By Lucy McCall, MSc Migration Mobility and Development
Café Van Gogh believe in the power of food to bring people together, serving delicious, affordable and 100% vegan food. Situated at the northern end of Brixton Road near Oval tube station, the restaurant is a hidden gem, a charming sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle of South London’s busy streets. You’ll find this utopia in the annex of a church, a small, welcoming space filled with colour, greenery and a spiral staircase draped with multi-coloured fairy lights. With a ceiling painted to mimic Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’, the quirky upstairs boasts a record player, board games and shelves filled with random objects, from top-hats balanced atop stacks of National Geographic magazines to colourful paintings and plants. This delightful space combines the relaxed feel of a friend’s living room with the distinct romanticism of an artist’s hangout.
Inspired by the vibrant fruit stalls of Caribbean streets and lively spices of South Asia, every dish tells a story of travel, community and fusion. From seitan sticky ribs to jerk plantain to burgers, the menu is bursting with diverse flavours. As a rookie vegan I found it hard to believe that their mac and cheese would actually taste good, but upon ordering it was pleasantly surprised! The ‘cheese’ sauce was a combination of butternut squash and nutritional yeast; whilst it didn’t quite reach the tangy kick of that ever-addictive cheddar cheese, it was creamy, comforting and richly satisfying. 3 accompanying salads helped brighten the plate and add variety. In total, the whole meal only set me back £6.25 (with 10% student discount).
On top of the delightful atmosphere and delicious food, Café Van Gogh is a social enterprise which reinvests its profits back into the community through programmes such as nutrition workshops and training courses. For anyone venturing south of the river, I cannot recommend it enough!