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Temple of Hackney

  • Restaurants
  • Hackney
  • price 1 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

London’s first vegan ‘chicken shop’.

‘Vegan chicken shop’ might be an oxymoron verging on the ridiculous, but it’s now a thing and it’s in Hackney (obviously). If you’re scoffing (and not in the stuffing-your-face sense) then stop. It’s about time the meat-free crowd got a taste of one of the city’s greasy glories. And say it quietly, but Temple of Hackney might even convince a few carnivores that delicious junk food doesn’t have to involve dead animals.

This is the sequel to a street stall called Temple of Seitan – seitan being a meaty vegan substance made of wheat gluten. Moving to permanent premises, they’ve sadly ditched the pun, but what they’ve lost in Seitanic majesty they’ve more than made up for with a proper chicken shop-style atmosphere. There’s no indoor seating, no booze and plenty of bustle. It’s bright and spartan with blaring music and a rich, greasy smell. In fact it’s like every other chicken shop from Enfield to Croydon, except hipper, whiter and totally animal-product-free.

The menu on the wall lists seitan served in various ways, plus gluten-free soya nuggets and vegan sides. If you’ve never tried seitan, it’s tougher than tofu, and chewier and less stringy than your average chicken wing – and of course bone-free. Since no sane person gets fried chicken for the high-quality meat anyway, the substitution is pretty irrelevant. What matters is the batter: it’s light, salty, peppery and moreish. Served popcorn-style or in a sub with chilli sauce and vegan mayo, this totally hits the chicken spot.

The roast roll – seitan, flavoured but not battered – was also a winner. Add zingy red slaw with parsley stalks or vegan mac’n’cheese with smoky seitan bacon cubes and you’ve got a properly delicious, not-at-all-wholesome dinner. This temple isn’t just for the vegan faithful. Hail, seitan!

James Manning
Written by
James Manning


10 Morning Lane
E9 6SA
View Website
Hackney Central Overground
Dinner for two with drinks: around £20.
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