Vegan? Tick. Shoreditch? Tick. Millennial pink? Tick. DOSE writer Charlotte went along to check out Genesis, a new restaurant ticking ALL the boxes for style, taste (healthy but still a bit naughty) and who are we kidding, your Instagram feed…
These days, a new restaurant opening in London feels like a regular occurrence – but only some truly manage to tap into the zeitgeist, standing out amid the array of press releases that come my way. Genesis, founded by two brothers Alex and Oliver Santoro whose family have a 100-year-history in – wait for it – the meat industry – does just that. It opened just weeks ago, on Commercial Street, near Spitalfields Market.
Its USP is that all its food is vegan, GMO free and organic, certified by the Soil Association. While there are “hot dogs” and “burgers” on the menu, they’re made from a combination of pulses, quinoa, vegetables and spices. The “nachos” come with what I think is coconut cheese (they’re unmissable by the way) and the desserts use dairy substitutes, presumably such as oat and almond milk. Amazingly, this plant-based approach doesn’t mean you have to compromise on taste.
You order at the counter for a sort of diner feel, and the menu includes an eclectic array of street-style dishes from around the world, with offerings inspired by Tel Aviv (think “shawarma”), India, Mexico and more. I can recommend the kale caesar salad, which would be good even if it weren’t vegan. How they make the dressing without eggs or Parmesan I have no idea.
The yuca fries with garlic mayo were utterly delicious and I could easily have eaten a second portion. My husband loved the Malaysian street noodles with stir fried vegetables: a hearty portion, fresh and perfectly spicy. The best dish of all was, as ever, dessert. Don’t leave without trying the bread and butter pudding, a sweet concoction that comes in a sort of custard with raspberry compote.
The restaurant itself is fun and pretty – loud music, cool neon art, indoor greenery, millennial pink, cutlery and napkins in small gold buckets on the tables. Crockery is brightly coloured – think turquoise and vivid blue – and food is exquisitely presented. Our side order of cauliflower and turmeric comes studded with raisins and pomegranate and looks like the ultimate Instagram fodder.
It may sound faddy and of-the-minute (the matcha latte comes with “crystal energy”) but actually, Genesis offers fun, affordable food, that ticks the health box without taking itself too seriously. It’s worth noting that the Soil Association accreditation is a serious feat, but there are milkshakes and cocktails, so you can have a good time as well as a clean one. We leave full but without the heavy, bloated feeling that accompanies too much dairy and sugar. In fact, the “cheesecake” wasn’t yet available, so we know we’ll be going back.
Genesis, 144 Commercial Street, eatgenesis.com