I didn’t realise there were so many vegans, says Homerton chip shop owner

PUBLISHED: 15:45 05 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:05 05 June 2019

Emine Mustafa in her restaurant and takeaway, the Kingfisher.

Emine Mustafa in her restaurant and takeaway, the Kingfisher.

Emine Mustafa

A traditional chippy in Homerton High Street is the latest Hackney haunt to launch a vegan menu.

The corndog is a new vegan addition to the Kingfisher restaurant's menuThe corndog is a new vegan addition to the Kingfisher restaurant's menu

On Sunday The Kingfisher branched out from the fish and chips it's been serving up since 1971 to host a day-long bring-your-own booze day to celebrate the new additions.

Until recently Hackney had an entirely vegan chippy in Graham Road's Sutton and Sons, though the branch has now shut and rolled its vegan menu into its larger shop a few doors down.

The Kingfisher's menu now includes breaded vegan fish-fillet burgers, chicken burgers, doner kebabs, corndogs and classic pies.

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Delighted customer Henry Carruthers told the Gazette: "While there are already a great range of vegan eateries in Hackney, from the Black Cat Cafe to the Temple of Seitan, what's different about the Kingfisher is that it's somewhere you wouldn't expect to find a vegan menu.

"As an independent, family-owned business, it's exciting to see them trying out new things."

Owner Emine Mustafa, 59, whose parents opened the shop 48 years ago, has worked hard to develop and deliver well-balanced and tasty vegan choices - despite not being vegan herself.

She said: "It's going like wildfire - I don't understand. I didn't realise there was such a huge demand as I'm not a vegan myself, but saying that I haven't eaten meat for two weeks testing it all out.

"With the Spread Eagle vegan pub opposite, we have a lot of vegan people in our area, and they would come into the shop and say: 'What's on the menu?' I introduced mac and cheese and I have a few vegetarian options, and then we've just gone one level above that with the vegan.

"Because we were a fish shop I was looking for a good fish alternative, and the only things I found before were tofu with nori seaweed or banana blossom marinaded in seaweed. This other fish alternative is made with konjac flour and tapioca starch, and the texture is fish and the flavour is fish. There are a lot of people who don't eat chicken or meat, and they are so appreciative to come here for £10 and have a filling meal. I've been wondering what have all these vegans been living on all these years, because there's not many options, it seems!"

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