It’s a rainy Saturday afternoon. Grey skies, seemingly endless London drizzle. There is only one place I want to seek refuge: in London’s first 100% vegan pub. The Spread Eagle in Homerton is one of East London’s oldest pubs and this January it embraced the UK’s fastest growing lifestyle. The food, drinks, fixtures and fittings are all plant-based and sourced sustainably, where possible. They have paper – not plastic – straws, my dudes!
And the food, oh the food! Regular readers of AGAV (Hi Mum!) will know I have the hots for Club Mexicana and rightly so. And looking at Spread Eagle’s menu – with Club Mexicana making 100% vegan and totally banging Mexican-inspired street food – it is seriously hard to choose from so many enticing dishes. If you’ve never tried any of their food before they say “If you’re looking for chickpeas and chia seeds, you’ve come to the wrong place! Heaped with handmade toppings just bursting with colours and flavour – guacamole, tomatillo salsa, sour cream, pink onions, pickled chillies, chimichurri, fresh lime and coriander, it is guaranteed to get your taste buds dancing!” They’re not wrong.
We settled in at the table we booked – and having seen how quickly it got really busy I would suggest you try and reserve a table if you can, although they do have seating at the bar and wotnot – and took in the lovely decor. Sumptuous velvet curtains and cocktail chairs that I totally want for my bedroom. Fancy pendant lights, a wall covered with photos of Prince; and the ladies’ loos were pink and tropical (perfect for late-night drunky photos with your girl gang, ya get me). It’s a beautiful pub and I love that pretty much every song I heard made me go “oh I love this!” and bop a little in my seat. I know. I am the female Milhouse, I’m very sorry.
If the music made me feel like dancing then the food gave me a whistle and a glow-stick. I ordered the Corn Esquites and Totopes (charred sweetcorn with puffed fried masa, “parmesan”, spring onions and lime) which honestly might be my favourite thing on the menu – so creamy and comforting and moreish.
The Pan Seared Scallops with mint salsa verde (actually made with King Oyster Mushrooms) looked fancy AF and tasted beautiful too. The Chick’n wings with hot sauce and sour cream were both tender and crispy; and my non-veg husband’s favourite.
We loved the Carne Asada tacos (even if my iphone did keep trying to call it an Asda Taco) with the marinated seitan, pink onions, salsa verde, arbol, chilli sauce and coriander. Also can we take a moment to say HOW PRETTY DOES ALL OF THIS FOOD LOOK. The colours are just ridiculously beautiful, right?
Full-disclosure: Club Mexicana’s Meriel actually bought over the Corn Tortilla Chips with salsa and guac for us, on the house, but I promise when I tell you that the guacamole is so creamy and fantastic it’s not because this dish was a freebie. It really is a perfect bar snack.
Unfortunately by this point I didn’t have room for any more food. Not the Triple Fried Potatoes with chipotle oil and sour cream which I had tried the week before and lurved, nor the Deep Fried Ice Cream with Salted Caramel which Club Mexicana posted on their Instagram Stories after I’d left which nearly had me running back to the Spread Eagle Forrest Gump-style. Not least as I’d love another of their perfectly-made Amaretto Sours.
Our waitress was lovely throughout the meal and as The Spread Eagle say their “doors are open to everyone (families and dogs included) and they cater to all manner of lifestyles” it really does feel welcoming and inclusive. And who doesn’t love a pub dog?
If you want to read more about this glorious pub they were featured on page 5 of the Frickin’ Observer and debated on Andrew Marr last weekend. Talk about veganism going mainstream in 2018! I’ll raise a glass (and a Tofish Finger Sandwich) to that!