One of the perks of living in London is that there is never a shortage of food choices. With McDonald’s at every corner, Burger King right opposite and Chicken Cottage filling up the spaces in between, us students are never too far away from comforting, greasy food. But every now and then, something happens that will completely throw a student off guard — like that fact that the friend they're out with is a vegan. 

The stereotype erupts: burgers and fries slowly disappear from the horizon and suddenly, only a sad salad is left in the view. But that's certainly not what the vegan is thinking about. Because veganism is most certainly not just about salads. 

salad, tomato, pepper, cucumber, vegetable
Christin Urso

Indeed, I am here to tell you that you might have got it all wrong. As much as eating a vegan diet does mean being prone to eating more whole foods — as cooking from scratch is much easier than finding products without animal derived ingredients — we too, can enjoy a burger and chips. This article is the first in a series about the best places in London where you can find the best stereotype smashing vegan meals, including what will soon become your most beloved burger chain.

However — let’s start in order, with the vegan Black Cat Café, in Hackney.

With a very cosy and warm atmosphere, Black Cat Café welcomes everyone to visit them and enjoy a filling and savoury meal. I visited the café on a warm Sunday while their glass wall was wide open and a dog was chilling on the sofa seats. Don't expect anyone to welcome you or show you to a table though, as the busy environment sees the waiting staff running around constantly. 

Instead, switch on your eagle sight and grab the first table that you find available. The menu will be right behind the counter for you to take a look at. 

bacon, pork, baked beans, sausage, beans
Andreina Cecchini

I went with a friend, and while she opted for the healthier option of a falafel plate, I went full English style for the vegan fry up. It came with tofu scrambled eggs (if you’re twisting your nose, I understand — but still give it a try! And if you're still scared of tofu, take a look here), a meat-free sausage and rashers, baked beans, mushrooms, potatoes and a slice of sourdough bread. The meal came to about £8, and it was massive — there was no way that I could finish it all! 

chicken, bread, onion, vegetable, salad, falafel
Andreina Cecchini

My friend's plate was also pretty impressive and she gave me the chance to try it. It included homemade falafels, lentils, potatoes, quinoa, tzatziki sauce and a whole heap of other veggies, making the plate incredibly colourful!

Black Cat Café boast a varied menu, changing pretty much every single day. It also offers milkshakes (which were sold out the day that I went — sigh) on top of a counter full of cakes, muffins and croissants.

Their Instagram page is bursting with colourful pictures of their food, from ‘chicken’ pot pies, sausage rolls, shepherd’s pies and burgers. 

The café is situated on Clarence Road, not too far from Hackney Central Station. It's a lovely area — I would recommend visiting it on a sunny Sunday, so that you can follow your meal with a walk down to the Flowers Market on Columbia Road (and have a shot at avoiding the food coma you've set yourself up for!).

I really enjoyed my time at The Black Cat Café, and so did my non-vegan friend. The atmosphere is very cosy and the meals were delicious. If you're looking for a place full of energy, nice people and good food — this café might be the one for you, even if you don't usually follow a plant based diet!

Look out for the next article in this series — my favourite vegan junk foodie place in London! In the meantime, if you want to know more about fighting the vegan stereotype, check out this interview with YouTuber Candice Hutchings from The Edgy Veg!