One unremarkable afternoon, I declared to my mum I’d be giving up meat indefinitely.
I felt the familiar waves of smugness surge through my body as these “righteous” words left my lips. I was ascending the ranks of society one bite at a time! Hurrah!
Admittedly, this was very knee jerk and insincere – a response to a pretty disrespectful flu attack that felt considerably worse than its predecessors. But it was something about the excessive mucous (something I know meat consumption contributes to), constant fatigue and slow recovery time which pushed me to give this plant-based eating thing a good go.
However, unwilling to forgo fried chicken wings at some point in the future – and publicly write a cheque my mouth couldn’t cash – I retracted and decided an 80% meat ban was definitely within my remit.
So in keeping with the #veganuary theme, I’ve reviewed two vegan/vegetarian friendly restaurants I’ve visited in the past couple of weeks.
I’d heard great things about a nondescript crepe café on Camberwell Church street offering up a variety of creative, plant-based sweet and savoury dishes, so when a date picked it for our first meeting, I was down.
The minute you enter – from the exposed brick walls, mismatched colours and intimate lighting, to the cosy leather sofas and fireplace – you understand why Maloko, a word meaning ‘journey’, embodies warmth, homeliness and familiarity.
The owner, a Cameroonian brother with the endearing quality of one who makes you feel as if you’ve been friends for longer than the actual hour or so you’d spent in his restaurant, happened to be the only working that night. As a result the service was a bit on the slow side, and although not ideal to some, I lowkey didn’t mind. After a long week, being wedged between disgruntled folk on a rush hour commute, or after seeing yet another hipster joint replace yet another corner store from my school days, you kinda crave a bit of that real. That ‘home-away-from-home’ vibe. All genuine and truly authentic.
Besides, between the wine* and small talk with the lovely Cameroonian women who came to sit on our table, I was too busy chilling to notice the time. All was right when my crepe finally arrived, served by a beaming Francklin – and boy was it worth the wait. I settled on a sweet crêpe: a mélange of apple, pear, cinnamon, coconut cream and granola, and after a few bites I was stuffed. It was delicious.
That’s the funny thing about a good chef, quality ingredients and a loving hand – you get more than your fill.
After collecting my takeaway container and bidding our adieus we left thoroughly satisfied.
I’ll be back!
Food style: French, crêpe /gallette. Vegan, gluten free and vegetarian.
Vibe: Intimate, warm and homely. A cute spot for coffee and a relaxed date night.
Location: 60 Camberwell Church Street, SE5 8QZ
Contact info: https://www.facebook.com/mymaloko
*bring your own bottle