Yesterday I went to check out Just-Fab Vegitalian at Shoreditch Urban Food Fest. Fabio, the brain and hand behind the project, got in touch with me a few weeks ago, introducing me to the magic world of vegan Sicilian street food, and inviting me to visit his double-decker stall.
You heard it right – vegan Sicilian street food. On a London double-decker bus.
I couldn’t possibly say no. And a 30 degree Saturday afternoon definitely called for Sicilian street food!
Here’s what I’ve learnt after a quick chat with Fabio over beer and panelle… and a surprise dessert.
So, vegan Sicilian street food on a London double-decker – what’s this all about?
Where I’m from, Catania, you can see little street food vans pretty much everywhere, serving the best food to locals and tourists alike. I thought I’d replicate the experience in London… upgrading to a double-decker! I started this venture over a year ago, with a friend of mine and my mum Myra (our amazing chef). We bought an unused bus and we turn it into a ‘risto-bus’, which we use both for private events and as a stall during food festivals. The idea was to bring Sicilian and Italian street food to London, using only high quality ingredients that come directly from Italy, as well as locally grown organic foods from the best UK farms. The final touch comes from a very special extra virgin olive oil made by uncle back in Sicily.
How did you turn a bus into a restaurant?
We turned the lower deck into a fully fledged kitchen where we cook everything, from lasagna to deep fried fritters. The upper deck has seating tables, which I made out of recycled materials. My friends from the London Hackspace helped me put together the lighting system.
First of all, what we now call ‘vegan’ has been part of the Italian (and Sicilian) tradition for ages. Our cuisine is full of delicious dishes that don’t contain animal products and are full of flavour. Second, being an agronomist I know very well the benefits of a vegan diet, and I try to stick to it as much as possible. We have recently received a certificate of excellence from the vegetarian restaurant guide Happy Cow, which I’m very proud of!
What’s your signature dish?
People love our Vegamisù, a vegan version of the Italian Tiramisù that comes in two versions – classic with coffee and the fruit version without coffee suitable for children. Our focaccia is also pretty popular – sometimes people come to us from other food stalls in the market asking if they can buy our focaccia to make their own burgers!
Any exciting new recipes coming soon?
I’m thinking vegan Baba’… Watch this space!
Where can people find your magic bus?
Every Saturday from noon until midnight at the Urban Food Fest in Shoreditch (E1 6HU). We’re also working on a new location that will be announced soon.
Finally, arancinA or arancinO? Choose your next words wisely…
Haha, I’m from Catania, so it’s arancinO!
DAMN IT! I liked you so far…