Once upon a time, I would have questioned whether it possible to enjoy a filling and satisfying meal, that was meat free. Today during a time when veganism is the fastest growing movement and diet choice, and with growth comes more diversity for what is still very niche within the eating out market. Veganuary options seem to have replaced dry January and clean eating dishes, across a lot of the casual dining restaurants. In doing so it almost suggests that Vegan food is healthy, when in fact a large portion of chips is vegan! Though I guess removal of meat/fish from your diet is sold as the biggest benefit. I personally do not follow fad diets (anymore), or remove anything from my diet that I enjoy on a short or long term basis, I decided to dip my top into veganuary waters for dinner.
The Meet, is a vegan pop up within the Fu Man Chu bar, under the railway bridge near Clapham North station, and the menu appealed to me for a few reasons.
The first was because The Meet is self described as offering vegan comfort food, secondly the menu descriptions were quite playful , starting with the name of the pop up being ‘ The Meet’, to menu item descriptions, ‘My Daaling’, ‘Pappardelle Don’t Preach’, and ‘Aint it cold out’, but lastly some of the ingredients used felt safe and familiar, due to my Caribbean reared palate. The menu includes use of Plantain , Jamaican style coconut curry, Roti, Jackfruit, and Scotch Bonet. That said it is by no means a Caribbean menu, it draws influence from all over the world, from Italian Pappardelle, Japanese Soba Noodles to Middle Eastern flavours.
The Exec chef is Dominic Taylor, who is the is formerly of the Jam Tree, Clapham, and I have always enjoyed their menu spread for the very same reasons, a nice eclectic mix of different types of cuisines, within a super causal setting.
The menu layout does not have actual starters, they have a small plates section, which you could treat as a starter, but felt more like accompaniments than dishes in their own right, and so I decided to go straight in for the main, and have an accompanying small plate, and a side.
I ordered ‘Aint It Cold Out’, (Priced at £12.50), which was roast yams, red pepper, spinach & chickpea Jamaican style coconut curry , served with Roti. The curry was spicy, sweet, and creamy, and with multiple layers of texture created from the peppers, chickpeas and yam. This dish was flavour filled and the portion size very generous.
The Roti, which accompanied the curry ,was slightly over fried, and so snapped instead of tore, but due to the generous curry portion, I was not overly concerned about it, though I did make the waiter aware, of which he apologised, and discounted the dish.
I hesitantly ordered the side of Plantain (Priced at £4.50) as I knew it was not really necessary, but my heart overruled my head ,and I ordered it anyway. I wish I had listened to my head, as though Plantain can be served in many ways acceptably, this plantain was not as ripe or as sweet as I would have liked.
As an additional side I ordered the ‘Mac Daddy O’, Mac and Cheese (Priced at £5.50), purely out of curiosity, as I am a huge macaroni cheese fan, and wanted to see how it would compare. It was rich, creamy, and topped with avocado, and chilli’s for a nice kick. Impressive for a non dairy cheese, and non egg based pasta.
The curiosity continued into the dessert menu and I ordered the ‘Topsy Turvey’, which was a Pineapple and almond upside-down cake an coconut ice cream (Priced at £6.50). Sweet, and slightly tart, the coconut ice cream balanced this dessert out beautifully.
I really enjoyed my experience at The Meet, the service style is casual, the waiter helpful, with strong menu knowledge, the food for the most part was really enjoyable, filling and delectable. The Meet operates within a very different space, versus the other vegan/vegetarian restaurants, that I have visited in the past such as Tibits and The Gate, which I loved. I would definitely return to The Meet, for another Meat free treat.