Where exactly is it? Right there on that familiar corner, opposite the trusty old Enterprise pub on one side – and, across Chalk Farm Road, the mighty Roundhouse. The site has had a million incarnations over the years, but at least this section of the beleaguered thoroughfare isn’t boarded up, although Camden Council needs to address the rest of the street urgently.
So what goes on there? All things plant-based – as its name suggests. Powerplant is the vegan in-house café and restaurant of hip international hotel chain Selina. An airy, deceptively spacious indoor space, there’s also a skinny outside pavement dining area too which snakes down adjoining Crogsland Road.
What should I eat? The menu reads well: there’s plenty of choice, from small plates like arancini and mushroom skewers to baja tempura tacos, pad thai and bao buns. We shared two dishes: a signature cheeseburger with a Redefine Meat patty, Applewood vegan cheese, gem lettuce and tomato was OK, but the bun a tad dry, and overall it wasn’t quite the flavourbomb we hoped for (unlike, say the top-tier vegan burger at Mother in Here East). Chips were pale but crisply moreish, however. Our other main was perfectly decent – a classic Fattoush Salad with fried pitta croutons, a mix of beans, mint, pomegranate, olives, tomatoes and cucumbers, a nutty tahini dressing bringing the whole thing together in all its Levantine glory.
The interior: discuss. It’s an internationally stylish kinda joint: think wooden floors, bare brick, houseplants and dangling bulbs, with a sort of home-from-home vibe, and plenty of tables to pull out your laptop; the coffee is recommended.
And what do I drink? Our rose house vino was fair-priced (£29 a bottle); while obligatory Camden Hells is on tap, with freshly squeezed juices, Alchemy coffee, Camden Tea Co tea and more.
And the service? We know how short-staffed hospitality is at the moment, but were a little taken aback that one staff member appeared stressed when we asked them simply to take our drinks order; the restaurant was hardly full. Another server then came over, and we could sense that a difficult situation (unbeknownst to us) was trying to be managed. On a positive note, with a show to attend at the Roundhouse, and therefore a limited time to eat, the food came swiftly enough.
The verdict? It would be interesting to return to explore more of the menu – and, like the Roundhouse opposite, this space is useful for freelancers, wfh-ers and the self-employed to adopt during the working week.