If you ever feel like you haven’t gone down the path your family planned for you, spare a thought for the parents of Alex and Oliver Santoro, who have opened this vegan joint despite their family’s 100-year involvement in the meat industry (their father is the largest exporter of pork in Europe).
Joining a handful of vegan restaurants in trend-hungry Shoreditch, Genesis is a two-floor space with peak millennial interiors (Pastel pinks? Tick. Marble, neon signs and rose gold detailing? Tick, tick, tick.) Keeping things casual, guests order at the counter from a menu inspired by street-food favourites, including burgers, hot dogs and tacos, all made without animal products.
The food is good. The best thing we ate was the ‘slaw dog’, a hotdog made with seitan (a gluten-based meat substitute) served in a soft brioche roll and topped with creamy coleslaw, crisp onion rings, jalapeños, gherkins and a tangy barbecue sauce. Elsewhere, sweet-tasting yuca fries come with a garlic mayo dip, and torta milanesa (a Mexican-style sandwich) is packed with a densely textured mix of aubergine, refried beans, chipotle mayo, avocado and tomato salsa.
To drink, there’s a small selection of beers and wines, and cocktails made with all-organic ingredients, alongside a run of kombuchas and milkshakes (the thick and sweet chocolate variety was our favourite). Desserts, meanwhile, include softserve with toppings, or a velvety avocado chocolate mousse.
We found that for such an informal place, the price point was a little high, but Genesis was rammed on our visit, proving that there’s a real market for casual, meat-free dining.