THREE WEEKS without a post?! How DARE you.

How very dare I, indeed.

Well, to (not quite) make up for it here’s a roundup of what I did yesterday.

Firstly, we got the shiny new Overground train along the shiny old East London Line to the shiny new Shoreditch High Street station.

Look at the shiny shiny!

So, what was I there for? An art show? Off-West End oblique theatre? Or just browsing overpriced ‘vintage’ clothes shops for 60-year-old corduroys?

Would it surprise you that is was one of the above? No? Good. Because Iwasn’t. I am, after all, not a complete twat.

I am, however, still a bit of a twat – simply because we went all that way (15 minutes – you just count ’em) for lunch at a vegan joint that I had sworn NEVER to set foot in. Unless, perhaps, it was free. But even then I’d probably barter for booze as well.

Purdy lunch setting

That’s right – Rootmaster. Now, I know that this post may get me some flak from the London vegan community, so revered is it, but I PROMISE you that I literally have almost no reason to like it. The first (and last) time that I had dined here was about six months ago, in the evening, and with a whole heap of friends. Two of these were positive aspects of the night. Others were: the bus itself (well-decorated, twee and surrounded by crumpled vintage cars and urban artwork), the service (my meal was taken off the bill when complained about – how very un-British of me!), and the veganity (100% vegan, if you didn’t know already).

The food that I had on that occasion was, however, vile. From the over-spiced-but-underflavoured curry to the hard pastry and mouth-cloyingly oily cream of the banana cream pie, I felt very unhappy to be having to pay my £20 bill. So I didn’t. Well, not for the main, anyway.

I really, honestly, SERIOUSLY wanted it to be different this time. It was a different menu (lunch, not dinner), wasn’t packed (we were the only ones on there), and I had a£10 voucher, making any damage that might be made to my wallet by poor value food a lot less painful.

Anyway, after a couple of minutes poring over the lunch menu we decided on both the Rootmaster Curry (£6) and Panini (£5, though they marked it on the bill as £5.50…), to share. I mean, if you can’t trust a venue’s signature dishes, what can you trust?

The panini, whilst it left me with the oft-felt “could have done better myself” feeling, was actually quite nice. It had grilled marinated tofu, salty sundried tomato puree, zingy house-made mayo and cool cucumber, pressed on their light, crispy signature “bus baked” bread. A nice, balanced panini. Not £5 worth of panini, but nice all the same.

The curry. The fucking curry. Sorry for the language, but just fucking look at it. The website description states that their Rootmaster Curry consists of “Organic, seasonal vegetables and chickpeas in a creamy coconut masala & tumeric sauce served on organic brown rice”. Whilst I’m pretty sure that all of those things were in there, the description does not conjure up what appeared in front of me. A description of “Yesterday’s Rootmaster Curry, stirred together with yesterday’s brown rice because you are the only person to have ordered it today and we didn’t quite see this coming” would have more accurate.

A quick Flickr search has brought up the following picture of what my food SHOULD have looked like:

Looks tasty, no?

Seriously.

And look again at what I got:

Bleurgh

This is allegedly the same dish. I am not happy, Rootmaster. Not happy at all. We paid up (balance mostly taken up by the voucher, of course) ASAP and went elsewhere for dessert.

Having only learned that morning of magnificent vegan baker Ms. Cupcake‘s debut at all-vegan boutique Vx in King’s Cross, I decide that a walk (yes, from Shoreditch) was in order. An hour and a goose attack later we were in dire need of a sugar fix. And, oh my, Ms. Cupcake does not disappoint.

L:Cookies & Cream Cupcake/R:Irish Cream & Chocolate cake

At £2.50 for a cupcake and £2.10 for a (slightly bigger) slice of cake, this portion of delight does not come too cheap. However, when you consider that: a) a dessert at Rootmaster would have been twice the price; b) all of these desserts are handmade with love, care, attention, and quality ingredients, and; c) these are the best vegan desserts I have every had, outside of NYC.

No word of a lie. And if you know how I am with desserts (and NYC…), then you will know how high that praise is.

I am told by Vx’s Rudy that they are selling very well and will have a rotation of flavours throughout the week, every week. Additionally, if you can’t make it to Vx, you can catch Ms. Cupcake at Greenwich market every Thursday and Friday, as well as the occasional alternative spot (she is debuting at Brick Lane this coming weekend). Follow her on Twitter for the latest goss!

