Before visiting London, when I thought of the city, the two images that came to mind were the London Underground symbol and the red double decker buses. The Routemaster was the first model of the iconic red bus, which hit the streets in the late 1950s. We had a lot of fun touring the city from the top level of the modern day double decker but found ourselves wanting more. We couldn’t help but cave in and do the ultra touristy thing. Despite the mixed reviews, we decided to check out RootMaster, a vegan restaurant inside an old Routemaster bus.
When we first sat down upstairs, we noticed the table behind us was taken over by a group of ladies who were all chowing down on falafels and salad. The falafel plates looked good, fresh and dished out in generous portions. John’s decision was made before we opened the menu. He finished off the falafel balls and quinoa quickly but ignored the the soggy greens, oily tomatoes and taziki sauce, which just weren’t to his tastes. He gave the dish an underwhelming “okay.” It was £6.00 GBP ($8.80 USD), which is very reasonable for London but a Pound or two more than what other vendors in the area charge.
I wanted something light and different, which lead me to order the Panissa. The dish included two cubes of fried chickpea puree infused with rosemary and coated in polenta. On the side, there were Italian green olives, sun dried tomatoes and a small green salad. I really enjoyed the dish. I’ve had very few encounters with polenta and was excited by the texture and rosemary infusion. This dish also lead me to discover that I like olives. Up until this point, I’d never tasted an olive I liked. Turns out, I’d only tried salty olives. These were the first regular olives I’d ever had. They opened my mind to a world of olive related possibilities. For £5.00 GBP ($7.33 USD), this was a cheap, yet small, lunch in London.
We washed our meals down with a can of Whole Earth’s organic sparkling apple & raspberry soda.
Sitting at a table on the upper level of the bus allowed for some nice views. On one side, we could see the streets below and watch people scurrying around between lunch vendors. On the other side, we had a close view of some urban art.
If you’re visiting Brick Lane, you’ll likely find, as we did, the vegan options are limited or intimidating to seek out amongst all of the vendors. A lot of the food is Indian, where butter, milk and yogurt are sometimes mixed in. We landed at RootMaster out of convenience, knowing we were going to get a vegan meal with no bad surprises. The kitsch factor also played a roll. Who wouldn’t want to eat lunch in classic Routemaster bus?
Brick Lane is well known for all of the curry houses that line the street. We heard from several people that as it has become increasingly popular, the quality of the food has gone down. If nothing else, you’ll find lots of street art, cheap eats and culture to absorb. Here are a few pictures we took in the area.
Elys Yard, The Old Truman Brewery, Hanbury Street
London, United Kingdom
Tel: 07912 389 314