Shak­ing things up with the Vurger Co at Wharf Kitchen

From the Holy Habernero to the MLT, there’s plenty to tempt the taste­buds at The Vurger Co – the Wharf’s first all-ve­gan eaterie. Go try it in Ju­bilee Place’s new food hall

The Wharf - - News - Florence Der­rick Go to the­vurg­ for more in­for­ma­tion

Un­til last Thurs­day, Ca­nary Wharf had a ve­gan-shaped hole in its food and drink of­fer­ings – but now its first all-ve­gan restau­rant is bring­ing veg­gie burg­ers and fries to Wharf Kitchen, Ca­nary Wharf’s new­est food court in Ju­bilee Place.

“It’s been in­cred­i­bly busy so far,” said The Vurger Co co-founder Rachel Hugh. “Be­ing an all-ve­gan restau­rant, you never know how it’s go­ing to go.”

But Ca­nary Wharf isn’t alone in its hunger for ve­gan food plant-based burg­ers, which are spring­ing up all over the cap­i­tal. The Vurger Co was one of the first to tap into the Lon­don mar­ket.

“We started the restau­rant in 2016 and it was a mar­ket stall at the time,” said Rachel.

“The rea­son why we started the com­pany was be­cause the co-founder, Neil, who was work­ing at HSBC in Ca­nary Wharf as a risk an­a­lyst for 10 years on and off, suf­fered badly from stom­ach is­sues. No doc­tors could tell what was wrong.

“We took a hol­i­day away and went to Cal­i­for­nia and we couldn’t be­lieve how well we could eat out on plant­based food out there.

“Back here in Lon­don no one was pay­ing at­ten­tion to it.

“When we came back, we added more plant-based op­tions to our own diet, started watch­ing doc­u­men­taries, then re­alised that Neil’s symp­toms had com­pletely dis­ap­peared.

“We went ve­gan more or less

overnight and re­alised we couldn’t find amaz­ing ve­gan burg­ers at all. So we thought, that’s the food we’re miss­ing.

“So let’s do it and do it re­ally well. We started the mar­ket stall, did pop-up restau­rants, events and fes­ti­vals. Then we crowd­funded our first restau­rant in July 2017. It’s been a crazy story.”

So what can Ca­nary Whar­fers ex­pect from The Vurger Co menu at Wharf Kitchen?

“We’re selling our four core burg­ers,” said Rachel. “Our Clas­sic burger, Auburger, Holy Habernero and the MLT.”

The Clas­sic blends beans, char­grilled red pep­pers, chick peas and corn into a patty served with tomato, red onions, gherkins and cheese, while the Au­berger is made from aubergine, caramelised onion and Tabasco Chipo­tle chick­peas.

The Holy Ha­banero heats things up with chilli mayo and the MLT reimag­ines the clas­sic veg­gie mush­room burger.

“It’s our take – we’ve re­de­vel­oped that stan­dard process of deep fry­ing a mush­room and putting it in a bun,” said Rachel. There are some ex­clu­sive side dishes for Ca­nary Wharf din­ers, too.

“We have reg­u­lar mac and cheese but also pesto mac and cheese, which is sun­dried tomato and wal­nut pesto mixed with cheesy mac,” Rachel said.

“And we do half and half fries – that’s half with skin on – and the whole shake menu.”

While The Vurger Co may be Ca­nary Wharf’s first all-ve­gan eatery, it’s by no means Lon­don’s only ve­gan fast food joint these days. Does plant-based junk fit in with stereo­types of ve­gan food as guilt-free?

“We’ve never po­si­tioned our food as a healthy op­tion but of course it’s much bet­ter than a beef burger in terms of sat­u­rated fat,” said Rachel.

“But our burg­ers do con­tain beans and things, which are nat­u­rally higher in car­bo­hy­drates.

“It’s still an in­dul­gent burger with sauces and sides. For us, it’s al­ways been about mak­ing great burg­ers that feel in­dul­gent so din­ers don’t have to miss out on any­thing from not eat­ing meat.”

Sounds like hav­ing your burger and eat­ing it – an idea that’s easy to get on board with.

How about a vurger with mac and cheese?

Ve­gan burg­ers and even ve­gan milk­shakes are avail­able in Wharf Kitchen’s Vurger Co

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