Chef Neil Rankin has stepped back from day to day involvement in his Temper restaurant group, to concentrate on launching a vegan burger bar, and separate vegan restaurant, BigHospitality reports.
Simplicity Burger is a collaboration with former Truscott Arms owner Andrew Fishwick and former Smokehouse executive chef David Lagonell.
Rankin wants to provide an alternative to the “heavily processed” meat substitutes in the market, with the patties to be made on site with UK ingredients to a secret recipe.
It is expected to open at an as yet undisclosed location in Brick Lane in October.
The trio are also eyeing the launch of a second concept, Nuclear Banana, which is likely to open next year following a deal on a site falling through earlier this year.
The outspoken chef’s involvement in vegan cookery will come as something of a surprise given his track-record as a meat specialist.
He held senior roles at Barbecoa and Pitt Cue before launching the smokehouse brand Temper, which specialises in whole animal barbecue.
“Everything will be made fresh by hand in the restaurant,” he told BigHospitality. “It pisses me off that vegan has gone down the processed route. Our burger tastes great, so we won’t be hiding it with lots of sauces and other things like most people serving vegan burgers do.”
The two-storey space will be small with a tight menu of burgers available upstairs in a diner-style restaurant and a cocktail bar below.
Unusually for a restaurant focused on vegan burgers, Simplicity Burger will offer some of its burgers with high quality butters and cheeses, but the menu will still be around 90% vegan.
Rankin says the business could scale and that the burger could eventually be made available to other restaurants, but he is concentrating all his efforts on the inaugural site for now.
Meanwhile Rankin describes Nuclear Banana as a pure vegan restaurant with an entertainment element.
“It’s a restaurant based on the end of the world,” he said. “It’s a bit fucked up. We had the right space for it but unfortunately it fell through. I want a really beautiful space for it that allows me to do live entertainment, and a few other things.
“I want to take the concept of vegan dining but present it in a way non-vegans will like. It will have an edgy vibe.”
Rankin is still involved with Temper but has taken a step back from the three-strong business to concentrate on his new project.
“Temper is going through a period of time when it doesn’t need a creative chef involved with it,” he said
“Sam Lee runs the company as managing director and always has done. I have spent the last six months getting the menu to a point it can be rolled out across the whole group.
“There needs to a period where I don’t go in and fuck with the menu and piss people off. But as a director and shareholder I’m still very much involved.”