Plant based food is going through a real moment right now. A new vegan menu appears in London almost daily, so it's no longer possible for a place to stand out by virtue of being meat, fish and dairy free. Shoreditch's Essence knows that it needs to be special to stake its place in a crowded scene.
Right from the moment you enter, it's clear this place is different. People sit side on to the minimalist tables that fold out from futuristic cubes. Perhaps a tad uncomfortable for some, but it's refreshing for somewhere to try something new.
Then it's onto the food. The standout is the wonderful heirloom tomato lasagna, beautifully presented — a jenga tower of vegetables and gorgeous pesto. The Caesar salad and raw pad Thai also deliver in a big way, the former so creamy you'll be checking with the waiter to make sure it's really vegan, the latter perfectly spicy.
Dessert is equally as wonderful: the lime cheesecake bursts with citrus flavours that bounce around your mouth, while the raw macaroons crumble perfectly as you chow down on them. Follow that up with a lemongrass tea to cleanse all the toxins out and leave satisfied.
Essence, 94 Leonard Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 4RH