Plant-based diets have officially taken root in the UK, with 2018 predicted to be the year veganism finally enters the mainstream. The year...
Plant-based diets have officially taken root in the UK, with 2018 predicted to be the year veganism finally enters the mainstream.
The year has already gotten off to a solid start for promoters of animal-free eating, with the organisers of Veganuary – a UK campaign that promotes going vegan for the month of January – reporting 183% growth this year, a total of 163,000 people signing up to live more sustainably.
Luckily for those embracing a plant-based lifestyle, London is one of the best cities in the world to do so with a whole host of specialist restaurants and cafés dedicated to making sure you don’t miss meat for a minute. Here are some of the top vegan eateries in and around the City.
Those that believe Mexican food begins and ends with pulled pork clearly have yet to experience what Club Mexicana can do with a jackfruit.
This vegan Mexican-inspired street food trader has made its name with various residencies around London (including the Capital’s first all-vegan pub menu at The Spread Eagle in Hackney) and now has a semi-permanent spot at Dinerama in Shoreditch from Thursday to Sunday.
Get stuck into smokey barbecue pulled jackfruit carnitas tacos, ‘cheesy’ nachos with jalapenos and the MFC (Mexican Fried Chick’n) Torta – served with pickles and chipotle mayonnaise.
Dinerama, 19 Great Eastern Street EC2A 3EJ
On any given day you might well catch grime stars JME and Skepta shovelling down one of Cook Daily’s hearty and wholesome vegan bowls, but it’s not the prospect of a celebrity sighting that keeps this Boxpark eatery packed to the hilt most lunchtimes and evenings.
Chef King Senathit has won legions of fans for his South East Asian-inspired meals that celebrate the “no blood, no bones” mantra splashed across the walls.
Highlights include the Full English with tofu scramble, mushrooms and crispy bacon, and the marijuana-inspired High Grade; vegetables stir-fried in a smokey sweet ’n’ sour barbecue sauce topped with a hemp seed crumble.
Vanilla Black prefaces its menu with an apology: “no pasta bake or vegetable curry” or any other bog standard veggie options.
Instead London’s first fine dining vegetarian restaurant has pioneered a far more imaginative take on meat-free meals, many of them with a vegan option available.
Forget mushroom risottos and goat’s cheese tarts and get excited for Heston-ified Jerusalem artichoke cake with Brazil nut milk and cabbage, fried shiitake mushrooms, pine nut purée, and crispy couscous and cucumber over sticky rice with ginger and seaweed.
Los Angeles-based celebrity chef and raw food guru Matthew Kenney arrived in Shoreditch last September armed with his creative approach to plant-based eating and a Scandi-cool restaurant tailor made for social media feeds.
Five months on and Essence Cuisine is firmly established as a go-to for holier-than-thou meals that are free from meat, dairy, gluten, and refined sugar but big on flavour.
Various wizardry with nut cheeses and marvellous marinades make stars of the raw pad Thai with kelp noodles and a heritage tomato lasagna made with pistachio pesto and macadamia nut ‘ricotta’.
Those short on time should check out the new Essence Express range of grab-and-go salads and light meals that will elevate your lunch break to a new level of smug.
If you’re the type that needs a very good reason to do battle with the throngs of tourists in the West End, by CHLOE could be it.
The vegan fast food chain took the US by storm with its famous Guac Burger, quinoa taco salad, matcha kelp noodles, and mac ’n’ cheese, and landed in Covent Garden earlier this year armed with a couple of local comfort food classics.
Executive chef Manuel Trevino has come up with vegan versions of fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, pea and ham soup exclusively for the local market, plus a sticky toffee pudding with whipped cream lined up for dessert.
The new additions are clearly going down a treat, by CHLOE has already announced its second location in the One Tower Bridge development opening in the next few months.
Drury House, 34-43 Russell Street WC2B 5HA
Vurger & Co
For a long time the phrase ‘let’s get burgers’ consigned the vegans among us to a dry bean-based patty tucked away at the end of the menu. Now, the nation’s favourite ‘dirty’ food is a whole lot cleaner thanks to the likes of pioneering plant-based burger specialists Vurger & Co.
This street food stalwart opened an eatery at Rich Mix this week, the first permanent home for best sellers like the Tabasco Auberger – aubergine, chickpeas and vegan cheese – and the MLT – mushroom, rocket and sundried tomatoes.
Leave room for sides like mac ’n’ cheese and delicious shakes.
Unit 9, Avant Garde, Richmix Square E1 6LD
Plant-based diets might be having a moment, but it’s been close to 30 years for West London vegetarian restaurant The Gate, which first opened in Hammersmith in 1989.
The Clerkenwell branch followed in 2012, drawing on a wide range of cuisines to deliver what is still one of the most well-rounded vegetarian menus in the Capital, with plenty of vegan options to boot.
Try the Green Dragon salad of smoked tofu, a rainbow of vegetables with a teriyaki and sesame dressing, or the Rotolo; pommes dauphinoises filled with North African style vegetables and chickpeas served with raw cauliflower couscous, pickled lemon, and coriander salsa.
370 St John Street EC1V 4NN