The Greedy Cow food review: burgers and beetroot buns
The Greedy Cow’s blend of meat and plant-based offerings is a tempting mixture for committed carnivores and devoted vegans. We review its mixture of meat, vegetarian and vegan food.
Can committed carnivores and devoted vegans ever find common ground? Those rooted in either camp will, most of the time, give you a firm ‘no’. But, we believe we may just found have the ideal mediator in the form of Mile End’s premier burger joints, The Greedy Cow.
It is easy to assume The Greedy Cow to be a carnivorous collection of cow-based dishes all washed down with amber pints. But that would be a mistake. The manager, Reg Kudhail, of this family-run Grove Road establishment, expanded the menu to add plant-based ingredients.
Alongside its range of burgers influenced by European and Caribbean cuisines, Kudhail incorporated a black bean and quinoa patty, and a plant-based burger that looks like beef. In addition, it serves up exciting non-alcohol drinks, including from posh drinks company, The London Essence Co, and mocktails at the customer’s request.
A feature of the area for 12 years, this burger bar has charmed a stream of customers with its wacky and varied menu which Charlotte, my willing dining companion, and I were only too eager to tackle.
The Greedy Cow’s small pastureland is in a double fronted single-storey building. While on the outside it’s kept its original Victorian burgundy-tiles (a reminder of its former pub days), the inside is more about the rustic charm. There are exposed red brick walls, a neon pink sign with swirly writing illuminating ‘Cocktails & Bar’, and a whole wall devoted to a cowhide.
In addition, its knotted wood-panelled bar with polished copper top and low hanging dimmed amber lights which hang from a copper beam, reinforces this desired rustic aesthetic: it’s Midwest American diner meets British farmyard.
While I was tempted by the Pomelo and Pink Pepper sparkling drink, that was quickly quashed when we spied the restaurant’s eponymous cocktail: Greedy Cow. Arriving in a hexagonal jam-jar with a little bee motif on one side, the cocktail’s combination of fresh lightly crushed strawberries, vanilla vodka, St-Germain, and apple juice, produced a delightful sweety-sunset pink drink.
To accompany the cocktails, we sampled their sophisticated chunky olives marinated in herbs and drizzled in olive oil. Although the inky black windows, mottled with raindrops, were punctured by flashing dots of fast-moving red and white lights beaming from Grove Road, the cocktails and olives transported us to the welcome glow of summer.
While savouring this small sliver of imaginary sun, I took the time to look around the restaurant. Like so much in the city, space is short. The restaurant holds only 24 seats inside, with a few more at the bar. But it’s this hemmed in feel that makes it intimate and allows staff to be highly attentive to customers’ needs, of which I counted just under 20. Given the time of year, and the difficulties the hospitality sector has suffered in recent years, this number is a testament to the restaurant’s loyal custom and long-standing reputation in the area.
There is also seemingly no hierarchy, with Kudhail working the floor alongside his staff; all welcome customers, chat to them amicably and take their orders with no fuss.
While Kudhail was seating a first date vibes couple at the bar (their no hand-holding but dolled up dress was a sign), my eyes widened like saucers as my attention was turned to the dish coming my way.
Stacked up high was a ten-hour slow-cooked Cornish lamb with crispy shallots and pickled beetroot. The lamb was sweet, luxurious, and velvety. It was served in a pillowy plant-based and lactose-free beetroot bun which gleamed a gorgeous crimson.
A burger is not complete without its side-kick chips, so we opted for a new menu addition of Truffle Fries, overflowing with a flurry of snowy parmesan shavings. The Mac’n’Cheese, which was a meal in itself. Made with gorgonzola, Stilton, mozzarella, and cheddar, its stringiness would make Mr Strings melt with envy.
By this point, we were happily satiated but, like two giddy schoolchildren in a sweetshop, we didn’t know when to stop and so egged each other on to share a homemade Banoffee Pie.
But this impulse didn’t pay off quite as I had hoped. The pie was underwhelming. There was too much cream, which was heavy and cloy, and not enough toffee. I ate a couple of spoonfuls and that was enough for me. Its signature dessert, the Chocolate Fondant, is legendary by all accounts.
It is fair to say that, by this point, I had become The Greedy Cow. Was I bothered that I could be mistaken for the restaurant’s mascot? Not at all, because that is what this restaurant is all about. The portions are generous, at a good price point (burgers start at £7.50 and sides at £3), and its varied menu makes you want to try its plant- and meat-based delights in equal measure. It’s aspects such as these that make it a welcoming restaurant for most occasions: come here for a birthday brunch bash, a long-awaited family gathering over Sunday lunch, or a quiet date night out.
And it got me thinking, the restaurant’s rather crude and therefore memorable name is, in and of itself, a reason to go because it gives you an indication of what to expect: you don’t go to The Greedy Cow to nibble, you go to feast.
If you enjoyed this article, take a look at our review of vegan-friendly cafe, The Hub in Victoria Park.
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One thought on “The Greedy Cow food review: burgers and beetroot buns”
Also worth mentioning they have another dining area upstairs that caters for up to 20