August’s MiniMoFo theme is outdoor eats, so let’s go to the market!
Since I discovered Pomodoro e Basilico on Instagram last year, I had been drooling over their weekend fares of burgers, twix bars and cheeze fingers and trying to work out how to get close enough to London to try them.
Finally, I had my chance when Dr HH and I flew back to the UK to visit our families, and decided to fly in to London and spend a day eating en route home. The Boiler House at Brick Lane was top of my list – we had some amazing Ethiopian food there on our last visit a couple of years ago, and I’d heard that the vegan scene there was excellent. And of course, it was home to Pomodoro e Basilico and their famous burgers! There are some picnic tables in the garden, and we got there quite early to settle in for some serious eating. Here are our outdoor eats:
I was clearly so hungry that I was unable to take a decent picture! This was Dr HH’s choice, ‘The Jack’: featuring pulled jackfruit, peanut butter dressing and strawberry BBQ sauce. Unfortunately, he wasn’t too impressed with it – there wasn’t much of a BBQ flavour, and he felt it was lacking in meatiness and was more of a salad in a bun than a hearty portion of jackfruit. What a shame!
He was bowled over by his solitary bite of my burger, and rightly so. It was called ‘The Good’, but clearly it was the best. The patty was excellent, and I loved all the flavours, despite usually being quite unadventurous in my burger choices. It involved beetroot ketchup, carrot bacon and cashew cheddar, along with a fantastically chunky seitan patty. Divine! We also got some chips to celebrate our return to the UK, and they were proper chips too, I’m pleased to report.
We returned for dessert. There was a selection of twix bars, and I got us the chocolate orange one to share. It was a raw treat! Usually I stay away from raw things, especially when there are baked cookies on offer, but I’m glad that the pretty colours lured me in.
I’d long been intrigued by the spinach, peanut butter and banana cake on social media, so I had to give it a whirl. We didn’t actually eat it until the next day, and found it very moist and flavoursome. Presumably the spinach is just like other vegetables in cakes: largely there for moisture. I liked the pretty green swirls, anyway.
The cake orders did not stop there:
Just look at these beauties! Vida Bakery is another I’ve been following on Instagram, and I was devastated when their pop-up shop closed a few weeks before our trip to London. Imagine my relief, then, when they revealed that they were setting up in the Boiler House every weekend too! There were probably about ten different kinds of cupcakes available on the day, and I got this box of six for £16 to share with Dr HH’s family.
Clockwise from top left, we have: peanut butter and jelly, vanilla (yes it’s topped with a doughnut), double chocolate, red velvet, banoffee and caramel. Alas, the chocolate and vanilla were inhaled before I had a chance to photograph them, but here are the others in all their glory.
The peanut butter one wasn’t the best, unfortunately: it was quite dry, and the sponge:icing ratio didn’t help with that (it was an absolute beast of a sponge, towering over the other five). The flavours were good, though.
We were worried the banoffee would be similarly dry, but it was a lovely moist sponge, thanks to the bananas, no doubt.
Dr HH’s parents had never tried red velvet cake so they had nothing to compare it to, but they were very pleased with this!
And the caramel was the best of the bunch: a delicious chocolate sponge with sweet icing and sticky caramel sauce. Yum!
All in all, these cupcakes were good and I’d definitely frequent Vida again – but Ms Cupcake still edges it for me on the vegan cupcakes front!
And finally, as if that were not enough, we also got a doughnut from Peanut Butter Bakery, who have since relaunched as Dough Society. They had a selection of doughnuts, all vegan and all insanely inviting. Ordinarily I’d have chosen the millionaire’s shortbread, but we were facing a lot of food already, so I went for the comparatively tame marshmallow one. Yes, there is a hole in the middle of it, buried under those sweet, sticky clouds of marshmallow! Watching the bearded and moustachioed Dr HH tackle this was a highlight of the trip – it’s pretty messy even when you don’t have a face of luxuriant hair!
I was so happy to finally get to try the burgers, cupcakes and doughnuts I’d lusted after online for so long. And enjoying them at a picnic table in the great British summer – well, that was the icing on the cake!
Are there any great vegan finds in the food markets in your neck of the woods? Which cupcake would you have fought off your family members for? Let me know!