The owners of a busy new vegan pie and mash shop have revealed that a staggering 50 percent of their customers are meat eaters.
Pie and mash is something of a working-class delight, being born in the East End of London more than 100 years ago. Traditionally, the pie would likely contain first eels, and later minced meat, with suet and shortcrust pastry but The Acorn's Pie And Mash shop's homemade pies are 100 percent vegan.
The new restaurant in Essex is close to the beach and within walking distance of the Leigh on Sea railway station. It's owned by Samantha and James Anderson, who also run another vegan venture in Leigh – the Oaktree Vegan Restaurant, which is now in its sixth year.
Traditional - with a vegan twist
"At the end of last year, we decided to open a second restaurant based in a beautiful 120-year-old building that was once Oscars Restaurant," Chef James told Echo News. "It is a mixture of traditional pie and mash with a modern vegan twist.
"It's been a crazy six-year journey to get to where we are. We started with Sam and I, three staff, we now have two restaurants, 36 staff, and nearly 130 covers.
“We are proudly 100 per cent vegan and We are loving the growth of veganism as a whole. As more and more people embrace the change, we hope to be able to evolve and grow with them. I would say 50 percent of our customers are vegan."
Menu standards include 'Steak' & Ale, broccoli and cauliflower cheesy pie and the Firecracker, which is chunky chilli seitan and spicy tomato sauce with aubergine, peppers and onion wrapped in pastry. There are daily specials too, and all pies are served with mash, peas and gravy or liquor.
There are desserts available if you've still got room after scoffing your pie and mash, as well as hot and cold drinks. And the Acorn sells alcoholic beverages too, including vegan-friendly and gluten-free Skinny Lager, vegan-friendly craft beers from the Leigh on Sea Brewing Company.
The Acorn Pie and Mash can be found on Leigh Hill, Leigh on Sea and is open 11am - 10pm Wednesday to Saturday, and 11am - 5pm Sunday. Take-aways are available, with Deliveroo coming shortly.