loti eats | essence cuisine

Since opening last September, Essence Cuisine in Shoreditch has been one of the key places in London’s new-found love affair with vegan food. With a menu that is completely free from meat, dairy, sugar and gluten this is seriously healthy stuff – vegan junk food it is not – but it’s also really creative. The menu has been created in partnership with Matthew Kenney, who is a big deal in America and led the way for high-end plant-based cooking over there. The dishes at Essence Cuisine are beautiful and wouldn’t look out of place in a Michelin-starred restaurant.

We popped in for an evening dinner when they serve a bigger range of dishes from the kitchen – during the day midweek it is more focused on quick grab-and-go options from their new Essence Express range. We started with some delish spicy carrot sushi to share, which has shredded carrot and avo instead of rice and a spicy jalapeno ‘cream’ to hold it all together. Next came the signature heirloom tomato lasagne; delicately balanced layers of thinly-sliced courgette, sundried tomato, pistachio pesto and macadmaia ricotta, and the ‘Raw Pad Thai’ made from kelp noodles, marinated kale and almonds…so good.

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Potentially best of all is the Essence Nut Cheese Board, a selection of fresh nut cheeses with raw crackers, pear chutney, pickled radish, and sundried tomato salsa. Honestly if you think cheese is the one thing you couldn’t do without if you went vegan, you might change your mind after this!

The work that goes into a lot of these dishes is incredible and the flavours pack a real punch. We still haven’t gone fully vegan but with Essence around we can see ourselves being a lot more plant-based in future.

94 Leonard St, London EC2A 4RH