The Perfect Place to Lose your “Veginity”

In Arts, Slider Posts by Paige Tracey

 

Where?  Restaurant: Richmond Place South., Rear 26 Richmond Street South, Dublin 2, Ireland. Eat Yard: 9-10 South Richmond St, Dublin 2, Ireland
When? Thurs-Sat 17:00-22:00
What? Veginity, vegan street food restaurant in Dublin

With a permanent restaurant location, as well as a food truck in Dublin’s Eat Yard, Veginity cooks up delicious plant-based versions of classic dishes. Experimenting with a new cuisine each week, long time vegan chef Mark Senn is constantly serving up new starters, main courses and desserts. It is the perfect spot for those interested in embracing a diet free from animal products- hence, the perfect place to loose one’s “veginity!”

I first discovered the delights of this plant-based food truck at their spot in the Eat Yard, a collection of street food vendors parked next to Dublin’s prime bohemian hang out, The Bernard Shaw. Here, the aptly named “Veginity” usually serve their signature plant based “fish” and chips. While not mimicking the taste and texture of a battered fish fillet exactly, I would argue Veginity’s creation is just as delicious. Priced at 8 euros, which is significantly cheaper than one would expect to pay for the real deal in Dublin, the dish is served with chunky chips and a deliciously creamy alioili dressing. Of course, the Eat Yard is exactly for “street” food. Though on some evenings it is quiet enough to grab a seat on one of their benches, it doesn’t make for the most comfortable dining experience.

Imagine my joy, therefore upon discovering that Veginity has a permanent, indoor restaurant spot just up the road! My joy did somewhat change to confusion when trying to find the spot however; it really is an elusive little place. After crossing back and fourth over Richmond Street, I eventually realised that Google Maps was indeed leading me down an unremarkable looking alley at the back of the shops. Turn left in this alleyway, and one is faced with a building that looks to be nothing more than a storage facility. Yet it is in here that the magic happens; a fact I admittedly would not have guessed had there not been two other women searching at the same time, as there really is no signs or indication that the restaurant is inside.

Despite being indoors, the owners have gone to efforts to keep the street food feel as authentic and rustic as possible. The food is all prepared and cooked in a food truck located at the restaurant’s rear end. The room is sparsely decorated, save for a wall which holds a whole market of fresh fruit and vegetables. Whether these make it into the dishes I have no idea; I can’t imagine the ethically-minded owners would let so much fresh produce go to waste. I was seated at a simple wooden table, offered water and handed the menu. The owners take a completely hands-on approach, as I recognised my server, Ingrida from photos on the Veginity website. The founder Mark Senn cooks all the food from scratch in the truck. The downside of this is that the food takes quite a long time to arrive, around 25 minutes to half and hour. Another complaint I would make is how dark the restaurant is inside; a result of it being located in a storage facility with no windows. Yet of course, the waiting time for food only means that the greatest amount of care and effort has gone into every dish, which is certainly reflected in the food’s quality once it arrives.

Before I go into more detail about the food itself, I should explain how Veginity’s menu works. The list of food available changes each week, each time being themed by a different culture, cuisine or country. Recent offerings have been recipes from Sri Lanka, Sicily, Venezuela and a special menu for Dublin’s Pride Week. When I decided to visit however the menu was based on the food of Japan. The full menu for the week is pictured below and the prices are indicative of what one can always normally expect to pay. Starter and dessert normally cost around 7 euros each. and the main course costs between 10 and 12 euro.

 

 

This is more expensive than the food sold in Veginity’s truck at the Eat Yard; nevertheless, the dining experience is much more comfortable. Indulging in the full set menu will set you back around 30 euros at the most. Relatively, for a restaurant in which every dish is creatively prepared by hand, located in a city in which the average price for a two course dinner with wine is 40 euros, the price is not too steep. Veginity also allows you to bring your own booze, further driving down the expense. As a student with limited funds however I ultimately decided to eat just one of the two main course options, the “Sumo Burger”; a Bean Burger with Eggplant Okonomiyaki Glaze, Wasabi Mayo and triple cooked chips.

Admittedly, I don’t know how authentically Japanese a burger and chips is. While working within the tastes of the chosen culture therefore, Veginity does keep their dishes appetising for an Irish audience, as burger with triple cooked chips can be found as a menu option most weeks. I believe this is, however part of the genius in Veginity’s vision. Instead of throwing customers into the deep end with dishes made from vegetables no one has ever heard of, the chef creates plant based versions of classic dishes, in order to demonstrate just how easy it is to eat without animal products. I am sure more than a few diners have therefore lost their “veginity” at the restaurant, especially as there is a variety of vegan based literature on display.

Furthermore, the most important thing was that this burger was tasty. Very tasty. The bean patty was juicy and moist, and the eggplant added a unique flavour that one would not normally get at a typical diner. The triple cooked chips, too were delicious. It was hard to believe that the creamy wasabi mayo was completely vegan, containing no egg at all. There is no denying the quality of the food, or Mark Senn’s cooking ability. That is exactly why the restaurant was named the Best Street Food eatery at The Food Awards Ireland in 2016.

Those adopting a vegan diet are on a steady rise, and as a result more vegan eateries are cropping up to accommodate them. Those interested in exploring the option of being completely plant based should try Veginity for their first port of call. As the name suggests, the combination of creativity with classic dishes makes it the perfect place for first time vegans, vegetarians and even meat eaters. A quicker and cheaper bite can be found in their truck at the Eat Yard, while those wanting a less rushed dining experience should head to the secret location on Richmond Place (if you can find it, that is!) What the restaurant lacks in aesthetic is made up for in the taste and quality of the food, and it is pleasing to see a business committed to making its consumers more ethical in the most mouth watering way.