I’ve been really excited to try the Vegan Grindhouse now for sometime, but as they are based in and around Birmingham, it just doesn’t ever happen. For those who are unfamiliar with them, they are a husband/wife duo who cook up Americana vegan street food and desserts.
I recently discovered they do “kitchen takeovers” – where they do just that, take over a restaurant or pub for a night to serve up delicious vegan fair. Somehow I missed the first Leicester vegan takeover (how? how does that happen?!), but there was no way I was missing the second. Originally scheduled for the end of February, unfortunately the event was cancelled on the day because the Brewdog had an all day power outage (wish I had known that before showing up outside a dark pub). But no fear, the event was simply rescheduled for a bit later in March.
I arrived a Brewdog Leicester a bit earlier than our reservation was booked for and had a beer downstairs beforehand. I’ve been to Brewdog many times and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to grab a drink. The interior feels more like an American bar than a traditional pub – which I like. The beers are also more like American-style ales, which I also like. Don’t get me wrong, traditional pubs are what make this country great, but it’s nice to mix things up a bit.
Anyway – after grabbing our drinks, we headed upstairs to where the meal would be served. The upstairs level is quite large – surprisingly so. There were several mismatched chairs and tables scattered about, and we chose one by the windows with a bench. The restaurant is similar to the downstairs – contemporary, industrial, cool, hipster – but a bit cold on this evening I have to admit (I kept my coat on for most of the meal).
There were menus on the tables, but we had already pre-ordered our food ahead of time so I think it was more of a courtesy/reminder for those of us with bad memories (me). We ordered one each of the mains (tacos and nachos), chips, beans and one brownie to split.
The food came out together on paper plates and the portions were really generous. The tacos consisted of three different types of filling: roasted veggies, lentil chili, and BBQ chicken. The “chicken” taco was hands down the winner – it tasted very meaty and apparently made from soy which they get from a Chinese store (I would have guessed it was made from seitan). The others were good too, but not my first choice for a taco filling. The only thing that perhaps let them down was that they were served in lettuce leaves rather than tortillas. As a carb-lover, it would have been nice to have a choice.
The nachos were just awesome. Fully loaded is right. Loads of guacamole and various toppings filled up the bowl, and we were very quick to polish it all off. The chipotle lime fries were also a surprising winner of the night and I wish we had ordered more! I’m not a huge fan of baked beans in general, but Andrew really enjoyed them, so again, well done to the Vegan Grindhouse.
We rounded out our meal with the chocolate brownie and soya cream. It was amazing. Soft and oh so chocolatey with bits of chocolate chips to make it even more moorish. There is no way you’d know it was vegan. If there had been a tray of these brownies put in front of me, they wouldn’t have lasted long.
In all, we had a great night and loved our meal. Plus, at £23 total (excluding the beers), you can’t really complain. It was great to see quite a few people at the event – but I’d love to see more at the next one. I’ll be sure to keep you posted, and you can guarantee I’ll be there!