Food review: Veganism at Foxlow, St John Street
- Credit: Archant
Foxlow’s Clerkenwell branch in St John Street is offering a vegan menu during November. The Gazette is impressed.
Hello, my name is James Morris and I’m a walking, talking parody. After two years of living in Islington, I’ve gone from committed meat eater to (almost) full-time vegan.
It’s why I’m so excited about visiting the Clerkenwell branch of classy restaurant mini chain Foxlow. In November, world vegan month, it’s offering a special vegan menu. The test is simple: would any of these dishes persuade diners to deviate from the standard menu?
First impressions of the restaurant itself are excellent. It’s plush, atmospheric and full of diners. Ours is pretty much the only table left when we arrive. That’s not bad for a restaurant in St John Street, which despite its central location is not exactly teeming with people at 7.30pm on a Wednesday night.
The good vibes continue when we ask for a mere carafe of house red, but our friendly, affable waiters totally ignore the order and give us a full bottle (£25) instead.
You may also want to watch:
There are two starters available on the menu, which we share. The carrot hummus with fresh toasted bread (£5) is incredible. The texture is creamy, and a strong lemony presence makes it a refreshing start to the meal. I’m less excited by the kale and avocado salad (£6) but then I’ve never been excited about kale or avocado. My friend, who knows more about kale and avocado, reports it’s excellent.
Like vegan restaurants which unimaginatively but the letter “V” in their name, I’m not a fan of vegan food presented in a meaty style. But I’m a hypocrite, so I choose the charred aubergine steak (£9.50) for my main. Quite sadly, this cut is not as delicious as dead cow, but with the wild mushrooms and “béarnaise” sauce, the dish manages to satisfy.
- 1 Man in Highbury court charged with shooting gun in High Holborn
- 2 Tony Eastlake: Man denies murder of ‘flower man of Islington’
- 3 'Islington drivers – you don't always need to overtake cyclists'
- 4 Islington community charity launches with sunny street party
- 5 Consultation launches on St Peter’s people-friendly streets scheme
- 6 Kacem Mokrane: Islington man amongst seven charged with 2017 murder
- 7 Council fund boosts plans for Islington 'urban forest'
- 8 'We will miss you': Tufnell Park's Ruby Violet ice cream parlour to close
- 9 Missing teenagers from Dagenham may be in Islington or Haringey
- 10 Jeremy Corbyn joins campaign to protect human right Article 25
More exciting is my friend’s roasted acorn squash pie (£9). With squash skin as the pie “cup”, topped by a layer of crispy pastry, it comes with chestnut mushrooms, spinach and gravy. The skin has a tasty, jacket potato-like quality. It goes down like comfort food, but with immense class.
While I get a couple of sickly sweet sorbets (£2 each) for my dessert, my mercenary companion can’t resist transferring to the standard menu to order her favourite: sticky toffee pudding (£6.50). It’s the sort of thing you just don’t get in the vegan world, with a luxuriously sweet and buttery sauce making it an exceptional pudding.
Foxlow has no intention of being vegan – it admits so on its website. But with veganism increasingly popular, it makes business sense to take this into account by at least offering it to those who do. The menu is carefully selected, and most importantly the food is delicious. It wins because it would please committed vegans, while also being attractive enough to make meat eaters stop in their tracks.