The Athenian - Various Locations
Quick bites venue, 'The Athenian' specialise in Greek gyros, which is kind of like a kebab but in thick Greek flatbread, and with chips added. They only have one vegan option, 'the vegan gyro', in which the meat is substituted for seitan and soya strips.
There are branches all over the city, I visited the one in Victoria which sits right outside the coach station, making it perfect for a quick bite before travel.
The inside of this branch was tiny, modern, practical, and designed for people eating quick bites and not for comfort. There were a few people with their laptops out and working but there wasn't any wifi so it doesn't make for the most practical working environment.
There is a simple counter to order food at, I approached to order the vegan gyro, and the server's face fell and they had to go and check whether they had any, I thought this was a bit poor when it's on their main menu, and being promoted currently, but fortunately they had one left.
Vegan option on the menu:
Seitan and soya strips, with lettuce, onion, parsley, tomatoes, oregano fries, vegan sauce, and wrapped in thick Greek flatbread
The flatbread is so thick that it doesn't wrap around the filling as easily as it would with thinner bread, and because it's thickly stuffed (which is a good thing), when the wrapper is opened the whole thing kind of unravels. It's pretty difficult to eat unless you have a gigantic mouth so I ended up eating most of the filling first until I could comfortably wrap it.
There was copious amounts of salad, seasoned soya/seitan strips, and a creamy mustard sauce. The sauce was tasty but there wasn't that much of it and the whole thing was a little dry. Because of this it was a very subtle taste, rather than the kind of dish that bursts with flavour, but it was hearty and comforting.
I had minimal interactions with the staff because of the nature of the fast food culture of the place, but they kept it clean, clearing tables as soon as people left, and the service was fast. Pricing was also reasonable, a vegan gyro is £6.50 so pretty standard for a fast bite. They used plastic forks which was disappointing, especially in a place that has plates that they clearly wash up, I would have liked to see cutlery that was at least biodegradable.
As a chain, they had done something a little weird in terms of advertising their vegan gyro, they have it displayed above the counter as a special, served with halloumi fries and a drink. This confused me, and so I asked if the halloumi fries were vegan, which they weren't. It does say vegetarian next to it so I should have known, but it was still odd...
Food Presentation: 4/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Best for: Fast bites
Would return? Maybe, for convenience
Address: 15a Elizabeth Street, London, SW1W 9RP
Opening Hours: Monday - Thursday: 1130 - 2230; Friday - Saturday 1130 - 0000; Sunday 1130 - 2230
Other Locations: White City, Tooting, Shoreditch, Wembley & Canary Wharf
As always, these posts are based on places I've visited on www.myveganradar.com - the London Vegan Food Map, based on tube stop, and are my own opinion.