REVIEW: Eggelicious (E2), 3 Wood Street, Swindon, SN1 4AN
Morning prep is underway as I arrive at Swindon’s favourite toasted wrap joint, with ingredients red, green and yellow being gently sliced and heated behind the counter.
Pulling up a stool at the slender counter, I have a front-row view of the open kitchen where owner Ash has full pans of spinach and lamb on the hob. The Asian influence is much in evidence with coriander, dill and ginger among the herbs and spices I can discern.
Eggelicious has the mantra ‘slow food fast’, and it’s this careful prep work that gives the toasted bundles the wholesome pep that have put the name on the map.
E2, so-called because it was the second outlet in the stable, even has its own laminated ode floating around the counter. Written by a loyal customer, the homage praises the pan-Asian food and owners to the hilt. With no shortage of fans, it’s fair to say the independent, family-run business has reached something approaching cult eating status within the borders of Swindon. A street food feel is combined with Ash’s solid knowledge of food science, a combination that appeals to the gym bunnies, workers on the go and footballers who flock through the doors.
Starting life in the former Tented Market, which has since been mothballed awaiting development, the wrap stop expanded to E2 in the heart of the borough’s Old Town and most recently to The Crossing, a food court in the Brunel shopping centre.
The two existing branches stay true to the open kitchen approach, the orders being made from basic ingredients under the customers’ eyes. Innovation has played a part, too. A few days before Mother’s Day, Ash has added two themed wraps, one being a meat option comprising chicken in saffron, orange and tarragon spices.
It’s a tempting-sounding fusion but also an insight into what makes Eggelicious tick.
The former food chemist chose saffron because of its use throughout Europe and the Middle East and to recognise the formative cooking influences of his mother.
Keeping an eye on the hob and a couple of brews he readies on the counter, Ash tells me how egg coriander on roti used to be her equivalent of beans on toast.
Unhurried the prep work may be, it only takes minutes to conjure up the Mother’s Day vegan option, the intriguingly-titled Poppadum Crunch.
I take up the option of a light sprinkle of chili over the spinach, potato and crushed poppadom.
Based on Ash’s home meals, it’s a barnstorming fusion of perfectly-judged flavours and textures. The soft vegetables and spices complement and enhance each other in the tightly-packed and filling square gracing the counter. Season-round wraps that jump from the menu include a chicken, pea and halloumi affair and my ‘usual’, which combines most or all of spinach, paneer, potato and chickpeas.
Specials chalked up on a blackboard include the Thai lemon, lime and pepper marinated chicken. Customers can also build their own wraps, with fillings such as eggs, masala chickpeas, halloumi, sweet potato mix and chorizo added to meat or fish or combining on their own to make a vegan or vegetarian bundle. Tapas and plated specials give another dimension to the menu.
Vegetarian and vegan options are available in spades and it’s worth noting that Eggelicious was way ahead of the current curve for meat and animal product-free dining. Just ask the former Tented Market crowd.
With its warmly embracing spice, soft crunch and tender potatoes, my wrap is a surprisingly slow eat that leaves me feeling nourished. In fact, I take half back to the office with me for later consumption. It’s another reason why I will remain a regular at what is, for my money, the most vege-licious counter in town.