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We tried (pretty much) all the new vegan junk food. Here’s our verdict

By
Ellie Walker-Arnott
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January is already a stellar month for vegans and vegetarians, thanks to a plethora of new and actually delicious dishes appearing on menus across London. (In more good food news: Pret has just added another 15 vegan items to its shelves.)

To save you wasting your pennies on any plant-based flops, the Time Out office has taken on the task of taste-testing the newbies – from Greggs’s new ‘steak’ bake to Yard Sale’s fresh range of vegan-friendly pizzas. Well, it was a tough job, but someone had to do it… 

Photograph: Pret

Pret’s vegan Very Berry Croissant, from £1.70 

What is it? 
Only Pret’s first EVER vegan pastry. It uses margarine and sunflower oil to try and recreate the buttery French classic. 

How does it look?
More like a turnover than a croissant actually. But those trademark flakes are there, absolutely slathered with jam and covered in sugar. 

Does it hit the spot?
‘I feel like I’ve eaten a tube of Love Hearts for breakfast – but I’m okay with it. If you picked this up and didn’t know what it was, you’d assume it was made with all the butter of a regular croissant.’ Ellie Walker-Arnott, Digital Editor.

What's the verdict? 4/5 

Photograph: Yard Sale

Yard Sale’s new vegan pizzas, £10/£19.90 

American Not 

What is it?
An American Hot pizza in disguise, ft vegan mozzarella and vegan pepperoni.

How does it look?
Like pepperoni from a distance, but up close the lack of grease gives those spicy slices away. Oh, and the vegan mozzarella looks a bit like toasted marshmallows.  

Does it hit the spot? 
‘The vegan pepperoni kind of worked and I loved the chillies. The only disappointment was the cheese. It lacked any discernible flavour. With this kind of pizza, you want the cheese to be a mixture of creamy and squeaky, which it failed to deliver IMO.’ Alim Kheraj, freelance writer.

The verdict? 3/5 

Texas VBQ 

What is it? 
A BBQ base covered in sweetcorn, chunks of This Isn’t chicken nuggets and a spicy vegan mayo. 

How does it look?
Pretty ace to be fair. It’s colourful, appealing and those chicken bits aren’t half convincing. 

Does it hit the spot?
‘The Texas VBQ was a great slice of pizza. I’m veggie and as far as I’m concerned, I just ate a delicious bit of chicken. There’s enough going on, flavour- and texture-wise, to keep the slice interesting. Dip the crust in that vegan garlic-and-herb dip and I’m happy. One hundred percent would eat again.’ EWA

The verdict? 5/5 

Magic Mushroom 

What is it? 
Mushrooms, truffle oil and no less than two vegan cheeses: mozzarella AND parmesan. 

How does it look?
Pale and interesting (it’s tomato-free) – and not at all like a substitute for something. That cheese looks legit. 

Does it hit the spot?
‘That’s the best vegan cheese I’ve ever tried. It tasted like actual ricotta. I loved the topping flavours and thought the crust was firm, crunchy and generally banging.’ Alexandra Sims, Deputy Events Editor.

The verdict? 4/5 

Photograph: Patty & Bun

Patty & Bun’s vegan Hot Chic Burger, £10 

What is it? 
It’s the Patty & Bun’s Hot Chic burger, but with a chunky This Isn’t fried chicken patty instead of an actual bit of bird. 

How does it look? 
Seriously good. It’s the stuff of vegan daydreams. 
The chicken has the same stringy consistency of meat while the batter is crisp and crunchy looking. 

Does it hit the spot? 
‘I’m a raging carnivore and have no interest in vegan food, but I was v v impressed. I wouldn’t have been able to tell it wasn’t chicken. My eyes have been opened! Tasty with a great crispy texture.’ Sarah Cohen, Deputy Chief Sub Editor.  

The verdict? 5/5 

Photograph: Greggs

Greggs’s Vegan Steak Bake, from £1.55 

What is it? 
The second Greggs pastry to get a vegan version. This is the steak bake, sans steak, and with a crispy vegan pastry shell. 

How does it look?
Like another £300 bonus. Hey, you don’t go to Greggs for the aesthetics. Let’s just say it looks pleasingly like the original steak bake. 

Does it hit the spot? 
‘Another banger from the high-street purveyor of plant-based pastry filth. If being a dirtbag tastes this good and doesn’t involve a whopping carbon footprint, I'm down.’ Sam Willis, Engagement Editor.  

The verdict? 5/5 

Photograph: Subway

Subway’s Meatless Meatball Marinara Melt, from £3.59 

What is it? 
Plant-based balls hanging out in a seeded sub with tomato sauce and melted vegan cheese. 

How does it look? 
Literally like every other Subway you've ever seen, so... delicious in shamelessly hungover kinda way.

Does it hit the spot? 
‘Hard to taste the meatball in the massive wodge of nutty brown roll packaging it: a bit like eating an Amazon delivery.’ Caroline McGinn, Global Editor-in-Chief.

The verdict? 3/5 

Love vegan food? Check out the best restaurants in London for vegan food or for fake meat

So over Veganuary? Here are the best places to eat in London right now

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