Food & Drink

AbraKEBABra! What The Pitta boss talks fusing Turkish food and veganism

With veganism growing in popularity across the UK, more and more restaurants are choosing to cater for plant-based eaters.

Boxpark Croydon is home to What The Pitta, an eatery that serves kebabs with a ‘vegan twist’.

Its Turkish director Cem Yildiz said he chose Croydon because it was home to many vegans and vegetarians.

He said: “As more people have started to understand the importance of reducing meat intake, mainstream companies have had to really listen and play catch up.

“The inclusion of quality vegan products from big companies and chains has gone a long way to prove that veganism is a viable lifestyle choice.”

Cem said the idea for What The Pitta came about during a family holiday to Turkey.

“Both myself and Roj [What The Pitta co-founder] are Turkish, although we were both born and raised in London,” he said.

“Turkish food and culture have always been a big part of our lives, however, many of the most popular dishes are heavily meat focused.

“We wanted to recreate popular Turkish dishes, beloved in restaurants and at the end of drunken nights out, with a vegan twist.”

He added: “We had seen how popular Boxpark Croydon was, despite its relatively few vegan options, and felt that our vegan doners could be something that was missing.

“Having a spot in the south of the city is also important to us so we can reach as many people as possible.”

Cem said the most important thing is to serve innovative, tasty food that shows that vegan options don’t have to be boring or plain.

“In so many restaurants vegan meals are sidelined or an addition with little thought or effort, hopefully What The Pitta brings vegan food to the forefront with no need for an alternative,” he said.

Cem explained the reasoning behind their unique name.

“We think our name really plays into the surprise of discovering our food,” he said.

“The pitta is a popular addition to many Turkish foods and we have had a few exclamations of disbelief when people have seen that we serve vegan doner kebabs.”

Finally, he gave some words of wisdom for people considering vegan.

“We strongly believe in our mantra of going meat free more often and the idea that this could have positive effects for both the environment and our own health,” he said.

What The Pitta’s newest branch is opening in Brighton later on this month.

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