I don’t know about you but even when I ate meat, I was never really one for a kebab. The glistening spinning pole of ‘Döner’ meat would often make me feel more queasy than the night’s drink had, and yet, I’ve definitely had my fair share of them. They’re generally only edible by drunk people in the early hours and I think What The Pitta may do themselves a disservice by choosing the Döner over the slightly more bourgeoisie ‘boujie’ shish kebab.
THE VENUE: If you’ve never been to Boxpark, Shoreditch, you really should! In simple terms, its a ‘shipping container, pop-up mall for independent and global, fashion and lifestyle stores and cafes’, with lots of great little places, although not all cater for vegans. Wooden benches, fairy lights and an open roof – perfect for summer evenings.
THE MENU: There are only around 5 items on the menu but our guess is you’ve come here for one thing and one thing only – The VeganDöner. Consider planning a return trip, though, and you could sample their Turkish Pizza, Couscous and Salad boxes or even their mixed meze.
THE CREW: Not only do they serve kebabs, it resembles your classic kebab shop too. As soon as you walk in you’re greeted warmly and explained the menu – don’t worry we’d already stalked your Instagram. So we had a quick chat and get right down to business.
THE BREW: A reasonable selection of drinks and they’re all included in the meal deal, although you’ll add a little extra for a beer (Five Points IPA or Pilsner). I love that they stock drinks from Karma Cola – if you’re unfamiliar with their work go take a look at what they do. The vibe is clear with this place and it’s consistent to its very core.
THE FOOD: We waited around 7-8 minutes, our soya mince cooking in front of us. Succulent, marinated chunks being tended to right before our eyes. I panicked. Am I ready for this?! What if it’s so good I will never be able to eat anything else again? What if my nose and eyes have been deceived and it’s a huge letdown? As beads of sweat began to form on my forehead, I realized it was being wrapped up in freshly made pitta. I agreed to all of the salad bar the chilis and when asked about sauces my instincts kicked in ‘No Mayo, please… I’m ve-‘, I stopped. We shared a brief pause. “We are a vegan place” he reminded me, “We make all of our own sauces.”
I unwrapped the kebab and it smelt, felt and looked incredible. I dove in, face first. It was amazing. Real texture to the ‘meat’ and fantastic flavours. The homemade wrap was great, not too doughy or thick. The salad fresh and flavoursome. The sauces were not only delicious but in the perfect quantities. This kebab was so good it made all other kebabs look like a BTEC food course making sausage rolls.
Then I remembered, ‘The chips! We got a meal deal!’. I tore open the packet and dove into the paprika sprinkled fries. I opened the homemade mayo and ketchup pots and dipped to my heart’s content. There was one problem though, perhaps my own error, the chips were a little cold and also crispy, like they’d been refried or reheated. Yet, still, I ate some more just to get more of the delicious mayo (please feel free to send me that recipe, or I can pay you. Please.).
I eat a lot, usually around 2800-3000kcal a day, so i’m no stranger to big meals but this did require a break before i finished it. The portions are great and I saw a delighted American lady in awe at her Couscous box, We are not in Pret anymore!
THE VERDICT: “This is a kebab you will want to remember the next day! Fantastic flavours combined with great staff and location. The meal deal for £12 is reasonable value but I really think they’d benefit from some chunkier chips!”
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