It’s undoubtedly the hottest new vegan restaurant in town.
Vegans and non-vegans alike are clamouring for a table at by CHLOE – the plant-based US chain dishing out traditional comfort food with a twist.
The vegan world has been buzzing with the news that this much-loved restaurant has finally hopped across the pond and opened a franchise here in London. So when I saw an opportunity to check this plant-based mecca out for myself, I jumped at the chance.
My first impression upon entering the restaurant is that it’s completely, utterly Instagram-worthy. From the neon ‘Guac Save The Queen’ sign on the wall to the swing chairs hanging by the windows, you’re guaranteed a good photo for the ‘gram as evidence of your visit.
The staff are super friendly and accommodating: the very definition of service with a smile. One glance at the menu proves that this isn’t your typical vegan restaurant – there’s fish and chips, BLT sandwiches, sticky toffee pudding… basically, everything that I used to love before I switched to a plant-based diet.
Of course, I ordered way too much for one person. But honestly, that’s half the fun!
I was seriously impressed with the air baked fries – I have a not-so-secret addiction to McDonalds french fries, and these come crazy-close to replicating them. Don’t forget the beet ketchup, which adds a sweet and unique flavour to anything you choose to dip.
I couldn’t resist trying one of their famous vegan burgers. I opted for the Classic, which contains a tempeh-walnut-chia-lentil patty along with that delicious beet dip inside a potato bun. I’ve seen a few complaints online that the portion sizes are too small, but that wasn’t my experience – the burger was the perfect size, and every mouthful held an amazing combination of flavours and texture.
Trust me, you simply cannot visit by CHLOE and leave without ordering the macaroni and cheese. Made with a sweet potato and cashew sauce and topped with the most authentic shiitake bacon I’ve ever tasted, it’s definitely a stand-out item on the menu. If you don’t try it, I will be very disappointed in you.
If you want to guarantee a good experience, arrive early and beat the lunch or dinner crowd. The restaurant was almost empty when I walked in at 11.30am, but a steady stream of people began flowing through the door as soon as the clock hit 12pm. The tables fill up fast and there’s no booking system, so an early visit will give you a chance to nab a good seat. Sit by the windows for the best lighting – an essential when it comes to snapping photographs of your meal!
I was a little disappointed to note that by CHLOE doesn’t seem to shy away from using plastic. There were tubs of single-use cutlery available along with plastic straws, bottles and cups – something that seems a little at odds with the mission statement on their website.
They state: “We are committed to maintaining a sustainable and vegan lifestyle and actively contribute towards lowering our carbon footprint and preserving our planet’s water supply through our animal-free menu, mindful ingredient sourcing and eco-friendly packaging.”
I did spot a recycle bin sandwiched between the regular trash containers, but witnessed customers scraping their rubbish into bins seemingly at random. This is a simple teething problem that can be easily solved – investing in metal cutlery and providing mandatory recycling bins will go a long way towards becoming more sustainable and environmentally-friendly.
I reached out to by CHLOE for comment, and they responded: “All of our bowls and plates are compostable. Our menus, utensils, placements, cups and all other packaging is recyclable. However we are actively taking steps to become more sustainable. Please stay tuned for updates in the near future!”
While I’m pleased that the current packaging is recyclable, only 9% of plastic is actually recycled worldwide. However, I’m so happy to hear that by CHLOE are working to become more sustainable! Until then I’ll make a point of bringing my own metal cutlery and straws, as I felt a little uncomfortable contributing to the plastic problem.
My overall verdict? by CHLOE is a must-visit for any food-lover, vegan or not. The menu is varied and creative, the atmosphere is great and – most importantly – the food is absolutely delicious. What more could a plant-based foodie want?
You can find by CHLOE in Covent Garden at 34-43 Russell St, London WC2B 5HA. Have you visited, or do you plan to visit? I’d love to hear your thoughts!