I remember once a vegetarian saying that nothing made his heart sink more than going to a meat-eating friend’s house for dinner and being served vegetable lasagne… every time. I’d imagine that being limited to the veggie option on a restaurant menu must produce an equivalent heart-sink at times… so what’s it like to go to a vegan restaurant, where you can order everything on the menu? Slightly overwhelming, apparently.
But any vegans who are up to the challenge – as well as curious non-vegans – should definitely check out the Rootmaster Bustaurant, which is parked in the carpark behind the Truman Brewery, just off Brick Lane. Not only can you choose from the entire, enticing menu, but you eat it on the top floor of an Routemaster bus – perfect for anyone who misses those old bangers (my sister says she could always hear the rattling old Number 8 long before she could see it).
The kitchen is on the bottom floor, and upstairs is a narrow 28-seat restaurant. There are smaller tables at the front and the entire ‘back of the bus’ area is taken up by a comfortable, cushioned bench with a big table in the middle. There was six of us, but room for more. As you sit there you can gaze out the window at people walking by below, and open and close the bus windows as you see fit. Candles and nice cultery add a classy touch and the elevation and cosy atmosphere make this a unique experience.
The food is inventive and varied, with things like fresh spring rolls and tofu satay sticks for starters, then more tofu – in currys, and pizza piled with avocado and fresh salad… and desserts include pannacotta, vegan cheese cake and chocolate fondants with lovely vanilla icecream.
One drawback is that you have to use a loo at a nearby bar, but it’s not much of a problem. What’s more, I didn’t miss the meat and dairy at all. And despite knocking off five bottles of wine between six of us (and thinking back, one was pregnant, so not drinking. Oops) we were remarkably chirpy and alert at the end of the evening – there was none of that pouring out of the joint in an overfed haze. The following morning was fairly painless too. I can only put it down to all those locally sourced veggies and the vitamins contained within. The waitresses look rude with health, too. Those vegans are definitely onto something.
Here’s a link to the website, with directions.