Down to Business at The Meet, Clapham

24 Nov 2018

Meetings always seemed terribly exciting. Then I started having them and I realised (most of the time) they weren’t. They were awful. Full of head nods, stunned silences and managers talking about ‘moving forward’. Thankfully, The Meet at Fu Manchu, where I found myself this week, had no meeting involved. No meat either. It’s vegan.

Most of the small plates (£5.50 each) were unfairly good. The sticky, glazed cauliflower florets with ‘blue cheese’, the chorizo flavoured macaroni ‘cheese’ and the jackfruit tempura were better than sealing a deal. The Nuggets of Gold though were dry fried-to-hell pieces of seitan and would be strategically avoided next time.

The guy in the kitchen at Fu Manchu is Former Executive Chef of The Jam Tree, Dominic Taylor. He’s taking full advantage (and rightly so) of the vegan lifestyle trend, offering comforting, indulgent and experimental plant-based food that tastes fantastic. As Clapham’s first vegan pop-up restaurant, the quirky Fu Manchu, which is designed as an Edwardian opium den, seems like the right home for The Meet.

I could have given a PowerPoint presentation on the things I liked about the mains. The Mc Who (£9.50) burger was pattie-flavoured with gentle herbs and spices, the ‘cheese’ was flavoursome and the ‘bacon’ rashers tasted like a real little piggy who’s house had been blown down. Then on top of that, there were crispy onion rings, creamy burger sauce and tangy gherkins to make it so filthy it couldn’t be eaten with any manners. The Jerkin’ Around wrap (£8.50) could have put the burger out of business though, giving it a run for its money. It was a balance of hot and spicy tofu with pineapple salsa, plantain and ‘mayo’.

The restaurant, which sits inside a railway arch feels more industrial factory than opium den. There is scaffolding, high tables, concrete flooring and arched brick walls. It’s a great space and I can see why it’s such a popular venue for Clapham, especially with the noteworthy cocktails. The rhubarb and custard Martini (£9.70) and the Machito (£9.70) with Bacardi and matcha green tea were real tongue-tinglers, they’d make any board of directors happy.

Without even looking at pie charts, figures or profit margins, it’s clear the evening and the food at The Meet at Fu Manchu was a huge success. If you’re vegan or not, you should get on board and invest in an evening here.

Lindsey

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