Food

Vegan doners are here to cure your kebab cravings

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Jenny Tregoning
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The UK’s first vegan kebab brand has finally opened a shop…

Walking past What The Pitta in Camden, you wouldn’t suspect it was anything other than a regular kebab shop. A neon green sign outside glows bright with the word ‘doner’ (albeit surrounded by leaves, a subtle hint…) while hungry punters inside perch around a silver counter on black stools, tucking into doner wraps and chip boxes.

The difference? There’s no slowly rotating, suspect-looking tower of meat in the kitchen. In fact, there’s no meat at all. What The Pitta joins the ever-growing list of vegan fast-food joints serving cruelty-free versions of traditionally meaty dishes.

The vegan doner wrap

Following outposts at Boxpark in both Croydon and Shoreditch, What The Pitta opened its first bricks and mortar store in Camden earlier this month, and there was barely a seat to spare when Stylist visited on a Wednesday evening after work.

The menu is brief – spiced, grilled soya chunks (the doner ‘meat’) served in either a flatbread, chip box, or couscous box, both served with hummus, soya tzatziki, salad and chilli sauce. There’s also a plant-based take on lahmacun – a moreish, tomato-based Turkish-style pizza topped with minced soy, onion and parsley.

The doner and chips box

Full disclosure: I’ve never eaten a regular doner kebab, so I can’t fairly compare the two. But as a former meat eater, I can vouch for the juicy, chewy texture of the soya pieces, which were miles better than most meat substitutes.   

The wraps were seriously good, but the standout winner was the chip box - after all, what meal isn’t improved by adding chips? This came stacked with crunchy, paprika-sprinkled fries, which were then layered with soy pieces, chilli sauce and all the delicious accompaniments.

What The Pitta’s flagship kebab shop in Camden

If you’re feeling thirsty, there are two fridges packed with soft drinks (San Pellegrino is a definite upgrade on most kebab shops) and alcoholic drinks (Camden Hells lager, cans of G&T). For dessert, there’s even a vegan baklava, made with sugar syrup rather than honey, and crushed almonds for a deliciously sticky sweet hit.

While not open quite late enough to stop by post-pub, we would definitely leave early to feast on a vegan doner before heading home. And you can order through Uber Eats and Deliveroo, too – our Friday treat lunch just got a lot more interesting…

What The Pitta, 89-91 Bayham Street, Camden, is open Sunday to Wednesday, 11.30am to 9pm, and Thursday to Saturday, 11.30am to 11pm

Photography: Ashur Stanley

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Jenny Tregoning

Jenny Tregoning is a sub-editor for Stylist magazine and also looks after the Gourmet On-The-Go food pages. In her spare time she can be found eating her way round London's restaurants then working it all off again at a kickboxing class.

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