November marks World Vegan Month and to celebrate, team Foodism have been out and about snooping in the kitchens of our favourite vegan restaurants in London so that you nosey lot can have a sneak peek, too.
Our Plant-Based Plates series is a celebration of all the best vegan spots in the city; of the the restaurants, cafes and fast-casual spots going that extra mile to make plants really, really sexy – whether that's in the form of shakes, burgers, tempeh-topped salads or indulgent-as-you-like cupcakes.
For our first shoot location, we headed to The Vurger Co. in Shoreditch, one of London's original cult vegan burger spots. The Vurger Co. serves black bean and corn fritter patties piled high with salad and vegan Gouda from its location in the square opposite Rich Mix cinema. Founders Rachel and Neil, decade-old vegans, make vegan fast food like bleeding burgers, creamy mac and cheese and Kentucky bites from plants and alternative meats. They're also London-famous for their plant-based milkshakes, wobbling high with (plant-based, of course) squirty cream. Rumour has it that they were so good on the day of the Foodism shoot, in-house videographer (and committed vegan) O'Shaya went back the following weekend to get another.
Ready for a sneak peak behind the plant-based scenes? Keep watching, and read on to hear a little from Elly Smart, food development chef, about how the burger joint started out.
Behind the scenes at The Vurger Co.
As well as shooting with us, Elly (@ellysplate) also sat down with is to tell us a bit more about their business.
Tell us a little bit about how The Vurger Co. initially came to be.
Back in 2016, the founders Rachel and Neil went on holiday to LA. Back then, veganism wasn't quite as accessible as it is now. Whilst they were there, they saw the abundance of plant based food on offer and began to wonder why London's offerings were so sparse. The Vurger Co. was born from very humble beginnings; they started as a market stall which quickly snowballed into the two restaurants we have now, and we were very lucky to have a lot of buzz around the burgers from day one. We've got amazing customers who have been visiting since we first opened in 2016. The first restaurant opened in Shoreditch and we now have a branch in Canary Wharf, also. We're aiming for world domination, obviously, so we've got many more things to come.
What was on the menu when you first opened and what are the newest additions since then?
From the beginning until now, we've always focused on revolutionising vegan fast food through the power of plants in their rawest format. Still to this day, most of our patties are made out of vegetables and legumes, with bases if chickpeas, black beans and other delicious veggies without needing to make it into a mock meat. Back in 2016, everything was purely vegetable based and we had two burger options, the Classic and the Auburger. Since then, we have introduced some mock meats in the form of the Beyond patty and some mock chicken This! Isn't chicken Kentucky bites.
From the beginning until now, we've always focused on revolutionising vegan fast food through the power of plants
I think what this has done has opened the market to everyone being able to try, so whether you're a vegan who doesn't like mock meat alternatives and would rather stick with the more traditional plant based, whole foods approached or whether you're a non-vegan who's really intrigued about the mock meat element of the vegan diet and fancy trying it, there's something for everyone.
We actually get so many non-vegans through the door now to try our New York melt, which is the Beyond patty with double cheese on top (it's amazing). So many customers like that one so much that they come back to try the other, vegetable-based patties. They slowly realise that actually, veggie burgers are good. They've been given a bad name for so long but actually, they can be great. Beans aren't bad guys! Beans are so good!
Plus, everything is made at our own production facility so we can guarantee it's all vegan and gluten free. There's so much love put into every patty and every single one is handmade. It's a lovely start to finish production line. A lot of love goes into them.
What are the most ordered dishes at The Vurger Co.?
That's such a hard question. I feel like most people now, depending on whether they're looking for a mock meat option or a veggie option, will go for the New York melt, which is the Beyond patty with double vegan Gouda, tomatoes and burger sauce, or if they want to go for a more veggie option they'll go for our Classic, which is a really old-school recipe that's been revamped over the years. It's a black bean and chargrilled red pepper patty. Our most popular side dish is the mac n cheese, an OG from the launch menu, plus the new Kentucky bites, served with BBQ sauce, are super popular.
Plus, everyone normally orders a shake. Of course a shake! Our Oreo is super popular, our Biscoff also flies. If they're not your thing, check in on our specials. For Autumn at the moment, we're running two Chai Latte and Pumpkin Spice shakes.
Who's the most famous person that's eaten a Vurger Co. burger?
We're lucky enough to have done quite a few collaborations, such as with chef Chloe of By Chloe. when we were last over in America, and we also work closely with vegan chef Gaz Oakeley of Avant Garde Vegan. He started just running a few menu collaborations, but has since become our executive chef, working really closely on all our new recipe developments and specials.
Lucy Watson also came down last year, and we're also getting vegan food bloggers rocking up for burgers, fries and shakes. It's always a laugh.
For more information about the team and their products, head to thevurgerco.com