#MeatFreeMonday on Twitter turns attention to our need to be more conscious in our eating. While some vegans may argue that a simple hashtag is far from revolutional none can deny that it is a still a step towards showing compassion towards the treatment of animals, the environment and as well breadth of vegan bites where availability and variety are concerned.
With this in mind a mission erupted to share existing and forthcoming vegan spots in London.
Canal Café is on the Camden Lock and offers views that can take the mind far away to peace over a Chia & Coconut Pudding or a plate of Raw Cannelloni dressed in the finest of greens. The menu is extensive and throws easy shade on pessimists that claim vegan diets to be limited.
To start, teasing my then growling stomach pains, the Olive Grissini with generous serving spoons of hummus, two stuffed vines leaves decorated delicately with strong purple hues of edible flowers. When this starter arrived I thought that the chances of being able to comfortably bed my main on top were extremely slim. It turns out that what appeared to be a doorstop of a starter was a perfect compliment to the portion size of the homemade vegan lasagne which I devoured later .
The homemade hummus both creamy and smooth in texture. The grissini elegant in length, all individual in their bumps and curves housed olive pieces that popped on contact with the tongue. Vine leaves moist to touch, tender but not over soaked in juices to give the appearance of shiny lips from sizeable bites courtesy of the brine glistening their exteriors. The rice inside cold, as expected, but maintained a sticky fragrant rice-like impression.
With any plate or beverage that wears the name of the establishment deserves a look over with a fine tooth comb and a magnifying glass. The Canal Café Veggie Burger with a side chips and ketchup was decided on without hesitation.
It took one bite to drive home the realisation that the veggie burger was performing below expectation. Like a true advocate of positive change, believing that Canal Café beamed and delivered in substantial part where flavour and satisfaction were concerned, I voiced my concerns.
Christian, who gave the demeanour of successful multi-tasker who is orientated around valuable customer experience heard my views and acted with sincerity. The truth was, by Christian’s disposal, that Canal Café had recently changed it supplier and the veggie burger was one of their new additions however, the lack of flavour, seasoning relinquished the odds of this particular burger from making a cameo.
My replacement, the homemade vegan lasagne was indeed special. Drizzled with a fresh batch of pesto which sat in contract to the red of the slow cooked ragu, resembling the traditional colour scheme of merry Christmas but satisfied in anticipation and flavour. The chef responsible is said to have learnt to make lasagne in Italy from the age of five. Testimonial to the fact that practice does indeed make perfect.
The potato gnocchi dressed in sage, walnut and cashew sauce provide texture but a combination of flavours that worked in harmony. While the appearance of the dish is one that would fail to appease a food aesthetics committee the nutty combination is a perfect suitor for gnocchi. More sage and a sprinkle of rock salt and pepper, by my own admission, would have transformed this dish. Prior to these edits the homemade gnocchi still comes highly recommend.
Fancy an alcoholic tipple, the vegan way? Canal Café have that too! Observe the icy high winds of London cupping an Irish coffee regaining strength to fight another day against the cold weather. Feel ready to face the world turbo powered on greens, beans and all sorts of natural foodie things with a stomach fed with natural goodness.
Canal Café has started a regular spoken word event alongside their existing jazz on Sunday shindig. Both worth keeping an eye on if you like to eat well and be entertained simultaneously.