Veganism appears to be on the rise amongst the UK population with last year’s figures showing that the vegan population rose 360% in the last decade. If you look closely, there are tell-tale signs of this with menus beginning to mark vegan options, vegan fashion making its mark, vegan wines being introduced into the market….yes, that’s right, the majority of wine is not vegan due to clarification techniques! Vegans do not eat any animals, animal by-products or foods derived from animals; meat, honey, eggs and dairy are all off the table. Despite eating a primarily vegetable-base diet, I incorporate a lot of dairy into my diet but do believe it is possible to make tasty vegan food. I wouldn’t usually opt to go to a vegan-only restaurant however when Vivian won tickets to go to Omni Collective‘s vegan brunch from Love Popups London and invited me along with two other bloggers, Katie & Jojo, I was excited to try it.
After an early morning Rebounding class in Shoreditch, I hopped on a CityCycle to ride over to The Yard in Hackney Wick, where Omni have been hosted for their residency. After cycling through the gorgeous Victoria Park and along Regent’s Canal, I found myself in Hackney Wick – an area I’m largely unfamiliar with. I wandered into what looked like a deserted carpark and initially thought I was lost – no sign of life, let alone food, anywhere! However I eventually found the sign for Omni and walked into a dimly lit room and found my group in the corner. It turns out the residency is below the The Yard Theatre, so perfect to hit up before a show!
Owners George and Jess are two chefs who recently converted from being pescatarian to vegan, thus needing to change their business (previously known as Pesky’s) to Omni, to denote their ethos of providing food that can be eaten by anyone – vegetarians, vegan, gluten-intolerant, dairy-free etc. They’ve been providing dinner service for some time but the monthly brunch concept is relatively new. The theme will change for each one; this month’s was Mexican, a nod to Cinco de Mayo.
We were seated in a corner with the set menu displayed on a mini chalkboard – food on one side and the three cocktail options on the other. The cocktails on offer were Bloody Maria, Mimosa, and Margarita. It took a short while to find someone to take our order however once we did, I chose the Bloody Maria with jalapeno to start my morning! It arrived quite quickly once ordered and I enjoyed the fresh tomato taste with the spicy kick of jalapeno to kickstart my meal. Note that Worcestershire sauce is not vegan so it was omitted.
The first course of Grilled mango with salsa en polvo was quick to arrive with slices of fresh mango lightly grilled served with a sprinkling of the chilli lime seasoning. The lack of windows in the place meant that lighting was minimal and unfortunately awful for photography so we took the meals outside to photograph. It felt a little ridiculous but we wanted to show them in their best light (literally). Once back inside, I enjoyed the sweet, salty, chilli combo of the light starter.
It was quite some time before the second course arrived which seemed a little unusual given that there were only two other tables seated at the time. It may have also been that we were all starving at this point! So when our main course of taquitos with salsa verde, guacamole, twice cooked beans and coriander cream arrived, it was a quick photoshoot before going back inside to devour them. We each received three of the taquitos (like a rolled taco) which were filled with the beans and attractively served with the guacamole, coriander cream, and salsa verde on top with a lime wedge on the side. We were asked earlier if we had any food intolerances and as I have issues with wheat, I was given a gluten-free version of the taquitos! They were delicious with good flavour and the guacamole was spot on in texture and flavour. Given our appetites, they didn’t last long!
At this point I had finished my Bloody Maria and ordered my second cocktail – the Margarita. It was presented with salsa en polvo on the rim instead of the standard salt and a modification I loved! It worked really well with the fresh margarita which was delicious.
Dessert was billed as Churros with cinnamon sugar and mixed berry compote. I was given an alternative gluten-free dessert which was a plate of thin deep-fried crispy shapes, served with the same cinnamon sugar and berries. Now I don’t generally like deep fried food and unfortunately this was therefore not to my liking. Luckily Vivian loved them so chomped them right up! The original churros were like mini doughnuts and quite doughy on the inside, which wasn’t really to the tastes of the others.
We were there for approximately two hours and the meal was certainly stretched across it. I think if you were looking for a quick brunch, this may not be the best option but it is good for the generally preferred drawn out boozy event. I really enjoyed the flavours of the brunch and the size of the meal suited me but I think those used to eating more would leave hungry. The ambience was quite pleasant however if the weather was nice, eating outside would be a great option.
The brunch is priced at £22 in advance or £25 on the day. For three courses and two cocktails, the price is quite reasonable and perfect if you’re vegan/vegetarian/gluten-intolerant or dining with someone who is! Despite the amount of vegan options being on the rise, they would still be in the minority so it’s great to have another option out there and ones that actually taste good! Fact is, vegan food does not need to be boring or tasteless and there are amazing ingredients out there which are vegan by nature. Fruit, vegetables, and pulses are the staples in many different cuisines such as Indian food, which I dare you to call bland! Who knows, maybe I could do it….one day 😉
Please note that I was invited by Omni Collective and Love Pop-ups London however this review reflects my honest opinion based on the experience.
DF | V | VV | GF