VEGAN FRIED CHICKEN. It’s officially ‘a thing’. So what the bloody hell IS vegan chicken and is it any good?
Well – good question. Seitan is a wheat based protein with a seriously meaty mouthfeel. And as sceptical as we were, we have to say the ‘chicken’ wings were bloody GREAT. We loved them. My meat eating dining companion went so far as to say he might prefer them to regular chicken as it was less greasy.
But let’s start at the beginning because Club Mexicana are way more than their headline grabbing vegan chicken wings. Meriel Armitage founded Club Mexicana after getting frustrated with the holier-than-thou chickpea and chia seed reputation associated with vegan food. Inspired by her travels around LA, NYC and San Fran, Meriel set up shop and garnered quite the rep on the street food scene (with stints at Street Feast and Kerb).
Her latest residency at Pamela sees a compact menu of small plates and tacos, all homemade from scratch from ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients. Expect food that packs a punch with fists full of flavour.
The clever thing about this menu is the heat and spice of Mexican food only needs a carrier. Although we’re used to fish and meat doing that job, it turns out that it needn’t be so. The Baja To-Fish Taco tastes just like a regular fish taco to be honest. It even looked like fish. Served with pickled red cabbage, avocado salsa and chipotle chilli oil, we didn’t feel like we were missing a thing. So maybe what we thought tasted like fish all this time, just tasted like Mexican taco flavour? The To-Fish Ceviche Tostada worked just as well. The crispy base carried the lime, avo and radish straight into our hungry gobs. If we’re 100% honest, we didn’t think the carne taco was as successful, but with so many hits on the menu, you don’t need it.
Of course the menu also features real veggies. The Mexican street corn, served on a stick with lashings of chipotle mayo and a lime zesty crumb were heaven and if you don’t end up with corn stuck in your teeth then you’re doing it wrong. The generous bowl full of crispy potatoes triple cooked and tossed in a whole heap of chipotle was a totally dreamy side.
By the time dessert arrived we’d totally forgotten we’d had a 100% vegan dinner. The Mexican chocolate cinnamon cheesecake with salted caramel chocolate rubble was FAN-BLOODY-TASTIC and just confirmed you don’t need dairy to have a totally indulgent time. Who KNEW.
The general vibes are fab – party party Dalston fun times – that may or may not have something to do with the inventive shots on offer. Cinnamon Tequilla, Buttered Bourbon and Black Pepper Vodka all sound tempting but we kept things civilised with a Des Barres – jalapeno infused vodka, kiwi juice and coconut ice.
We think animal rights activist Pammy would be proud.