Ever since the success of Greggs vegan sausage roll in 2019, it was only a matter of time before they expanded their plant-based offering.
And just as predictably as Piers Morgan decrying ‘snowflake’, the high-street bakery unleashed their vegan steak bake on 2 January, just in time to capitalise on that sweet Veganuary cash.
Launched nationwide, the pastry is made from a Quorn meat-substitute, onions and gravy, all parcelled up in the familiar beige lattice, and without using any animal products.
While expectations are understandably high (the vegan sausage roll boosted Gregg’s profits by 58 per cent in the first half of 2019, according to the Financial Times) can the steak bake really steal the sausage roll’s crown?
In the name of journalism, The Independent took lifestyle reporter and meat-eater, Sabrina Barr, and myself, a vegetarian, to get our thoughts on whether 2020 could be the year of the steak bake.
“Having tried and enjoyed Greggs’ vegan sausage roll exactly a year ago, I was excited, as a meat eater, to see how the vegan steak bake would compare,” says Sabrina, who has not tried any of Greggs products before, apart from the vegan sausage roll.
Unfortunately at first glance the pastry does look dry. But then it has been sat in a box, transported to our offices, for over an hour, and the kitchen lights aren’t that flattering on anyone. We give it the benefit of the doubt.
And we were rewarded for our blind faith.
“One bite was all it took to discover it was pleasantly moist and packed full of flavour,” says Sabrina. She is right, it is deceptively moist, despite there not being much filling – the pastry tastes so much better than it looks, and we both eagerly go in for a second bite.
One of the most surprising parts about the steak bake, something that could be good or bad depending on your dietary inclination, is how much the Quorn looks like meat.
Coated in the gravy and mixed with the onions, the flavour is similar too.
Although, as a non-meat eater, I am not best placed to comment on the similarity to an actual steak bake, I think if this was a blind taste test you might struggle to tell them apart.
“After a single serving I was already craving another one,” says Sabrina, who highly recommends the pastry to anyone – vegan or not. And I agree, it is the best thing I've tasted this year.
Whether our glowing review was a result of 2020 enthusiasm, a delayed New Year hangover, or high levels of salt in our bloodstreams, we’re converted.
Only time will tell whether it will become the new Greggs cash (fake) cow.
Greggs vegan steak bake is available at 1300 stores nationwide from 2 January and costs £1.55.
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