What: Described as serving ‘revolutionary fast food’, Bad Vegan has opened in Camden’s Buck Street Market with a menu that majors on plant-based dishes, but which doesn’t completely leave carnivores out in the cold.
Who: Tom Kerridge, he of two Michelin starred The Hand & Flowers, has teamed up with film, music and live event producer Mark Emms for the project. The idea for the restaurant came from a conversation the pair had during lockdown about how to introduce more people to plant-based food.
The food: Kerridge has taken the traditional fast food model of having a meat-focused menu with a few vegetarian and vegan options and turned it on its head to make plant-based food the hero dishes. Menu items include the Taternator (pictured) – a crunchy potato served in a flour tortilla that is available with cheese and onion, BBQ beans, and chipotle toppings (all £9.50) – and the Street Dough – flatbreads topped with either aubergine baba ganoush, falafel and charred onions; roasted mushroom and black truffle with a truffle cream sauce; or romesco sauce with olive oil roasted artichokes and peppers (all £10.50), as well as a side of crunchy cauliflower topped with chilli sauce and toasted sesame seeds (£8.50) and vegan milkshakes (£6.50). Meat eaters have a more limited choice, with a beef brisket Taternator as well as a Street Dough topped with spicy nduja sausage with salami and mascarpone. There’s also the option to add smoked bacon to the fries at no extra cost (£4.50).
The vibe: Taking the space of two of Buck Street Market’s shipping containers, Bad Vegan has a rough n ready vibe that befits the street food nature of the restaurant.
And another thing: While Kerridge says Bad Vegan is designed to introduce and sustain a greater level of plant-based foods into people’s diets while not alienating vegans, its approach to serving meat has rankled some. Vegan campaigning charity Viva! says the restaurant’s claim to be radical while having non vegan sides and toppings ‘hurts’ the vegan movement.
Buck Street Market, Camden Town, London