Although British food has lingering hints of a bad reputation, it’s undeserved; and hearty pies are one of their traditional dishes. Luckily in London, vegans can enjoy them, too. Camden is home to many vegan eateries, offering vegan burgers and traditional global dishes sans animal products. However, vegan pies are currently quite a novelty; so I made my way to give on a try at Young Vegans before watching Akram Khan’s Roundhouse show, Until The Lions.
Young Vegans Pie Shop
A few picnic tables sit outside The Young Vegans Pie Shop, which has just four stools at counters inside. The menu contains a few varieties of savoury vegan pies, a handful of sides, drinks and a few desserts. The single pie looks petite, but bulked up with a side or two mini sides, the meal will keep you well-fueled for a few hours. The vegan fare is prepared fresh down the road, so the food is only heated in the oven at the small restaurant. Still, it’s very good.
‘Steak’ and Ale Vegan Pie
‘Meaty’ is a surprisingly apt adjective to describe the vegan steak and ale pie, created with seitan. Many small pieces and a few impressive chunks of the squidgy steak substitute can be found within the dark, rich gravy. The gravy was a bit too salty for my taste, but altogether, the flavours were much more rich and complex than anything I could have whipped up with vegetable proteins and a vegetable stock cube.
The flavorsome gravy also complemented the pie’s simple shortcrust – which wasn’t too thick, too rich or too buttery. In a few places I found the crust slightly dry and tricky to cut with the provided eco-friendly fork (not that I’m complaining about the eco-friendly initiative). But, all in all, vegans and omnivores alike will happily savour pies from Young Vegans.
Other vegan pie fillings at Young Vegans include the chicken parmigiana pie, the katsu chicken curry pie, a cheeseburger pie and an ‘All Day Breakfast’ pie with tofu, seitan and baked beans. If you want a sweet dessert pie (or ‘pudding’ as the Brits call it), you can choose between a mini pumpkin pie, an apple pie and a beautifully swirled peanut butter and chocolate mud pie.
Vegan ‘Macaroni and Cheese’
I skipped out on dessert, but ordered mashed potatoes and vegan macaroni and cheese to round out my dinner. (Thankfully, despite the mention of gravy being on the ‘sides’ menu, diners are offered gravy in addition to their sides, such as cheesy fries and minted peas.) As expected, the mash was nice and light, without milk and butter. With a light dusting of black pepper, the velvety smooth mashed potatoes were a great addition to the classic British dinner.
I chose the mashed potatoes as ‘dining insurance’; I knew they would be nice. I was less sure about the vegan macaroni and cheese… But it didn’t disappoint. Although the sauce betrays a suspiciously light grey undertone beneath the sprinkling of breadcrumbs, the mild cheese flavor satisfies the taste buds. The lady behind the counter explained that the vegan cheese substitute is made from a form of yeast. The subtle taste is hard to pinpoint, but combined with a creamy texture, the dish certainly passes as a valid substitute for macaroni and cheese.
The Young Vegans provide a good quality meal at great value. (A pie and 2 mini-sides cost £9.) Although I had a few small critiques about the food, I was thoroughly impressed by the vegan pie and would be happy to try additional varieties during future visits. Perhaps the chicken parmigiana next…
Young Vegans Pie Shop in ReviewTaste: 4.5 / 5
Taste: 4.5 / 5
Quality: 5 / 5
Value: 5 / 5
Service: 4 / 5
Ambiance: 3 / 5 – based on indoor seating, but I’m sure it’s nicer sitting outside on a summer’s day
Overall: 4.5 / 5
If You Go to Young Vegans Pie Shop in Camden, London
Address: 60 Camden Lock Place, London NW1 8AF
Nearest Underground Stations: Camden Town & Chalk Farm
Nearest Train Station: Camden Road
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday, 11:00 – 21:00
All information correct and up-to-date at time of posting.