Updated: Nov 6, 2020
Luton’s top vegan canteen, Monstera are offering free meals for children in light of the government benefiting from others misfortune.
Picture Credit: Monstera Canteen
Cheapside, Luton is bustling full of opportunity, The Bear Club just down the road is the best joint around for jazz and blues. Then you have Riverside, where you can pop in for an awesome tattoo. Of course, there’s Vinyl Revelations, with Andy Chesham who is constantly blasting out tunes for the whole of Luton to hear. Just across the road you’ll find Monstera Canteen. The best and only vegan canteen in Luton. Monstera is “Run by vegans, made for everyone” you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy the food. It’s this feeling of welcoming that you get throughout.
Plus, its 100% vegan. When I mention this to people, who are vegan, they are amazed at the fact every single item is vegan. The food is not only superb, but yes, we can confirm it is 100% vegan. Don’t believe me? They have signs all around the shop with 100% vegan or simply, ‘VEGAN’.
More than that, they are good people. Over the weekend they decided they were going to help. In light of the government yet again benefiting from people’s misfortune, and their impending inability to do their job. It has taken a little vegan canteen in Luton, bustling full of good spirit to take action. Having raised over £2,000 they are providing free meals for children this week. It’s not the firs time the Monstera crew have helped their community. They gave out bags of goodwill, full of basic human products, to those who especially needed them in the first lockdown. A lot of people say that they don’t see people helping their community like they used to. I beg to differ. It’s the community spirit shown by Monstera that really heighten the fact there are good people out there. Even if the government shows otherwise. Monstera like others are actively protesting against government rules by cooking food.
Having been opened for little over a year now, they certainly are known around Luton. As soon as you enter you are met by a smile. There isn’t a pressure to be vegan to enjoy or eat the food. It’s this ease that makes the transition into either vegetarianism or veganism so much cooler. You don’t have to be shouted at to listen. You simply enjoy the food and you will see how amazing it is. There’s a growing community of people in Luton who are regulars at Monstera. Whether you’re popping in for a quick drink, a delicious cake from Motley bakes or Dee Dees Vegan Diner there’s a lot to choose from.
Monstera started up little over a year ago by Greg, someone who was turned onto veganism by his girlfriend and runs it with his brother Chi Chi. It has a definite family feel, a closeness that is translated to the customers. There’s nothing as cool as Monstera in Luton, but that’s not why they are so popular. Not only is the food delicious, the interior a paradise of vintage and modern, the people are amazing. They make Monstera what it is.
Everything from the food to the interior has its own Monstera twist on things. A black exterior with ‘VEGAN’ proudly placed above the windows. Along with ‘Run by Vegans’ and ‘Made for Everyone’ in white writing. Everything has an element from family, being able to create something with the help of those around you. Then a large green Monstera leaf with hand sign writing by Bruce Crows. Inside, the pink and green coloured walls contrast the black. With walls delicately flowing off a metal board. There’s a classic working-class café feel that is brought into 2020 by accentuating the colours. Utilising the small space, it feels roomy. White subway tiles in the kitchen, and white and blue kitchen wear that elevates the classic café atmosphere.
Unlike a typical working-class café, there aren’t builders marching in to get a greasy grub before work with a large clanging of Luton working on behind. It’s very much a youthful joint. People of all ages go to Monstera and that’s what separates it from anything else. They not only make good food, but they make you want to go back. Simply because you can have a laugh, meet people and eat good food. And you don’t feel guilty by the end of it!
As someone who goes into Monstera whenever the opportunity should arise, there are a few things I particularly enjoy. ‘The Buffalo Burger’, which is a new take on an old familiar. The original being cauliflower as hot buffalo bites, they sure were hot. Now the Buffalo 2.0 takes the signature chickpea and panko breadcrumb patty, dipped in a milder buffalo sauce, 2 hash browns, cheddar style cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion all in a sesame seed bun. Oh, and not forgetting the mayonnaise (vegan, of course). That certainly was a mouthful! It’s everything you want from a burger and more. But then there’s ‘The Hoisin Burger’, the best Chinese meal you’ve had, yet in a bun. Tangy and sweet with a cucumber crunch, tofu dipped in hoisin sauce. Paired with spring onion and lettuce. A definite favourite.
You could go on all day about the food, there’s so much to choose from you have to keep going back and try something different each time! That’s if they haven’t adapted their menu. There are some old favourites and ones that have been upgraded or some new additions. Monstera are constantly adapting things. Moving onto something different to keep customers eager. That’s something I really enjoy. You never know from one week to the next what Greg might have created.
Whenever I leave Luton for a period of time, I never can find somewhere I call my regular joint. You get back home and Cheapside are full of regular spots. Chill on the steps of Vinyl Revelations if Monstera are too busy. All while listening to tunes as you munch away at a delicious burger. Monstera have become a hub of Luton. Cheapside is the place to be if you want to meet people, have a laugh, and eat good food. So, if you’re in Luton or wherever you are for that matter, head to Monstera, you won’t regret it that’s for sure.
This week Monstera are doing good. Not to benefit themselves, to help others who really do need it. If you have the time to share their posts or even help out by donating. Check out their social media to stay updated by the coolest place around.