How does a vegan deal with a hangover? With a vegan fry up at Black Cat Café…

I’ve found that one of the most difficult times to be a vegan is on a hangover. The desperate desire for salty, greasy food after a night out is something that was well-served by a traditional fry up in the past.

Still, nothing’s going to make me turn back on my decision to be vegan, so I’ve needed to seek alternatives. On the occasions where I’ve had to turn up to work hungover (post-leaving drinks or Christmas party for example – I’m not an alcoholic, honest) something like a breakfast baguette from Pret, or even a good pastry, hit the spot.

I’m still yet to find anything readily “grabbable” which can do the same job; my order from Pret for example is now dairy-free 5-grain porridge, topped with jam and trail mix. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but is certainly not as satisfying when hungover. Any suggestions here would be welcome!

Pret dairy free 5 grain porridge

At the weekend however, I have more time. So last weekend I decided to search for the “best vegan fry up in London” and found the Black Cat Café, amongst others. I’d heard good things about this place before, so despite my immediate hunger I decided to make the 45 minute journey there to try it out.

Hackney Central overground sign

Black Cat Cafe Hackney

The café was reassuringly busy, but I found a table and service was pretty quick. There’s no fixed menu, which in some ways is good because you know the food is going to fresh and exciting, and it’s all 100% vegan. They even had vegan pastries. I wasn’t in the mood for these at the time, but I definitely need to try some as I’ve not had a croissant since turning vegan.

Vegan pastries at Black Cat Cafe Hackney

I was there solely for the fry up (consisting of vegan sausage & bacon, tofu scramble, crispy potatoes, mushrooms, beans and either bread or pancakes), which is served until a pleasingly-late 4pm at weekends.

Vegan breakfast fry up at Black Cat Cafe - tofu scramble, beans, vegan bacon, vegan sausage, crispy potatoes, mushrooms & bread

It was worth the trip. Whilst I don’t think any vegan ‘bacon’ will ever replicate the real thing, this was the closest I have tried so far, and better than the Tofurky tempeh version. Somewhat surprisingly the baked beans were the best bit. Not because the rest wasn’t good, but because the beans were just really good. They were really rich and smoky flavoured, and perfect for dipping the bread into. I could eat them all day. The tofu scramble and mushrooms were both also tasty.

If there was one weak link, I’d say it was the potatoes. They weren’t bad, but a little plain. I also ordered an almond milk-based mango smoothie. It wasn’t particularly mango-ey – more similar to the taste of sweetened soy milk (which I’m not a fan of so put me off a bit), but they have plenty of other varieties to try.

Vegan milkshake at Black Cat Cafe Hackney - mango with almond milk

Overall I’d recommend a trip here if you’re hankering for a fry up, and even if not, there’s plenty of other food on the menu – they say they usually have “soup of the day, burgers, curry, savoury pancakes, etc” amongst others. They also sell vegan groceries for you to stock up on, as well as some clothing and books.

Black Cat Cafe Hackney

Has anyone tried any of the other food at Black Cat Café? Or does anyone have any other recommendations for good vegan fry ups in London?