250 Camden High St, London NW1 8QS nspiral.co/cafe
I’m not sure why we all insist on having a label on our dietary choice. Ok, not insist, but you know what I mean. It’s not as bad as it used to be – these days people seem to adopt descriptive sentences rather than forthright statement labels. Someone might say, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I don’t eat meatÃ¢â‚¬Â, rather than say, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I’m a vegetarianÃ¢â‚¬Â. That’s mainly because’vegetarian’ wasn’t right either, with’pescatarian’ becoming a word in order to let people know you wont eat meat but you will eat fish. I’m pretty sure there will be countless more descriptive terms conjured up to convey one’s status in dining circumstances, but one term has a, well, sort of strange stigmatism to it – Ã¢â‚¬Å“veganÃ¢â‚¬Â.
InSpiral is, well, ok it is the kind of typical vegan cafe that I’d expected to find. Wood. Raw. Organic. It was never going to be glistening silverware and sparkling wine glasses. Why? Isn’t there a vegan restaurant with a fine-dining approach? I’m sure there is, but this was exactly what I thought it would be, plenty of guests with dreadlocks, everyone is happy, everyone is relaxed and the food is fairly priced and tastes great.
A vegan diet, to me, makes perfect sense. I’m heading more and more towards this choice, but, to be honest, I don’t want a label. Some days I like a vegan diet. The other day I like to have my staple diet of fruit, nuts, vegetables and fish. Join the very odd occasion I’m lured into chicken wingsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦and for extreme circumstances I’ll eat other meats. It’s not extreme oh-my-God-I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening extreme – just the odd rather notable set of circumstances where I will eat meat. I’m not lying to myself or folding under pressure or living my life as a phoney, I’m just, well, normal.
Still – the mrs adopted a vegan diet for a longer period than my one day here and there malarkyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦and she was pretty impressed when I opted for the raw mix & match plate. No mixing nor matching for me – I asked for a bit of everything to be piled onto one plate. Beetroot, turnip and carrot coleslaw; marinated mixed vegetables and seaweed; seasonal and wild green leaves with avocado and mixed seeds; cauliflower tabbouleh; and finally a raw kale salad. Raw food does float my boat, it’s a pretty awesome alternative way of finding the crunch sensation in food instead of reaching for crisps.
Then – and this is what I flippin loved about InSpiral – I had kohlrabi and durian noodles. Now, for those that don’t know, kohlrabi is some sort of cabbage and isn’t the main attraction of the dish in my eyes because durian is that fruit, which is meant to be the tastiest thing on the planet, but also the stinkiest thing on the planet. Quite frankly, to me it seems nonsense, it didn’t stink and it wasn’t the most surprising taste ever – but I’ve crossed off trying that fruit, which was always on my food bucket list.
Anywho – whether you think vegans are Green Peace soldiers or daydreaming hippies or militant foodies – is beside the point. Everyone is a human being and my body feels much better when I follow a vegan diet. I’m not sure about the conscience feeling better because I’m not battling with myself over whether I decide to consume an animal or animal product. InSpiral in Camden is the first fully vegan restaurant that I’ve visited and I loved it. I’d go again, if I were ever in Camden. Better go buy some goth-black skinny jeans and practice me Norf Landan slang, innit.