Temple of Seitan

Back in January (or should we say Veganuary) of 2017 the owners of Temple of Seitan caused quite the stir when they opened a ‘vegan fried-chicken’ shop in Hackney . Then, a year later, a second shop (with seating) opened in Camden. And at the same time hipster millennials across London lost their minds about how unbelievably realistic/delicious/mind-blowing this stuff was. So, last week I decided I’d seen vegan fried chicken on one insta-story too many, and headed to Camden.

The idea of vegan fried chicken – what’s not to love? It’s the delicious, slightly greasy appeal of fried chicken; with a guilt-free conscience and a healthy mind, healthy body vibe. So my friend, Thys, and I went along with open minds and hungry bellies.

Google maps told us to follow the canal to find the temple, which was a delightful mix of scenic colourful riverside houses, optimistic Saturday joggers, and the murky swamp waters of the Thames. But hey, it was sunny and we were hungry so we walked the 15 minutes from Camden town until the delicious aroma of fried foods wafted towards us and led us right to the door.

We arrived at about 12:30pm and it was already pretty busy, we queued for food and did the classic, awkward watch for anyone who looks like they might be close to vacating their table.

Food arrived and it looked great. We took it to our tables and enthusiastically tucked in. And that’s when we made our great discovery. Seitan does not taste like chicken. It doesn’t look like chicken. In fact it’s distinctly different in almost every way to chicken. And it’s not tasty.

We realised we didn’t know what Seitan was. A quick Google search revealed that, according to Wikipedia;

“Wheat gluten is a food made from gluten, the main protein of wheat. It is made by washing wheat flourdough with water until all the starch granules have been removed, leaving the sticky insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten.[1]

Mmmm delicious elastic mass.

I really want to say it was amazing. I want to say that I can barely believe it, but that fried Seitan is even better than fried chicken. But I can’t. It isn’t. In fact, truthfully it was quite unpleasant. Sorry.

Best bit – the restaurant itself is insta-worthy from every angle, and had a great chilled vibe.

Worst bit – the “elastic mass”.

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