The Roman welcomes its first fully vegan cafe, E3 Vegan
Relaxed coffee shop by day and seven-course supper club by night, E3 Vegan is set to put Roman Road on London’s vegan map.
While everyone from McDonalds to KFC is jumping on the vegan bandwagon, newly opened cafe owners, Marc Joseph and Jordan Kaplan, are determined to show that there’s more to vegan food than mock meat.
Landing on the Roman Road on 1 February 2022, you wouldn’t guess that this contemporary utilitarian coffee shop doubles up as a fine dining establishment every Friday night, hosting seven-course supper clubs for up to twenty guests.
This versatility is what lies at the core of E3 Vegan’s vision. As co-owner, Kaplan said: ‘We want it to be, as much as it can be, for as many different kinds of people.’
Just like many of us, the pandemic set Joseph and Kaplan’s lives on an unlikely path. Former head chef at Vanilla Black, London’s pioneering vegetarian restaurant, Joseph lost his job when the upmarket restaurant permanently closed during lockdown.
Returning to his passion of cooking for a social mission, Joseph started volunteering at a kitchen in Tottenham, serving food to the local community during lockdown.
As furlough came to an end, the couple needed a way to pay the bills. ‘So I thought,’ Kaplan said, ‘Marc has his talent, and we have this big garden where we can get people outside to meet up safely,’ so as the country started tenuously socialising again, London’s first vegan supper club was born.
Initially held in Joseph and Kaplan’s family garden on Grove Road in Bow, they hosted dinner parties for the public on and off for a year and a half (lockdown dependent).
The events ran smoothly and successfully, demonstrating that the concept was feasible and that they were compatible as business partners. ‘We realised as a romantic couple we could do this together.’ Kaplan beamed, ‘We didn’t fight when we did it, we enjoyed it and we worked together.’
Kaplan said that they had always dreamed of opening a little cafe or deli together, and as lockdown restrictions slowly lifted, the perfect opportunity arose to couple this dream with their newest dining endeavour. Welcome E3 Vegan.
Aware of the connotations that veganism can carry, Joseph and Kaplan are eager to ensure the cafe doesn’t become inaccessible or unaffordable. As Kaplan explained: ‘It’s easy to get boutiquey but this is still a local neighbourhood and we want it to be a local neighbourhood as much as possible.’
The new cafe owners source drinks from Bow’s East London Liquor Company, and are keen to partner with fellow businesses on the Roman including Whole Fresh and Symposium.
Having lived in Tower Hamlets and Hackney for over twenty five years, Kaplan wants the cafe to be a familiar space for people in the area. ‘One of the big ambitions of having this cafe is that we get to see people over a longer period of time, so you get to know people, you get to know regulars,’ she said.
A sure mark of commitment to their cafe, Joseph and Kaplan even got E3 Vegan’s logo tattooed on their wrists by their friends at Dharma Tattoos. ‘We got branded!’ Kaplan laughed, ‘I love it, I just haven’t told my dad yet…!’
Aside from the tattoo, part of the cafe’s ethos is to leave as little trace as possible. According to Kaplan, vegan food tends to be more environmentally friendly than animal products, and it was important to the pair that they could walk to the cafe from their home. They are also hoping to do food deliveries by bicycle this summer.
The menu changes every other day but if you happen across the Moroccan tagine with tempura cauliflower we’ve been told it’s a sure favourite.
Pop into E3 Vegan at 357 Roman Road, or visit their website at e3vegan.com.
If you liked this then you might like our roundup of the best vegan cafes near Roman Road.
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