Listen to find out about this brand new Walthamstow Bakery and another new one also in E17, a hidden weekday cafe near Stratford (in East London) and what you should get if you go to one of Ottolenghi’s bakeries:
- Ginger cake and cheesecake from new vegan bakery Beaten by a Whisker
- A banana and chocolate sourdough muffin from Weirdough
- The BEST pizza from Polentina
- NoNo Cocoa chocolates – if you have allergens that stop you buying other chocolate!
- Chocolate Cherry Tart from Ottolenghi
- Are there any meat-alternatives that you recommend? Or that astound you? I tried NEAT Burger this week. It totally reminded me of McDonald’s.
Read The Next Delicious Thing podcast transcript here..
Hello, and welcome to Episode 3 of The Next Delicious Thing. I’m so excited that you’re here. I’m Jennifer Earle and I really, really love to eat many, many things. So, each week, in this 5-10 minute podcast, I’m going to be sharing with you the top things I’ve tried that need to go to the top of your list to taste next. This week, most of the items that I’m going to be sharing with you are in London. So if you don’t live here, then you’re going to need to book a trip. There is one brand that I want to tell you about that is available to be posted anywhere in the UK and most likely beyond. It’s a chocolate company that is completely allergen free, so it is accessible to everyone. And I think that’s really exciting. There are lots of other really cool things about the brand.
But first I want to tell you about a brand new bakery in Walthamstow in northeast London, which only opened two weeks ago and it is fully vegan. It is called Beaten by a Whisker. It was founded by Laura Almond, she is making sourdough bread but also incredible cinnamon rolls and I have just finished eating a piece of ginger cake, which was laid with peaches and … wow. Honestly, it is incredible, you would not know it was vegan. I feel like, for a long time, a lot of vegan cakes really were quite dense and kind of worthy in the way that they taste. Just a little bit a compromise really, it didn’t feel like you were getting a proper cake. Everything that I tried from Laura: the cookie, the cake, the baked cheesecake and the cinnamon rolls, they all tasted like they could have been made with butter and eggs. I really recommend visiting if you can, I’m going to go back as soon as possible. It’s really inspiring to see somebody just committing to their values and producing something that isn’t trying to convert people. When you walk in there’s nothing that says that it’s vegan, but obviously all of the coffee is served with plant based milk as well. And there’s a nice little mezzanine spot upstairs where you can sit.
There’s another bakery just around the corner that’s been open for about nine months called Weirdough. I picked up a banana chocolate sourdough muffin from them, which was very enjoyable too. I’m excited to go back and try more. Walthamstow is very lucky with the number of bakeries that they have. So I will be reporting on more of them in the future.
Another cafe that I went to visit this week: This is the workers’ canteen of a clothing factory in an industrial estate in Bow in the East End of London. It’s not too far from Stratford and it’s actually only a five minute walk from quite a few stations so it is accessible, it’s just when you start walking towards it you will think that you have gone the wrong way. It is called Polentina and it is inside the Apparel Tasker factory. It is run by Ashley Masserella, who is Italian Canadian, and honestly, it was the best pizza I’ve had in so long. Each day it’s one pizza – a different type every day – and it was so good. I came on a day where it was sliced courgettes (zucchini) with wild garlic pesto and cheese and I loved it. I immediately inhaled a second slice after the first one that I bought. The fennel and orange salad beside it was also delicious and paired perfectly. It might not be super convenient for many of you to go for lunch, especially as it’s only open Monday to Friday, but I believe you can get it delivered if you’re in the area. Ashley also runs wine nights and supper clubs a couple of times a month. So I would definitely recommend looking out for those. If you go, let me know how it is. I would love to hear about it. You can message me on social media: @thenextdeliciousthing.
I also wanted to tell you about this chocolate company. I was made aware of this company by a friend who is as obsessed with chocolate as I am. He suggested that the founder send me a box, which they did. I was unsure of what to expect as they have none of the 14 major allergens in them. It is not just dark chocolate. There is really colourful white chocolate and milk chocolate and it’s all made using rice. Generally that’s not my preference as a dairy alternative because it can be quite sweet. It still is a little bit in this but almost every kitchen, who produces things without certain ingredients will still use those ingredients in the kitchen. So for people who have serious allergies this is obviously a challenge.
