What: Following a series of pop-ups and a hugely successful crowdfunding bid, plant-based burger concept The Vurger Co. has opened its first bricks and mortar site. It will come as no surprise that it’s in Shoreditch. Prior to having its own home, The Vurger Co. has been popping up all over the capital, with a number of high-profile collaborations, including Tabasco; yoga brand Lululemon; Vanilla Black; and Tom’s Kitchen. The brand’s mission statement is to ‘revolutionise fast food through the power of plants’, and the new permanent site suggests that the collaborations might be over, but the mission is just getting started.
Who: The restaurant is run by founders Rachel Hugh and Neil Potts, who started the business after noticing how few vegan options there were in the UK. The plant-based burger company made its name through a series of pop ups, both at festivals and in various venues and street food spots around London, which were so well received that Hugh and Potts set to crowdfunding £180,000 to finance a permanent site. Support from the brand’s followers saw it become the fastest restaurant ever to reach its target on the Crowdcube platform, raising £299,790 in just three days in July.
The vibe: Located in Richmix Square in Shoreditch, The Vurger Co. is right in the heart of east London’s vegan hub. Having made the decision to rebrand with a new logo and new packaging towards the end of 2017, the company has stuck with the same branding and design team, Benedict Wilhelm, to guide the design of the restaurant itself. In keeping with the brand’s aesthetic, the space is airy and bright. White walls, cacti, and neon signs reading ‘feed your soul’ are modern, fresh and undeniably ‘Shoreditch’.
The food: Since late 2016, the founders have been working with Andrew Dargue and Donna Conroy, who opened trailblazing plant-based restaurant Vanilla Black 10 years ago. The duo had a hand in the revamp of the Vurger Co. menu, and are expected to continue to work with the restaurant throughout 2018. Burger varieties include The Classic (black bean, chargrilled pepper and corn patty with tomato, red onion, burger sauce and gherkins); the MLD (mushroom and bean patty with tomato, rocket, ketchup and tomato and walnut pesto); and the spicy Holy Habanero ( a corn fritter with slaw, spiced almonds, crispy tortillas and habanero mayo). Served on vegan brioche buns, the burgers can also be ordered on a gluten free bun. Sides comprise normal and sweet potato fries; slaw; and truffle mac and ‘cheese’, topped with a pistachio crumb, which can be adapted for gluten free customers.
And another thing: In an age of lab-engineered mystery proteins and unpronounceable meat substitutes, Vurger’s ingredients lists are refreshingly straight forward. The company prides itself on its simplicity, so its burgers are made from “100% vegetables, grains, seeds and legumes”.