I believe that if you don’t have a go at trying different things you’ll end up leading a very boring life and will miss out on so much, hence why I jumped at the chance of visiting The Meet, a vegan restaurant and bar in a Clapham railway arch with Chef Dominic Taylor at the helm, himself a vegan. But I wasn’t jumping in the deep end all alone, my vegetarian friend Fiona came along to hold my hand and check that I hadn’t smuggled in any meat-based snacks, writes Michael Holland.
We were warmly greeted by Zak on arrival and led to a table where we could look through the menu. There were several plants I had never heard of but as Zak explained each one to me so temptingly I was inspired to order them. Fiona, not an excited newbie like me, ordered the Sunday Best(Nut Roast). There was a slight downturn in her smile when told there were no Yorkshire Puddings left, but she took succour in tasting some of the six small plates Zak brought for me. I had only picked three but he insisted on more, so who was I to argue?
And what a result I had. I now know Southern fried seitan is fantastic when dipped in a sweet curry sauce; this morning I didn’t know what seitan was. And the same with Jackfruit Tempura, with pickled ginger, kaffir lime and chilli. It was unbelievably good. The ginger was an absolute dream, a genius stroke. I will go back to Clapham to have that again.
With those two came Maple Glazed Cauliflower Florets with blue cheese, and a nice broccoli dish. Those vegetables can often become mundane in the wrong hands, but with a little thought and some culinary flair in The Meet kitchen, they were lifted up to another level. Plus, Fiona said her nut roast was ‘very, very, good’.
While all this succulent fare was being enjoyed there was also some serious vegan supping to be done. I had the American Pilsner, a sensible 4.5% that did its work well, which I followed with a smooth white from Spain. They were excellent accompaniments to the food.
By now we were quite done in, but in a nice way. Sated. However, after a decent interval there was talk of dessert. Fiona already knew what she was having, and I knew I couldn’t handle a whole one so I shared her Pineapple and Almond Upside-down cake, with coconut ice cream. You only have to say those words out loud and you know it’s going to be good. And it was. Of course it was, it involved cake and ice cream!
Sitting beneath the railway letting that plant-based repast digest, we discussed our good fortune. Fiona was impressed with Meet, and I was more than impressed in the range of tastes and textures that can come from fruits and vegetables. Chef Taylor says, ‘Veganism is one of the largest growing lifestyle movements and has fully embedded itself into London’s restaurant culture.’
I can safely say it is now embedded in me.
The Meet @ Fu Manchu, 15-16 Lendal Terrace, Clapham, SW4 7UX
020 3397 7475 – https://www.the-meet.co.uk
Open daily until late
Food 4 Stars
Value 3.5 Stars
Ambience 4 Stars
Disabled Access Yes
Disabled Toilet Yes