I know that a lot of people are saying that 'veganism is having its moment', but I think a little different. Veganism has had its moment (there are currently over 3 million vegans in the UK), meaning now is an exciting time for veganism to get creative. It's here to stay, so now is a time for restaurants and brands to really stand out. And how do you do that? Seitan burgers are here for the long haul, vegan ice cream remains impressive and y'all know the vegan carbonara is on the up, so what next? The Brook think that the next step is vegan tapas, and i'm well on board.
Already located in Wallington, The Brook is currently crowdfunding for a permanent London restaurant, but that hasn't stopped them launching a Hackney pop-up in the middle of Mare Street. And while it's got the classic East London look of bare-brick and inspirational neon, I wasn't here for the cutesy, Pinterest-perfect interiors, I had vegan scallops on my mind...
You know what The Brook did from the get-go? They excited me. I've gorged on Temple of Seitan burgers and i've flitted with a Tibits couscous, but The Brook have a menu that is also here to play ball. While we toyed with a portion of jackfruit quesadillas and almost got lost in a sea of beer-battered guac balls, our selection of tapas reflected a truly hungry and excited duo.
While the buttered marsala corn at £3.70 (chaat marsala applied via the medium of a dusted lime wedge) boasted an interesting and tarty tang to an already favourite vegetable of mine, the cajun 'nugz' were wholesome and hearty, with a BBQ sauce that helped to break up the wealthy load you're served. Heavy hitters came in the form of tofish bites (£6) and a vegan scallops. Both deceptive in texture and flavour, The Brook not only used seaweed sheets to introduce an ocean taste to the beer-battered bites, the hickory-smoked scallops had just the right level of seasoning for a salt-fiend like me.
The DesignMyNight Digest
The Hackney Citizen did a piece on The Brook, calling it a restaurant for the 'vegan-curious', and I couldn't agree more. While still catering to the vegan junk-food community with the likes of their seitan nuggets, The Brook have managed to deviate from average vegan openings and launch a new wave of cruelty-free dining that is perfect for explorers.
The Brook, Hackney can be found at 171 Mare Street, E8 3RH.