Hackney’s reputation as a hotspot for veganism was cemented by the opening in the borough of London’s first pub to fully boycott animal products.
The Spread Eagle, in upcoming hipster spot Homerton, has taken the borough’s steadily growing clutch of Vegan eateries to a new level by offering customers not only vegan food, but vegan drinks and animal-free furnitures.
When it opened its doors for the first time last Friday, the pub attracted a big crowd.
Owners Meriel Armitage and Luke McLaughlin, are determined to show Vegan versions of food and alcohol are just as appetising as their meat-based equivalents.
The pub will serve plant-based Mexican dishes from street food vendor Club Mexicana, also founded by Armitage.
“Just because food’s ethical doesn’t mean it can’t be naughty,” Armitage told the Evening Standard.
Dishes will take traditionally meat-based meals and give them a plant-based makeover. Mexican offerings include jackfruit carnitas; vegan chorizo and nachos topped with “cheez” made from soya and coconut oil.
There will also be vegan versions of classic pub food such as beer-battered “tofish” and chips.
“If you’re looking for chickpeas and chia seeds, you’ve come to the wrong place,” The Spread Eagle’s website says.
The drinks are also free from animal products. Armitage and McLaughlin are working with local brewers, including Haringey-based brewer, Beavertown, to supply beers without animal products. Traditionally, many brewers use isinglass, a fish bladder protein to strain drinks.
The pub has also replaced egg whites on its tequila sours with aquafaba, water from cooking seeds and pulses to froth the top of cocktails.
The furniture has been revamped by stripping the leather off the chairs and recovering them.
The arrival of The Spread Eagle coincide with a surge in enthusiasm for veganism as nearly 100,000 give up all animal products for this month’s Veganuary, compared to just over the 3,000 that took part when it was first launched in 2014.
In the past two weeks both Sainsbury’s and Britain’s biggest supermarket, Tesco, have launched their own vegan ranges.