This month Meriel Armitage, Founder of Club Mexicana, will join forces with publicans Luke McLoughlin and Sherri-lee Estabrook to launch London’s first 100% vegan pub in Hackney.
Purveyors of the city’s best vegan street food, Meriel will bring her cult Mexican inspired dishes to The Spread Eagle, which will open its doors on 19 January with an entirely vegan offering from bar to kitchen, fixtures and fittings, creating a modern take on a classic East End boozer.
The group first met when McLoughlin and Estabrooki visited Club Mexicana’s first ever pop-up in Hackney in 2013, and after ordering everything on the menu, a friendship blossomed. Many late nights later, in the unlikely setting of McLoughlin’s backyard ‘shed bar’, the idea to create a project based on their shared passion for top notch vegan food and booze was born.
Straight from the core of Club Mexicana, dishes will draw influence from the street food traders of Mexico and California, and have been designed to go with ‘beer, friends, music, or a hangover’. Concise and regularly rotating small plates will include Sopa de tortilla, Corn esquites and pan seared ‘scallops’, with naughtier beer snacks to match perfectly with a pint of Deep fried cheeze with Valentina hot sauce, Loaded cheezy nachos and Quesadillas with ‘chorizo’
Club Mexicana’s signature Tacos will see classic Jackfruit carnitas, and Baja tofish sit alongside new additions of ‘Beef’ Barbacoa and ‘Pork’ Al Pastor. For something more hearty, there will be Californian-style Burritos stuffed with Beer Battered Tofish and Chips, and the MFC (Mexican Fried Chick’’n) Torta; Mexico City’s answer to the chicken burger, served with lashings of pickles and chipotle mayonnaise.
Guests can finish things off on a sweet note with Club Mexicana’s Death by Taco: a deep fried taco dipped in chocolate, rolled in nuts, stuffed with ice cream and topped with salted caramel sauce. Free from brewery ties, the bar will have a 16-strong tap selection of vegan beers, and a specially created house ‘Spread Eagle Lager’, as well as a vegan wine list of small batch organic bottles and cocktails.
Eclectically designed, the pub will be scattered with tones of copper, gold and midnight blue, punctuated by indoor plants with a central bar at the heart of the room. Flanked by bar stools, there will also be seating for 50 guests lining the walls, as well as the Parlour Room, a more relaxed space available for private parties, sandwiched between the pub and the beer garden for the summer months.
McLoughlin said, ‘As more and more pubs are closing, it’s a real privilege to be able to bring a new venue to our neighborhood. Granted, we’re doing things a little differently, but it will still be a local pub for the community with good drink, great people and amazing food.'
Armitage added, 'There’s no precedent for the style of kitchen we’ll be creating at The Spread Eagle - its Mexican, its Californian, its for Friday nights and Sunday mornings, but despite our new surroundings, its still very much Club Mexicana. We can’t wait to get started.'