Among London’s countless veganified dishes, pie and mash probably isn’t on most people’s ‘must-scoff’ list. But there’s a lot to be said for an animal-free version of that humble combo, when done well – and Young Vegans does it very well.
Occupying a cosy corner of the Camden Market street food metropolis, Young Vegans serves up a small selection of pies, sides and cakey desserts. If you’re wondering, vegan pies aren’t (always) filled with kale, lentils and longing; the two we sampled were crammed with interesting, tasty stuff that will easily appeal to meat-eaters, too.
Like the ‘all-day breakfast’: scrambled tofu, seitan sausage, caramelised onions and homemade smoked beans. A lot of ingredients to shove into a single pie, yes, but some individual flavours do shine through, particularly the pepperiness of the flavoured tofu and seitan, given a gentle crunch by the crispy onions on top.
Pie number two was a simpler steak and ale, containing some of the meatiest mock-meat we’ve tasted. Succulent and rich, these absurdly steak-like chunks of marinated seitan could fool plenty of carnivores. And the thick ale sauce did its job perfectly.
More unusual fillings are available (katsu curry, ‘chicken’ parmigiana), and as for other pie ’n’ mash essentials, the pastry, gravy and mash were all spot on. Oh, and the mac ’n’ cheese side was better than some main-dish vegan mac ’n’ cheeses you can get out there.
It’s sensibly priced, too. You can happily get by with pie, mash and gravy for £7, though you won’t regret shelling out a few more quid for sides and a dessert. Get the peanut butter mud pie: spongey, salty and indulgent, it’s exactly what you should be eating after pie and mash.
Young Vegans has given the great London dish a 21st-century update without getting fancy. These aren’t great vegan pies – they’re great pies, full stop.