When I moved out of London a few months ago and into deepest darkest Hertfordshire, one of my biggest worries (because I’ve totally got my priorities right) was that there would be a huge lack of Vegan options.
We were utterly spoilt for choice living in Hampstead. We were a five minute walk away from Le Pain Quotidien, with their chilli and their chocolate cake, and Silverberry Cafe, with their delicious Banana Bread. We were a five minute bus ride away from Club Mexicana, ten minutes on the tube to Yorica and we could get Firezza delivered directly to our door.
Thankfully our new tiny Town does have a few places we can eat out at, we’ve got a banging Chinese (that I’m frighteningly addicted to), our local cafe has a Vegan breakfast and I’ve been helping some other local business to work on adding some Vegan options. It’s certainly turned out to be an easier transition than I anticipated.
Since we’ve moved outside of the M25, we’ve been searching out all of the Vegan places the home counties has to offer.
First on the list was, of course, The Den in Colchester. Opened by Husband & Wife duo Rob & Jen in 2015, they are famous for their epic burgers and beautiful cakes, I’ve been drooling over their Instagram for years and my visit did not disappoint.
The Den itself is super cute, with it’s original wooden floors, cool murals and bench seating; and don’t worry if you look in to find all the tables taken downstairs, they have an upstairs too. We got in just behind a couple who took the last table downstairs and I panicked hard, you guys!
I love that upstairs The Den provides a little selection of reading material. They had a few Vegan magazines and a copy of Michael Greger’s How Not to Die. Great if you’re dining alone and also great if you don’t want to talk to your Husband whilst you eat. PRO TIP: The Den is also in range of the Poke Stop at the pub over the road. So if Pokemon is your thing, you can stick a lure on and catch as many as you can whilst you stuff your face with all the Vegan Junk Food greatness.
At The Den you can expect a wonderful varied menu of burgers, toasties, salads, homemade waffles and incredibly popular desserts that change daily. Everything is extremely good value for money – for example burgers are £5.50 to £7.50, a sausage sandwich is £2.75 and a Flat White is £2.70
THE DEN STACK BURGER
I went for The Den’s newest burger The Den Stack. And. It. Was. Incredible.
Think a Vegan Big Mac. But better.
Two juicy Vegan patties, melty cheese, crunchy iceberg, diced onions and smothered in a Top Secret house-made sauce which I want to drink a gallon of on it’s own quite frankly.
The sauce is the closest thing I’ve had to real Big Mac sauce ever, and I’ve made & eaten a lot of it over the years, trying to work out the perfect combination of ingredients. The Den has utterly nailed it.
The Den Stack Burger is an utter work of Vegan Junk of Art. In fact, it’s perfect.
Almost managed to get my mouth around it. Almost.
THE DESERT ISLAND BURGER
Tom went for the Desert Island Burger as his obsession with ordering anything Tofu when we go out is relentless. A smoky tofu burger made with organic vegetables, sunflower seeds, oats & almonds with mayo and topped with a roasted red pepper (you can choose between the roasted red pepper or a pineapple ring).
He absolutely adored it. I managed to sneak a bite when Tom wasn’t looking and I can confirm it was utterly dreamy.
ALREADY PLANNING MY NEXT VISIT
The other options which really caught my eye from the menu were:
The Den’s Breakfast Bagel – Tofu Omlette & Sausages in a toasted bagel.
Sun-dried Tomato & Chickpea Toastie – with basil, mayo & garlic
Messy Mexican Burger – a bean burger with cheese, lime yogurt & tomato salsa
Chickenless Burger – with garlic & mayo
Smoky Chickpea Salad – mixes leaves with cherry tomatoes, sliced red onion and avocado, drizzled with a maple paprika dressing and topped with warm chickpeas in a smoky tomato sauce
Quinoa Salad – red & white quinoa with edamame beans, black beans, avocado, salad leaves and tomato, served with a choice of 2 dressings – ginger miso or honey mustrard
Now, I know I’ve pretty much listed the entire menu there, but, trust me, that was me showing restraint. I literally want everything on the menu! And I’m totally beating myself up that I didn’t add on one of those salads to my burger because a) I totally could have eaten both because I am an elastic waistband wearing Vegan Goddess and b) my mouth is utterly watering at the sound of them! Maple Paprika. Ginger Miso. Honey Mustard. Totally naming any future kids after The Den’s salad dressing choices.
Peep the whole menu here
I was heartbroken to find The Den had sold out of all their incredible cakes so I didn’t get to try any. Next time I go, you can rest assured that I’ll be eating double to make up for it!
We have some tasty Coconut caramel slices (which have a layer of chocolate, walnut and toasted coconut) Also brownies, cupcakes and cheesecake. Come and treat yourself to a post Valentine’s day treat #downattheden #thedenat23 #vegan #vegancolchester #colchester #vegancake #whatveganseat #whatfatveganseat #vegansofig
Living outside of the M25 isn’t so bad when the Vegan options are this good!
OPEN Tues, Wed, Fri 10:30 – 4pm, Sat 10 – 4pm & Sun 11 – 4pm
23 Crouch Street, Colchester, Essex CO3 3EN