This is a review of Faceplant on Duke Street.
I’m sure the Faceplant stand that often appears at the Dock Street Leith Farmer’s Market is just as good; I think that’s the only place you can get their fake chicken grill, but against all the odds and even though that’s where I first saw the brand; I’m yet to sample it.
Faceplant on Duke Street is only open a few days a week too, but I make the effort of going.
I’m a flexitarian (there, I said it) which means I am inclined towards veggies, but I will eat meat. This means I’m still very aware of what meat tastes like. I know the real deal.
And Faceplant is generally as good as the real deal. I don’t order a vegan toastie hoping to be tricked. I just order because I want something tasty. But when I order at Faceplant Foods my brain doesn’t even have that moment where it wonders what I’m eating. There’s no “Uncanny Valley” of “similar but different”. It’s just good.
It’s also almost always a toastie. That’s no bad thing, but it’s good to know, as despite whatever fancy offering is on the specials board (like Quesada-grilled cheese), what you’ll get will come in a sandwich.
While this review was still in drafts, the original text said “always a toastie”, then they went at amazed me with vegan hotdog with cheese and chilli. Amazing, but not a toastie.
The hot dog was about the same price as a sandwich special too.
Yeah, it’s not a cheap sandwich. The prices are similar to Alby’s, and perhaps not as large as Alby’s, but they’re differently just as good. I think Faceplant is value for money. You’re getting a handcrafted and expertly finessed sandwich. This is top of the range stuff; this is luxury vegan without the pomp, humblebragging or cringeworthy poshness.
I only mention the price because I know students might get caught out at a £7 bacon toasty otherwise, even though it’s not really bacon. The specials, special as they, tend to be a few quid more expensive.
Faceplant also do vegan baking, and that’s a perfect way to turn a sandwich lunch into a much more filling meal.
Eating in at Faceplant
Most people use Duke Street to pick up a sandwich to go, at least in my experience. It makes sense, that’s a thoroughfare of a street, connecting homes to workplaces, and there are bus stops all along the road. Faceplant pops their sandwiches in nice little containers to keep them safe.
But I like eating in. Even if it only takes me a few minutes to wolf down the gorgeous toasty.
I like the relaxed atmosphere of the little eatery. There’s a table by the window, a counter against one of the walls and a few more seats. It’s not a huge area, but it’s a friendly one. It’s a nod at your fellow vegan-food explorer, who’ll likely be a friendly face, and go back to stuffing your face.
I get a coffee with my sandwich, nicely brewed, piping hot and the perfect match with my lunch. Always. The combo has never let me down.
Solo eating at Faceplant Foods
I think Faceplant is a perfect location for solo eating.
It’s small enough that you will be welcomed and cosy enough that anyone else eating there will be eating near you anyway. There are no two ways about it; anyone eating here is eating with everyone else anyway.
But! It’s more than just the cosy physical space that makes Faceplant Foods a good stop for solo eaters. It’s even more than the implicit recognition that you and anyone else in the snug have made an effort to support the indie vegan venue despite all the options nearby. The wee Faceplant Foods team/family are super friendly too. It’s clear that this is their passion, and as a customer, you’re part of it.
Don’t go to that Brexit supporting nightmare of a corporate monster on the bottom of Leith Walk/end of Duke Street. If you’re looking for a lunch then walk straight past by hole and take yourself to the warmth and local strength of Faceplant Foods instead.
Just, maybe, check online (I recommend Instagram for this) that they’re definitely open. Small indies like Faceplant often have to pull themselves very thin to survive and have no capacity for a Plan B if someone is ill. Also, I thought they were coming to the ethical delivery Foodstuff, but I don’t see them yet.
I consider it a lousy fortnight if I’ve not made it into Faceplant. However, I must make an effort to get to them at the Leith Farmer’s Market and try their plant-chicken one Saturday.