Right, that’s all from me now. Time to go and sleep off the remainder of yesterday’s sugar high.

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8 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Christina said,

    Oh it’s a shame that Rootmaster has disappointed you twice now- I’ve always had such lovely meals. This is the same curry, from the lunchtime menu, which I had almost two years ago:

    http://twitpic.com/1nj4rf

    The peanut satay starter is really brilliant, if you do go back. Which I’m not sure you will…!

    So desperate to try Ms. Cupcakes delights, they look so yummy!

  2. 2

    Steven said,

    :O

    Get out! Out of the vegan community! Now! How dare you insult our beautiful red bus?

    I jest. I’ve written a couple of scathing reviews on vegan places that everyone else seems to love recently. I just can’t fathom what it is about Inspiral’s overpriced, bland food that excites everyone.

    I’ve not been to rootmaster before, but judging by your pics I’m not in a great rush to visit 🙂

  3. 3

    Steffi said,

    I’m not a fan of Rootmaster either. Are you going to the next Vx cake swap?!

  4. 4

    Caitlin said,

    I’ve had some good meals at Rootmaster, but I’ve also had some so-so meals. I think it’s very hit-and-miss. I went a fair number of times when I lived near it last year (I’d usually get take away, as they’d give me a discount for it), and some meals were quite good, others not so great… I think maybe it depends on who’s cooking. Even at Saf, I’ve had spectacular meals and some very disappointing ones (not good at those prices). When I go out to eat, it’s usually for the company, not the food, because I usually end up thinking “I could have made this, for a lot less money….”

    Steven–what did you get at Inspiral? I’ve never been one for their mains (though they are vastly improved over a year or so ago), but I find their cakes nice. 🙂

  5. 5

    Steven said,

    We had tiramisu cake, peanut butter cake and some icecream. None were worth the prices they charge. The tiramisu cake was bland and destinctly untiramisu-like, PB over sweet and the icecream came in a cardboard tub, not the waffle cone they advertise. Given that it was overcrowed and with smoky incense burning we found the whole experience somewhat deflating.

    More here: http://lustrousmusings.blogspot.com/2010/05/inspiral-lounge_03.html

  6. 6

    I feel your pain, I also had a really disppointing 3 course meal there and yet had a really good panini for lunch from there? I wasn’t impressed with the ‘other’ vegan bus either…

  7. 7

    Ms. C said,

    Glad you got your well needed sugar rush!!!!! x Ms. C

  8. 8

    Sandya said,

    I too have had hit and miss meals at Rootmaster, more misses than hits. I won’t be going back unless something changes. I visited Ms. Cupcake at Brick Lane this weekend and bought a box of 4 cakes. They were awesome, delicious! The cake part cooked perfectly, a nice sponge texture but not too spongy. The icing was sweet and creamy but not overly sweet. She put strawberry jam or puree in between the cake and icing for the strawberry cream cupcake. It was lovely! Sure they are expensive but when you need a really good cupcake fix these are the ones. My husband liked these better than omni cupcakes.

    About Saf I’ve been to the restaurant before. Had a good starter and the main was just okay. The drinks are very good as was the dessert. This week I went to their location at Whole Foods. I had Banh Mi. This was tasty but was it £8.00 tasty? Not really. I couldn’t leave without having ice cream. 2 small scoops of raw chocolate ice cream set me back £7.00 plus. It was nice ice cream and the amount just right. The problem is it’s lunch time, they have a new location. They are probably trying to lure new clientèle into their new Whole Foods location. You gotta lower the prices or offer something different for less. I only had water because all of their fresh juices or juice cocktails (no alcohol) cost around £6.00 each.
    It frustrates me when vegan restaurants are charging so much for their food. I can cook. I know they have to make a profit but I also know how much my ingredients cost. Atmosphere? I was sitting in the Whole Foods Market Hall, what atmosphere?
    If anyone from these restaurants reads any of our comments please don’t get defensive about it but try and improve . Vegan people want good food and don’t want to be overcharged because they are eating something different that grows in the ground.
    Sorry if it got a bit ranty at the end there. 🙂


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