Rudy's Dirty Vegan Diner review: Quality comfort food in Camden

In my last post, I wrote a bit about trying to support vegan-owned businesses as much as possible. With that in mind, when I found myself in Camden with a few hours to kill, I pitched up at Rudy's Dirty Vegan Diner.

Rudy's is in the middle of Camden Market, and like most traders in Camden market, not actually all that easy to find. It's somewhere past Cyberdog and the Amy Winehouse statue, if that helps. Look for a cheeseshop, and it's opposite that, with a large fibreglass cow outside. (I like to imagine the dirty looks that go on between a cheese shop and a vegan diner when they're just a few feet apart -- maybe that's what makes Rudy's a dirty vegan diner?!)

After those of a herbivorous persuasion have bypassed the cheese shop, they can settle down in Rudy's. It's got great high ceilings, some high tables for those with longer legs, and some with banquettes for those of us with shorter trotters. You order at the counter, and then get given one of those buzzer things that vibrates frantically to tell you to go and pick up your dinner. I think the last time I saw them in action were pub in Australia a good few years ago. (Aussie friends, is that still a thing?)

The menu at Rudy's is on the short side (you can find it on Facebook here). There's a few burgers, a couple of other main options -- a sarnie, a salad, a hot dog -- as well as a few sides, and that's it.

On the beverage side, there are some amazing sounding shakes -- all served out of Rudy's own dedicated milkshake bar. I would have loved to have tried one, but the bar looked to be out of action, and my tiny student wallet coudn't cope with spending £5 on a milkshake (I blame too much watching Pulp Fiction in my formative years).

I went a bit rogue, and decided to make a meal out of sides, like it was ten years ago and I was trying to get fed in an omni restaurant. I went for mac and cheese, because I always do, with colesalw on the side. How wrong could I go with two stone cold classics?

Mr Flicking the Vs, who always wins at dinner, won this time too by choosing the reuben with fries. As a confirmed seitan skeptic, I marvelled at how the loathesome taste and texture of the stuff had disappeared under the pastrami spicing, and how all the second fiddle ingredients -- sauerkraut and reuben sauce, I'm looking at you -- all came together in a satisfying whole.

The coleslaw was just as it should be, somewhere between crisp crunch and drowning in mayonnaise, and the chips were better than most diners' I could name.

The mac, though, the mac. The mac made me a sad Joey. For me, the mac should be taking a light bath in the cheese sauce, not a parsimonius shower. Rudy's looked more like it was having a bed bath -- the sauce was a bit lighthanded, and had all but disappeared as the mac cooled. I can tell you that because *whisper it* I just couldn't finish it. Not finishing a dish I've paid for and looked forward to feels is a bit like considerng cutting off my leg -- something I'd need a pretty compelling reason to even contemplate.

It was a bum note among lots of good dishes, and I plan to eat my way through the rest of the menu when I get a chance. Maybe I'll even have saved up £5 by then. Meet you by the milkshake bar?

Rudy's Dirty Vegan Diner 
Camden Stables Market
Unit 729-731
London NW1 8AH


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  1. I would go for the mac and cheese above the reuben but you are making me feel I would be making the wrong decision! But as meatloaf says, two out of three aint bad!

  2. Definitely on my "to do list" the next time i'm in London! (hope it's soon!)


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