Try a new generation of plant-based goodness, inspired and foraged from the wild.
With record-breaking numbers doing Veganuary this year, the demand for delicious plant-based food has never been higher. But whether you’re a long-time vegan, veggie or omnivore, going out for a meat-free dinner shouldn’t mean compromising on taste or choice (stuffed peppers, we’re looking at you). Enter Wild Food Café. Originally based in Neal’s Yard, the popular plant-based café is well-known for its foraged, seasonal menu and has just opened in a second location in Islington.
It’s a beautiful space. The open kitchen and run-around bar sits right by the window, causing people on the street to stop in their tracks and peer in. The high-ceilinged, clean-cut restaurant is fresh and, quite frankly, an Instagrammer’s dream. Baby-pink chairs, chrome-legged stools and teal panelling give the whole place a millennial-cool feel, while banks of leafy planters line the walls, fanning diners with holey cheese plants.
A green menu
All the decorative greenery matches the restaurant’s green ethos, and the welcoming vibe is reflected in its attentive waiting staff who are more than happy to explain any of the wild ingredients on the menu. It’s hard to go wrong with your choices though. Despite only having four starters and four mains on the menu (plus pizzas), the inventive variety and gourmet edge to each dish will leave you wondering if you’re hungry enough to manage two of each course…
The main event
Warm BBQ jack fruit fell away on the plate in the Hasselback Butternut Squash starter, while the Sea Aubergine with pickled mooli, wakame and cucumber is perfect for lovers of all things umami. For the main, each Elevated Pizza is created on top of a crispy vegetable base – the Creamy Wild Mushroom option comes with an almond and shiitake base, macadamia ricotta, pine nut parmesan and truffle oil. The Wild Green Burger arrived in a literal green bun, but tasted just as good as a Big Mac, better, actually, thanks to the pink olive and shiitake patty, aubergine yoghurt and dollop of avocado cream.
The dessert menu is far more extensive than the usual vegan choice of sorbet or more sorbet. Choose from doughnuts, decadent chocolate cakes, rainbow cheesecakes and a cheese board of tree-nut cheeses. The matcha cheesecake, despite being cheese-less and containing famously bitter matcha, was delicious and arrived artfully presented with delicate dots of sauce and tiny edible flowers.
With its organic wine list and exciting cocktail menu, Wild Food Cafe is the kind of place you’d take your vegan friend for their birthday. Heck, it’s the kind of place you’d take any friend for a special meal, regardless of their dietary persuasions. Perfect for dinner, lunch, brunch or even your Sunday Roast, each dish is as exciting as it is eco-friendly, and marries unusual wild finds and spices with familiar ingredients in interesting and delicious new ways. Plant-based dining has never looked wilder or tasted so good.
wildfoodcafeislington.com, 269 – 270 Upper Street, N1 2UQ