My pal Liam got in touch to ask if I would like to hear his views on Fed by Water. I recently featured news of their extensive vegan offerings but haven’t had a chance to get over to Dalston to try for myself.
Thankfully, Liam loves food as much as I do. Maybe even more.
Take it away, Liam.
Ordinarily there’s very little to ever induce me to go within a mile of Dalston. I’ve long been allergic to anything even remotely hip. The problem I have with this part of town goes further than its reputation as an enclave populated exclusively by striding facial topiary and trendy lumberjacks. What confounds me is that despite the hipster influx, these parts have been noticeably lagging when it comes to cruelty-free dining.
Sure, there are a few health shops and some Vietnamese places dotted about with plant-based options, but nothing to really tempt you in that particular direction when there are so many superb options elsewhere. Compared to the rest of the city, Dalston has remained largely unconquered by veganism.
Until now, that is.
Dalston’s seeming indifference to the conscious dining revolution makes Fed By Water’s extensive vegan range of artisan pizzas and old country-inspired pastas all the more surprising. With Amico Bio’s pizza ovens permanently cold, cruelty-free diners enamoured with all things Italian were left with places like Pizza Pilgrims and Franco Manca. Both of which produce quality pizza with that traditional Italian feel, yet their vegan offerings amount to no more than an all too familiar concession: regular pizza minus the dairy.
Situated directly opposite Dalston Kingsland station, the (partially) vegan Fed By water (Fed for short) sets out to rectify this. However, a quick caveat: whilst the owner, Fabio, is vegetarian and some of the staff are vegan, unfortunately they do still serve meat, fish and dairy. Sometimes I think it is easy to believe that nothing short of 110% vegan is ever good enough. In a sense, it isn’t. However, in a city with more chicken shops than people, the existence of Fed is a huge victory and something we can surely use to our advantage. Fed may not a fully vegan establishment (yet!) but I would still urge my fellow vegans to check it out.
In the war on carnism, places like Fed have a vital role to play. Their menu alone boasts a tantalising array of tasty, diverse vegan options – proving to even the most stubborn carnivore that cruelty-free dining needn’t involve enduring any form of hardship. It is also a fantastic advert for veganism as the place is absolutely littered with the V-word we all know and love, but that we are so seldom accustomed to seeing.
Vegans are incredibly well catered for here. There are over eight plant-based pasta dishes, including taglietelle fungi, and five fully vegan pizzas (available as calzones, if you desire) including the ‘Spicy Seitan Salami,’ the ‘Nature’ for the health conscious and a plethora of rotating vegan specials.
Fabio’s philosophy is quintessentially Italian: perfection achieved through simplicity. His dough and tomato base have to be flawless, the oven at optimum temperature and each topping in complete harmony. After a half-hour conversation on vegan cheese (incidentally, Fabio prefers his pizza without any), you really get a sense of the fine line between passion and obsession – Fabio’s quest to produce the perfect vegan pizza falling somewhere between the two. His choice of Cheezly (usually every vegan’s nightmare) may seem a curious one. Yet Fabio performs miracles with it. After rigorous testing and much experimentation, Cheezly was selected precisely because it was subtle, did not conflict with the other ingredients and provided just a hint of creaminess – and, surprisingly, it really works. I suspect this is largely attributable to the strength of the other elements rather than anything to do with Cheezly itself, but the result is easily the best vegan pizza in town.
Fabio’s philosophy is carried over in to every aspect of the business. The interior itself is minimalist and functional. The garlic bread we ate was doughy and delicious, scattered with herbs, salt crystals and the finest olive oil. The pizzas themselves were delicately balanced, mouth-watering affairs that having you wondering how they can be so good and remain cruelty-free. Herein lies the secret to winning vegan converts. Not only is veganism given prominence in Fed, but the products themselves surely rival those in Fabio’s native Italy. Quite simply, whatever your diet, it’s outstanding vegan pizza.
My hope is that Fed will be flooded with vegans and that one day, in the not too distant future, become a solely cruelty-free establishment. Until then, I shall enjoy greedily eating my way through the plant-based portion of the menu, something I strongly recommend everyone to attempt for themselves.
Now. Check out the photos from Liam’s trip below.