not enough vegan brunch in the world for my liking, I chose an Early Bird - scrambled tofu, maple sausage, market greens, spinach and seven grain toast. Sounds like a good idea, huh?

The reality was a bit different:

£9 in central London doesn't even buy you a whole slice of bread, or indeed any vegan butter for the bread. It doesn't get you any dressing for the salad either. The bisected bread felt distinctly on the mean side, while the rest of it was more clumsy oversight.

The maple sausage was made with lots of good things, like lentils, beans, and nuts, but working the way through the nut-studded-yet-damp texture was a bit like eating a mouthful of the Thames foreshore. The scramble actually tasted pretty decent - a step up from the average tofu - but was stone cold, and dribbling water (scramble juice?) On the side was a small tub of what might have been sriracha's more astringent cousin: all the heat without much flavour. I have an awful feeling this is what carnists think vegans all eat and laugh at them for it. 

In short, I didn't love it. I wanted to, but I couldn't. Maybe by Chloe was having an off day when I visited, maybe the place hasn't hit its stride yet, maybe the cook who made it was hungover. I really like By Chloe's menu ideas, so I'd give the place another go if I was in the area. I'll be bringing my own sriracha, mind.

And onto Nosteagia. A couple of people had mentioned that there was a place in Shoreditch selling vegan bubble waffles to me (thanks, friendly waffle spotters!), so I had to stick my snout in. 

Nosteagia is a tiny little place on the top floor of Boxpark, where you can grab bubble tea, bubble waffles, and sundaes, all with a lot of vegan choices - in fact, the first thing I saw on the menu was this week's vegan special. Hurrah for places that have vegan specials! And not just vegan specials, but really, really good vegan specials!

I got my waffle on with this beauty, the Oh My Coconut - a bubble waffle cone with Oreos, banana, sauce and the vegan ice cream special of the week, mocha. If I had to choose only one ice cream flavour to eat for the rest of my evening, it would probably be mocha, that's how much I loved it.

The waffles aren't cheap - mine was £8.50. But you know what? I didn't begrudge a penny of it. I ate the whole thing smiling, because it was that good, and that fun, and the people behind the counter were so nice. £8.50 for a big waffle and a bigger smile seemed like a bargain.

By Chloe
Drury House
34-43 Russell St
London WC2B 5HA

Unit 58, Boxpark Shoreditch
2-10 Bethnal Green Road
London E1 6GY


  1. WOW! The eats look great! YUM!

  2. Such a disappointment about By Chloe! However, that Nosteagia waffle is something else!

  3. What a shame about Chloe. I hadn't heard of it but appreciate knowing I can give it a miss! The waffle breakfast looks magnificent though.

  4. I would go for that waffle cone any day, every day, it looks amazing!!!

  5. Didn’t Chloe actually leave the franchise though?


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