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
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