Claudia Cahalane  a freelance journalist who writes for the Guardian pops along to The Railway Hotel for VV TV…. 
Vegans do have a mini obsession with recreating the classic staple of any good diet – pizza, so Southend old-school pub The Railway Hotel has hit a winner by serving an extremely vast range of vegan pizza every evening (they do lots of other vegan meals by day too, most popular being the battered ‘fish’ n chips). 
The pizzas are huge and come at bargain prices from the pizza oven, starting at £7 for a massive Magherita, and up to £10 for the Grilled Aubergine with Smoked Scamorza Cheese. From there, add up to an insane 22 (!) toppings from £1/ £1.50 each, including seitan, jackfruit, vegan chorizo and avocado, to the more humble decorations of sweetcorn and pineapple.
Size-wise – one pizza would probably have sufficed as a very hearty snack for three of us after a few beers (I had Becks Blue, and was pleased to see a non-alcoholic option on the menu). But, alas, we had ordered one garlic bread and three gigantic pizzas the size of the moon to share.
Our favourite was probably the Red Onion Marmalade Pizza at £9, although it was a little too generous on the marmalade for us. I think it’s a big ask to get a vegan pizza right.
I think we decided we’d probably just rather eat a crispy base, with some excellent tomato sauce and a few olives and capers on top, minus the cheese. The two drunken blokes who polished off some of the leftovers we offered them seemed to disagree and cracked on with the task in hand quite happily.
These guys are not alone. There are very many satisfied customers of this super friendly venue, as a quick look at trip adviser will reveal. Many rave about it. 
I found it interesting that vegans here were disguised as slightly mod looking drinkers at your average pub near a train station. There was a good, but loud jazz band on and we struggled to hear ourselves talk, but it’s great to see traditional pubs like this switching to veganism. Apparently the halloumi burger was the last non-vegan item to disappear off the menu, but it hasn’t made a difference to trade, which is booming.
There’s also a big garden, an eclectic, welcoming crowd and regular events. Very worth a visit if you’re in the area. I’ll try the ‘fish’ n chips next time.
Claudia Cahalane
Freelance Journalist/ Editor/ Copywriter

Twitter: @ethicalJourno