I remember thinking this time about a year ago, as we were stood in the queue for the first ever Vegan Nights event, that something was really changing in the vegan movement. The queue was huge, snaking around the streets of Brick Lane, hundreds of people long. We couldn't believe it! It seemed crazy to us at the time that so many people could possibly be interested in vegan food. We didn't really know any other vegans and had perhaps been living in a bit of a bubble. The huge turnout was only a reflection of the growing movement and 'trend' of veganism, which is something we're obviously super excited about!
Now, one year later, and eleven Vegan Nights events past, it's bigger and better than ever before! The size of the event has almost quadrupled, having sprawled out of The Old Truman Brewery's Boiler House on Brick Lane into the surrounding courtyards and neighbouring industrial buildings. New additions include a substantially sized room with a jazzy looking DJ booth and stage where live acts perform, which is surrounded by a selection of bars serving vegan beers, wine, cocktails and anything else you could imagine. The rest of the venue is split into a large courtyard and another indoor space for all the main food traders, where you could expect to find burgers, pizza, noodles, bagels, bao, fish n chips, curries, hot dogs, tacos, cake, ice cream, brownies, cookies and so much more!
The team behind Vegan Nights describe it as "a monthly Plant-based party on Brick Lane". It's so much more than just a food market, and with a £5 entry fee, you'd certainly hope so. Vegan Nights showcases the best of vegan street food, drink and lifestyle products, with live music, and a Miami vice party vibe. Food and drinks aside, the team really go to town with the decor, with pink glittery party curtains, palm trees, fairy lights and the biggest disco ball we've ever seen, it really sets the tone for the evening; Veganism isn't about weird hippies, strange-sounding bland food or annoying preachy people, just delicious, exciting food you can enjoy with your mates. For us, it's having a huge impact on not only normalising Veganism, but making it trendy, and Vegan Nights definitely feels trendy, it's got that 'Brick Lane East London' vibe.
With so much amazing food to choose from (something us vegans aren't really used to!) it was pretty hard to choose! We probably went around the different stalls about 5 times before we decided we just had to get Cook Daily's "Sticky Vegan Chickn Teriyaki Bites" again. The flavour and texture were pretty mind-blowing! They were sweet, spicy, tangy and sticky, with a crispy exterior and a spongy centre. We could've gobbled up another plate of these without a doubt!
We then set our sights on the Eat Chay stall, who serve delicious traditional Vietnamese and Korean food with a modern twist. I've only eaten from these guys once before at Wilderness festival, where I stopped by for a late night snack which quickly turned into me ordering two of their giant bao's... I wanted to try them again in a slightly more sober state to see if they lived up to the glory of how I remembered them, and they did! You can get two different flavoured bao's for £8.00, one is BBQ seitan, house kimchi, spicy mayo, crispy onions & sesame seeds, the other was grilled five spice jackfruit, pickled cucumber, spring onions & sesame seeds, and they were both divine! The bao bun was soft, sweet and fluffy and the fillings had the perfect mix of soft and crunchy textures and were jam-packed full of flavour! I can't wait to try the rest of their menu!
Pizza was our next calling as we headed over to the Picky Wops stand. They have two permanent restaurants, one in Peckham and one Fulham but we have yet to make it down to either of them. This was the perfect opportunity to try out their much raved about pizza. We went for the vegan margarita on a turmeric base which gave the dough the most beautiful golden colour once cooked. As pizzas go, I thought it was very tasty. I'm not the biggest pizza lover so I usually also prefer to have something else, but Charlie is so I was happy to share some with him. He mentioned that the cheese was really yummy, as sometimes vegan cheese can be a bit sticky, but he would've preferred more of a strong turmeric flavour in the base. It wasn't our favourite dish of the night but we'd be interested to try some of their other flavour combinations which might be a little more exciting!
Even though we'd already managed to consume our body weight in food, we couldn't seriously consider leaving without having a little sweet treat! Choosing dessert was probably the hardest task of the night, as every stall had beautifully presented their bakes, but we ultimately went with what we know: ice cream from Black Milq. The first time we tried their ice cream was at the Southbank's Alchemy festival, which celebrates South Asian culture. They did a collaboration with vegan street food stall Spice Box where they invented the most incredible dish I've ever had; a dosa waffle with cardamom caramel ice cream! Black Milq are known for their interesting flavour combo's, and they didn't disappoint second time around. We went for one scoop of miso caramel and one of black sesame, which comes in their signature jet-black cone. It was incredibly creamy and the flavours were beyond amazing, definitely some of the best ice cream we've ever had! Unfortunately, we didn't manage to get a picture as it just started to melt, aka we really just couldn't hold back and had to eat it before we got a chance - I think that says it all!
If you've not been to Vegan Nights before, now is the time! Get yourselves down to their next event on November 1st which will be celebrating World Vegan Day. Vegan or not, you'll have a great evening enjoying delicious food, fab music and good vibes. We can't wait for the next one!
Vegan Nights is on the first Thursday of every month. It is open from 5pm. (At the time of writing) Tickets are currently £5 for early birds, £7 online, and £10 on the door.
WHO’S IT FOR:
People looking for a good dance
Anyone interested in (vegan) street food
Anyone interested in celebrating veganism!
150 Brick Ln, London E1 6QL
020 7770 6001
Have you ever been to Vegan Nights? If so, we’d love to hear what you thought. Leave us a comment, like, or share this post with your friends.