Antonio Alderuccio, Plant Hub & Academy, London, holding dish

Vegan heaven at the Plant Hub & Academy (E8)

London has a new vegan, gluten-free, no-refined sugar destination… the Plant Hub & Academy, near Hackney Central Station in East London.

The Plant Hub & Academy was launched this February by trio David Bez (behind the bar), Lauren Lovatt (in the Academy) and Antonio Alderuccio (featured image) in the kitchen.

Plant Hub offers all sorts of goodies for eating in or out. You can also graduate from the Academy; or roll up for one of the many event and classes, from the Mind Food Workshop to the Fermentation Masterclass, or Vegetable Life Drawing with Bella’s Bits and Bobs.

My roots with Plant Hub

I met David and Antonio on a retreat in the English countryside last spring. I ate their food four times a day for five days that’s 20 meals in all – and I have craved it ever since. Forget the retreat, my soul nourishment came from the food.

David and Antonio have a natural link between the plants that nature provides, and the openness and joyfulness of heart needed to transform these plants into food that nourishes the mind, soul and body. And they are Italian, and for me Italians have an innate sense of style in food and fashion.

David Bez at the Plant Hub bar, where you can find a coffee as good as any in Italy, as well as organic super lattes, probiotic mocktails, teas and organic smoothies. You can also buy take-away gluten-free bread, cakes, fruit, vegetables, no-dairy cheese and kombucha.
Lauren Lovatt, Plant Hub & Academy, London
Vegan chef Lauren Lovatt who takes the lead in the Plant Hub Academy. Lauren specialise in “new ideas for the plant-powered generation”.

Beauty in plants

I’m into beauty, and there is something very beautiful about plants. Even the word ‘plant’ rolls off the tongue, and sounds so much more universal, inspiring and expansive than ‘vegetable’ or ‘legumbre’, as in Spanish.

Inspired by Alan Moore’s Why Beauty is Key to Everything, part of the beautifully succinct DO series, I am at present working on increasing my depth of field for seeing beauty in life. When it comes to food, we tend to tuck in too quickly, before allowing ourselves to be ‘warmed’ by its layers of visual depth.

Mushrooms, Plant Hub & Academy, London
Four different types of mushroom – Antonio was preparing a fine-dining experience for the evening, and luckily I got a taste of this course.
Protein Bowl, Plant Hub & Academy, London, kale and charcoal focaccio
On the menu: the Protein Bowl – toasted chickpeas, black peas, butter bean hummus, fermented oat cheeze, kale, toasted seeds & tahini, & cheezy mustard sauce, with charcoal focaccio. I was going to yoga, so I put half of it in a little cardboard box used for takeaways.
Fermented citron posset, Plant Hub & Academy, London
Fermented citrus posset – with lemons, fermented cashews, coconut, orange, black pepper & turmeric, and topped with red fruits.

The Plant Academy

As students poured out of the classroom at the end of the morning course, I had a peek into the Plant Academy, where Lauren had switched to preparation mode.

Lauren Lovett, Plant Hub & Academy, London
Lauren preparing the possat.
Chocolate cake, Plant Hub & Academy, London
Gluten-free vegan chocolate cake on the way.
Vegetables, Plant Hub & Academy, London
Observing the beauty of the colours and textures of plants.
Kombucha, Plant Hub & Academy, London, with book open
Black tea & date kombucha – that’s a new one on me. Must give it a go.

Gung Ho – fashion & plants

The future of fashion, art, food – in fact just about everything – is about creating communities through partnerships. At the Plant Hub & Academy, the opening event was done in partnership with Gung Ho, the ethical fashion brand founded by London-based Sophie Dunster.

Sophie first got into art, and then discovered she could put her drawings on clothes – including the wonky fruit and vegetables of her current collection, Food for Thought.

At the Plant Hub & Academy you can find her clothes alongside the wooden boxes full of the fresh fruit and vegetables.

Gung-ho Design, Plant Hub & Academy, London
Sophie Dunster, founder of Gung Ho, at the Plant Hub & Academy
Gung-ho Design, Plant Hub & Academy, London
Each Gung Ho collection is centred on a Talking Point

More on the Plant Hub

Bar, Plant Hub & Academy, London
The main entrance.
Shop, Plant Hub & Academy, London
Groceries on sale.
Cake, Plant Hub & Academy, London
Pear & chocolate cake.
Tea, Plant Hub & Academy, London
A variety of tea blends.
Books, Plant Hub & Academy, London
Books abound. It’s an Academy.
Flowers, Plant Hub & Academy, London
Flowers are also plants… they are in the food and on the tables.

If I chose three adjectives to describe the Plant Hub & Academy, they would be colour, warmth and nourishment.

It’s also about taking life easy, easy on yourself and easy on nature.

Opening hours: Thursday, Friday & Saturday – 10h00-22h00. Sunday, Tuesday & Wednesday – 10h00-17h00. Monday Closed.

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