South London café turns vegan
With chef’s hailing from Brazil, Portugal & the Caribbean, the team at Café Van Gogh are on a mission to bring original, authentic, home-cooked, 100% vegan dishes to customers. Their Sunday roast has already been featured in Metro’s best places for vegan Sunday roasts while profits from the café are reinvested into employability training, work experience programmes and food workshops for marginalised members of the local community. Café Van Gogh’s unpretentious, welcoming atmosphere paired with good value, hearty cuisine is attracting foodies from far and wide.
Café Van Gogh’s founder Steve Clarke is keen to democratise access to healthier options for all. After leaving a career in in social care, Clarke intentionally set up shop in an ethnically diverse and densely populated low-income area of south London, making fresh, affordable, plant-based meals accessible to surrounding locals as well as hardcore vegan converts.
Consumer demand for healthier vegan options is undeniable; but so is the demand for great taste. Café Van Gogh’s new summer menu wins on both counts featuring:
- Sticky seitan ribs, with potato and pickled onion salad, grilled corn, “bacon” butter.
- Sri-Lankan jackfruit and aubergine stuffed chapatti, served with dhal, pineapple chutney & a selection of salads.
- Jerk plantain served with smoky beans, brown rice, mango salsa.
We can’t wait to share our new dishes with food lovers in London & beyond. Going 100% vegan is close to my heart and a lifestyle choice I believe in wholeheartedly, but this this isn’t just a personal decision; more and more customers have been asking for it. It’s just plain common sense to serve this demand. For me, the best bit is being proud of a menu that’s so full of real flavour. It seems to hook everyone, regardless of your diet choice.
The sentiment is shared by the café’s loyal customers across social media:
“I’m coming to my sticky seitan ribs today! So thrilled to have such a wonderful, tasty, vibey vegan place on my doorstep. – Jasmine Pender, local resident & customer
As a social enterprise, Café Van Gogh invests the profits made from café sales into dedicated food workshops, training and employability opportunities for marginalised members of the local community in Brixton.
To date social impact activities have included:
- Providing chef and kitchen staff apprenticeships to NEETs
- Welcoming field trips from the local primary schools, hosting experiential workshops where the kids taste and explore how raw nutritious ingredients transform into the deliciously diverse menu.
- Offering a work experience programme to teenagers with learning difficulties from Highshore School putting them on the front line of food prep & customer service.
Café Van Gogh is supported by Big Issue Invest which supports a number of social enterprise organisations tackling poverty and disadvantage.
Café Van Gogh wants to say thank you to the loyal customers that have supported the café over the last year.
To celebrate going 100% vegan and the new summer menu, Café Van Gogh will be rewarding weekly surprise gifts to customers that post about the restaurant or snap their favourite dishes from the menu across Facebook, Twitter & Instagram using the hashtag #CafeVanGoghLDN from 1st – 31st July. More info can be found here.
The closest Underground station is Oval. You can see the exact location of the café here thanks to Google Maps.