For this carnivore, the idea of eating vegan food is a bit like the thought of going teetotal: yes, obviously there would be health benefits, but life would be a bit, well, rubbish, wouldn't it?
If you forgo the joy of a cold pint / double bacon cheeseburger, then what are you even living for? It’s basically clockwatching till death - which, thanks to your annoying, healthy lifestyle, will take ages to roll round.
So being invited to check out Genesis, the new vegan restaurant in Shoreditch, hardly flooded my stomach with anticipation. Indeed I’d have probably passed, if it weren’t for the presence of two vegans in the office (they walk among us, radiating vitality).
They assured me I’d love the experience; I had my doubts and planned to hit up Burger King on way home because, let’s face it, no way would my appetite be sated.
Yeah, turns out I, like Jon Snow, know nothing. Genesis is as good a meal as East London has to offer, and that’s saying a lot considering there's basically an Honest Burger on every corner. A starter plate of kimchi fries quickly assuaged any misgivings I had about spending the whole evening nibbling on lettuce.
The American Woman Burger is an flavour hit of creamy coleslaw, onion rings, jalapenos and BBQ sauce
Then we get to the good stuff. (Not to say the kimchi fries weren’t good, but good kimchi fries will be good kimchi fries wherever you order them, whereas the Genesis headline acts are something else.) My personal VIP was the American Woman Burger, an absolute flavour hit of creamy coleslaw, onion rings, jalapenos and BBQ sauce sandwiched in a brioche bun.
However it would be remiss not to mention the Kamut Mac & Cheese, recommended by our waitress, and with good reason. Honestly, I knew it wasn’t cheese, it couldn’t be cheese due to the whole animal thing, but by God it tasted like cheese, and not just any cheese but the best cheese, and as a lover of cheese the best cheese is a high bar indeed. I do not bestow such praise lightly but the Kamut Mac & Cheese deserves every word.)
Special shoutout to the cocktails: there are four on the menu and it’s worth trying them all, but if you’re being tight / sensible then order a Turmeric Margarita (I know, I know) and a Spirulina Colada. Fresh, light, and the closest alcohol will surely ever get to a health drink.
Whereas we felt full at the end of the meal, there was no nauseating sense of bloat
While my vegan buddies aren’t allowed near the copy, I’m assured by them that as vegan restaurants go, this is a particularly strong example of the breed.
The best part? Whereas we felt full at the end of the meal, happy and well-fed, there wasn’t the slightly nauseating sense of bloat that tends to accompany, say, a Tower Burger with cheesy fries, or a Meat Feast pizza (stuffed crust). It’s a bit like when you get drunk on really expensive alcohol: the hangover exists, but in a nice way, rather than ‘I am currently reassessing my life choices.’
Genesis, eh? It could be the start of something.
For more info, see Eat Genesis