Essence Cuisine: an essential plant-based eatery in Shoreditch

PUBLISHED: 11:51 25 September 2017

Essence cuisine lasagna

Essence cuisine lasagna


Essence Cuisine, the brainchild of plant-based chef, Matthew Kenney, reads like a yoga retreat brochure; it’s about getting to the “essence of life”

Essence cuisine avocado toast Essence cuisine avocado toast

East London is renowned for its quirky eateries; from the cereal cafe to coffee houses offering more “alternative milks” than you knew existed. Now there’s a new addition, and everything on the menu is free from meat, dairy, gluten and refined sugar (but not taste).

Essence Cuisine is the brainchild of plant-based chef, Matthew Kenney, having been established by Bart Roman in Belgium in 2014. Its approach to food reads like a yoga retreat brochure; it’s about getting to the “essence of life” and understanding what fuels our bodies. It promotes the 80/20 principle of life; living 80 per cent healthily, with 20 per cent for guilty pleasures.

The pared-back, aluminium interior by Andreas Bozarth Fornell is a talking point, since the fashion is apparently to sit beside, rather than opposite, your guest.

For those fancying a tipple, there are (PO), (PB), (ORG), (BIO), (NAS) and (MS) options, and there’s also “activated walnut” on the menu and a cocktail made from the drained juice of chickpeas. Confused? Ask; the staff are friendly and knowledgeable.

The breakfast and brunch menu is millennial-friendly; quinoa porridge, avocado on toast, and banana pancakes, but it’s the takeaway-friendly mains that intrigue. Red-smoked hummus and Caesar salad are the conventional choices, whilst bangers and mash cater for comfort seekers.

The raw pad thai with kelp noodles, kale and tamari almonds is devilishly tasty, whilst the heirloom tomato lasagne surprises. Not a trace of pasta in sight, this is a tower of vegetables and pesto arranged in Jenga-like fashion. The Essence bowl is another treat; a disc of quinoa tops a cumin sweet potato and Jerusalem artichoke cream.

The best way to experience the food is to try the ‘Taste of Essence’, with three dishes for £24. For pudding, there’s a deconstructed cheese cake, raw cacao and date brownie and macaroons. There’s also a ‘cheese’ board that demands a try.

For the committed vegan, Essence is a must with its unrivalled list of options and holistic approach to dining. For the unconvinced, it might not convert you, but you won’t regret the experience.

Essence Cuisine, 94 Leonard St, London EC2A 4RH, 020 7729 5678,


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hackney Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hackney Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hackney Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hackney Stories

Yesterday, 17:01

National League: Eastleigh 0 Leyton Orient 0

Yesterday, 14:22

FA Cup quarter-finals: Swansea City 0 Tottenham Hotspur 3

Yesterday, 08:30

I have written today to the chief executives of the Environment Agency and the Canal and River Trust having seen little in the way of effective action from either of these agencies to tackle the oil spill on the River Lea, writes Cllr Ian Rathbone, Lea Bridge ward.

Fri, 22:30

The 46-year-old elaborated on his thoughts that it takes a long-term process to breed a winning mentality rather than one successful domestic cup run

Fri, 18:00

Arsenal have encouraged supporters to follow advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office after they were drawn to play CSKA Moscow in the Europa League.

Fri, 18:00

London Lions clamped down on the Flyers right from the start as they cruised to a comfortable League win.

Fri, 17:01

Sainsbury’s in Dalston is under fire for ditching its free parking for customers.


To celebrate LGBT history month, Hackney resident Amanda talks about her journey to becoming a foster carer, with the council’s support and training.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists