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

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 

Sam Willis, Engagement Editor: ‘You’d have to be really, really into jam to enjoy this croissant. It is delicious, though.’ 

Ellie Walker-Arnott, Digital Editor: ‘I can feel the sugar high already. Feels 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.’ 

Katie McCabe, Events Editor: Delicious. A bit like a jam croissant covered in shards of sugary glass. The more I think about the vegan pastry, the more I appreciate it.’ 

Katherine Lovage, Commercial Copywriter: ‘This was pretty good. So sweet. It’s not as nicely layered as a croissant with butter – it’s definitely not as airy. The jam is nice but makes it even sweeter.’


The verdict? 4/5 

 

Photograph: Yard Sale


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


American Not 

Alim Kheraj, freelance writer: ‘I love Yard Sale’s tomato sauce as it’s really flavoursome and rich, and the vegan pepperoni kind of worked. I loved the chillies too. The only disappointment was the cheese. It lacked any discernible flavour, although it did have a creamy texture, which was welcome. The thing is, with this kind of pizza, you want the cheese to be a mixture of creamy and squeaky, which it failed to deliver IMO.’ 

Philip Lay, Senior Designer: ‘The vegan pepperoni slices were very dry, although they did have similar spice and flavour to meat pepperoni, so fair play. The rest of the pizza was quite tasteless.’ 

Ben Rowe, Picture Desk Manager: ‘The American Not was all right – an okay substitute for pepperoni but a bit dry. It needed dips. The vegan mozzarella had the appearance of toasted marshmallows.’


The verdict? 3/5 

 

Texas VBQ 

EWA: ‘The Texas VBQ was a great slice of pizza. I’m veggie and I think I’ve forgotten what meat tastes like. So 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.’ 


KM: ‘Imagine Quorn nugs, sliced up and thrown on a pizza base slathered in spicy barbecue sauce.’


KL: ‘The chicken one was the best because it didn’t feel like anything was trying to make up for being vegan. It was just tasty, end of.’ 


BR: ‘The Texas VBQ was great. I would absolutely order that one again. The “This isn’t chicken nuggets” were fab.’


The verdict? 5/5 

 

Magic Mushroom 


Alexandra Sims, Deputy Events Editor: ‘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.’ 

Liz Tray, freelance sub-editor: ‘This was excellent Yard Sale work. I regret dipping a corner into that chilli sauce (Holy F*ck Hot Sauce), though, as it was hotter than the molten core of the Earth.’ 

Andrzej Łukowski, Theatre Editor: ‘All I can remember now is the dips, the searing horror of the dips. I thought the mushroom pizza was pleasant enough; the cheese wasn’t spectacular but you can’t really fuck up mushrooms.’ 

The verdict? 4/5 

 

Photograph: Patty & Bun


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

Sarah Cohen, Deputy Chief Sub Editor: ‘I’m a raging carnivore and have no interest in vegan food, but I was v v impressed. It was tasty! And had a great crispy texture. I wouldn’t have been able to tell it wasn’t chicken. My eyes have been opened!’

PL: ‘Definitely the best fake chicken I have eaten. If you hadn’t told me it was vegan, I probably wouldn’t have questioned it.’ 

James Manning, Global Projects Editor: ‘The thing with fried chicken is always this: the chicken is rarely that great, it’s all about the batter. And this batter is delicious.’ 

Rosemary Waugh, freelance writer: ‘Top marks for the very generous supply of gherkins. I can’t comment on its resemblance to actual chicken (because I’m a lifelong veggie), but I can say it’s better than Waitrose’s fake chicken escalopes which are Dry As A Bone.’ 

AS: ‘Mightily impressed. The chicken had the same chewy, stringy consistency of meat while the batter was perfectly crisp and crunchy.’


The verdict? 5/5 

 

Photograph: Greggs


Greggs’s Vegan Steak Bake, from £1.55 


Bryan Mayes, Art Director: ‘The pastry is top-notch. Nowt wrong with that.’

Oliver Keens, Music & Nightlife Editor: ‘It’s completely delicious. All the rich umami goo of the real thing, none of the horror of meat.’ 

PL: ‘See, this is what happens when a company give its staff £300 bonuses: they produce meat-free pies that taste exactly like meat pies would! I’m impressed.’

SW: ‘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.’

AS: ‘Impressive pasty – rich, gooey filling with all the deliciousness of the original. I hope the staff get another bonus out of it.’


The verdict? 5/5 

 

Photograph: Subway


Subway’s Meatless Meatball Marinara Melt, from £3.59 

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

PL: ‘It tasted exactly like a usual meatball sub to me! Although it felt quite bready… perhaps more sauce could have been soaked up by that dough. Overall, impressed with the likeness!’

BM: ‘Could have done with a bit more sauce, but the meatballs tasted just the same. If you’d given me that and told me it was a normal meatball sandwich, I would never have questioned it.’

EWA: ‘As a student, the standard meatball sub was my go-to treat (those were the days, eh) so this was super-nostalgic. I genuinely couldn’t tell the difference between this and the real meatballs I used to eat in my pre-vegetarian days.’ 


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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