Walk down past the buzz and shimmer of Kingsland Road and you’ll find Haunt. Perched on the corner of Stoke Newington High Street, the impressive exterior houses a dynamic hub of club nights, monthly cabaret, live music gigs and talks in its basement venue, and some of the most renowned vegan eats in the city in its ground floor bar and restaurant.
Comprising a rotating selection of craft beers, signature cocktails and eco-friendly wines, the drinks menu offers a great choice of tipples - all 100% animal-friendly. I opt for a glass of pinotage (£5.60) from Stellar Winery, one of South Africa’s largest producers of organic, fair trade and vegan-friendly wines. Its delicate texture and soft, fruity flavour stand in stark comparison to the whacking great burgers that have just crashed down on the table.
One for the particularly filthy vegan, the kitchen here is run by Biff’s Jack Shack. King when it comes to big, greasy burgers, juicy ‘wings’ and loaded fries, you may have caught Biff’s in pop-up form around the London gastro-markets, but they’ve been the junk foodies in-residence at Haunt since November 2017. Weighed down by a crispy jackfruit patty, smoked vegan cheese, onion rings and bacun jam, my Father Jack burger (£9) all but disintegrates after a few mouthfuls. Even the most seasoned burger-eaters - including the ones with the failsafe holding hacks - will be scraping up morsels of jackfruit and cheese with their hands by the end of the meal.
Across the table my friend is also making a pig's ear of her Jacksu burger (£9), spilling Japanese pickles and katsu sauce all over the place in an attempt to get her chops around a giant piece of tempura broccoli. The accompanying Bang Bang Fries (£5) offer a steaming mass of hot, crunchy fries topped with cinnamon, sweet chilli, miso mayo and hazelnuts that were made for shovelling into your mouth by the fistful.
We round off the meal with a couple of cocktails and a pud. Sipping on the Syconium (£7.50), the phrase ‘simple but effective’ comes to mind. Sweet and punchy, the concoction features just Early Times bourbon and Esprit de Figues on ice. The pudding, is anything but simple. We’re brought a huge slice of the Holy Fudgin’ Hell (£5), an Oreo-based, coffee ice-cream centred, sticky-fudge and candied pecan-topped mound of pure sugar that leaves both of us loosening belt buckles.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Cruelty-free, environmentally sound and damn delicious, the Haunt offers fast food and drink without the bad karma or the carbon footprint. With Biff’s Jack Shack serving up gut-busting grub, and the bar bringing you the best in organic tipples, the friendly and chilled-out spot should be making it onto the must-visit list for vegans and non-vegans alike. Looking for something a little more private? You can hire out the entire basement (yes, the entire basement) for everything from Christmas bashes and birthdays to corporate events.