The founder of this company, Alessandra Bester, is a single mum and her son has autism and epilepsy and various allergies. So she created this business for him really because he couldn’t have so many of the foods that were available, particularly treats. It’s really wonderful to see what she’s done and also to see that it’s a company that employs people who are often excluded from traditional employment: carers, mothers and people with autism … and they are really impressive. They are beautiful to look at, the whole box is just stunning. And I particularly liked the raspberry and the coconut ones. If you know anyone who has allergies or special dietary requirements, then it’s called NoNo Cocoa. After “no no” being what her son would say. The link to this will be on thenextdelicious thing.com/blog, of which the direct link will be in the show notes.
There’s one more quick thing I’m going to tell you about and then I have a couple of minutes where I want to talk to you about about vegan and plantbased and meat alternatives and I’d be really interested to know your thoughts as well.
You all must know Yotam Ottolenghi. I feel like he needs no introduction as the powerhouse of recipe writing and several restaurants and bakeries. He is a legend. One of my favourite things when I walk past his shops that I struggle to avoid buying, and I didn’t avoid it this week, is his Chocolate Cherry Tart. It is a sweet pastry shell filled with chocolate ganache and a coulis of cherries and usually topped with sweet mascarpone and raspberries or cherries. It is delicious. If you are walking past and tempted, please buy one.
The final thing for this week is not really a recommendation in the same way that the other things that I’ve mentioned are but I’m really curious to know your thoughts and also if you have any suggestions.
The rise in interest in vegan and plantbased foods and in products available is almost stratospheric. Between October 2019 and October 2020 Deliveroo saw the number of vegan orders increase by more than double: 115%. There were 600,000 people registered to participate in Veganuary in January 2022. Currently 31% of people consider themselves either flexitarian, pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan. The majority of these are flexitarian but it does still indicate a massive increase in interest. And 65% of people – according to Mintel – report that they are considering earing less meat.
So, I am doing some research into alternative meats and because of this I bought a selection of items from Neat Burger. Neat Burger is a small chain of vegan and plantbased restaurants in london, of which there are currently 9 and they have big plans to expand. It was founded by Sir Lewis Hamilton and four friends in 2019. If you weren’t aware, Sir Lewis is a vegan and has been for around 4 years. His dog is also vegan and he credits it with transforming his dog’s health.
They started the business with a really passionate mission to change the way we eat. They wanted to provide an option for people who wanted to reduce their meat intake – or cut it out altogether.
It very much seems to be trying to emulate the McDonald’s menu. So there are nuggets, burgers and in January 2021 they launched a “Filet No Fish”. This is the one that I was particlarly impressed by.
I spent three years working in McDonald’s UK head office as a food developer so I designed burgers and McFlurry and other things. It was kind of outstanding how much the wholse sandwich – the Filet No Fish – was reminiscent of the Filet O Fish at McDonald’s. The fish replacement in particular was really fishy and the texture was flaky. It wasn’t as firm as the McDonald’s real fish and definitely not as white. It was kind of grey, but the whole eat of the burger was really impressive.
The Filet No Fish was made by Jack and Bry, a relatively new business also founded in 2019, who provied plantbased meat alternatives all made using jackfruit. Jack and Bry was founded by two women: Bryony Tinn-Disbury and Jennifer Pardoe.
Neat Burger got a huge round of funding in October 2021 and they have big plans to expand. They will be opening 11 more restaurants and 16 kitchens for delivery only and they are also looking to expand so their New York restaurant will be opening soon. It is more expensive – at £6-9 per burger – versus the average high street option from Burger King, KFC or McDonald;s – but they are planning to launch a £1.99 burger that will directly compete with the big boys. That will be interesting to watch!
If you have recommendations for any companies that you think are doing really kind of mind bending things with alternative meats, please suggest them to me I would love to know and I will do my best to share them on a future episode.
That is it for this week. It is a pleasure talking to you. As always, I can’t wait to speak to you again next Wednesday. Remember to subscribe and go to thenextdeliciousthing.com And you can receive this list by email. I hope you find some food that brings you joy. Until next time, happy eating!