Club Mexicana at Pamela, Dalston

Pamela is one of Dalston’s most popular drinking dens, always packed with hipsters sampling the cocktails and craft beers. It is a friendly bar which, in their own words, should even appeal to ‘people who don’t like cocktail bars’. I visited to try the new food offering, a long-term residency from Club Mexicana.

Club Mexicana started life as a food trader at street markets and festival fields. The team serve up vegan Mexican cuisine which is full of flavour and flare.

Club Mexicana at PamelaClub Mexicana at PamelaClub Mexicana at Pamela

The menu features ‘small plates’, ‘tacos and more’ and ‘sweet’ options. After a round of strong, tropical drinks, we chose a few plates from each section. Mexican sweet corn with chipotle mayo, ancho chilli crumb and lime zest was very satisfying to gnaw at, with a lovely crunch from the crumb and a citrus kick from the lime. Annato glazed aubergine with sour cream and coriander was a total wonder… soft marinated chunks of aubergine were marinated with a delicious sauce and topped with vibrant fresh coriander.

Club Mexicana at PamelaClub Mexicana at Pamela

The tacos were amazing too, and I was amazed at how little I noticed the absence of fish, meat and dairy. Baja to-fish taco was my favourite, an inventive fish substitute managed to recreate the exact same texture, served with pickled red cabbage, avocado salsa verde and chipotle chilli oil. I also loved the Carne Asada Taco with refried pinto beans, but found it a little too spicy.

Club Mexicana at Pamela

The vegan desserts were the least successful… Margarita Key Lime Pie was a bit sloppy with whipped coconut cream that had split to give a very strange texture. The special for the day was chocolate cheesecake with orange and salted caramel, a nicer dish with shards of dark chocolate and a sticky sweet sauce.

All in all I was mightily impressed with Club Mexicana’s menu at Pamela and would urge anyone drinking in the area this weekend to substitute their usual comfort food with this brilliant vegan option.

More information on Club Mexicana’s residency at Pamela here.

THOROUGHLY MODERN MISS: Wildebeest, Falmouth

Falmouth’s vegan restaurant, Wildebeest, offers a cosy atmosphere and beautiful attention to food, with a small and well-thought out menu that wouldn’t be out of place in a fine-dining restaurant.

Wildebeest Restaurant, Falmouth

The service is friendly and welcoming in this tiny Scandinavian-style café, with walls adorned with animal-loving chalk scribbles and floating cacti. Nothing is too much trouble, there’s never a rush, and three courses while away easily amongst a relaxed and warm setting, surrounded by happy eaters.

When the food does arrive, the delicacy, colour and conception of the plates is inspired. Turnip carpaccio, pickled shallots, mustard cream, dill, German rye bread: we spend a few minutes admiring the attention to detail in the plating of the food, and then after tasting, the intensity of flavour that’s condensed into a dish so small and beautiful. The mustard cream cuts through the sweet turnip and tangy shallot, perfect with the crunchy texture of the rye. This dish was the highlight of the evening.

Wildebeest, Falmouth

For the main course- a spicy Laksa with butternut squash and flat rice noodles, mange tout, pea tendrils. The soup was a little tame, but packed a warm ginger-y punch and was presented well, considering the difficulty in making a broth look good.

The star of the main dishes was, however, the crispy polenta with a tomato and oregano sauce. Served with kale, oyster mushrooms, almond ricotta, crunchy butterbeans and micro garlic chives, this dish exploded in flavour that was rich and comforting, despite the complex combination of ingredients.

For dessert we shared a warm chocolate and raspberry brownie and some peanut butter and chocolate fudge swirl ice cream. The perfect indulgence after a delicious supper (and you couldn’t tell it was all dairy-free).

Wildebeest accept walk-ins (apart from on Tuesday’s, when they’re closed, in the most Cornish-life way), but booking ahead is advisable- with less than 20 seats available- this restaurant is only getting more and more popular in a county that’s expanding its food expectations and broadening its culinary horizons.

More information and book a table at Wildebeest here.

Written by Jade Phipps.