Veganism has skyrocketed in recent years, with more and more of us choosing to adopt a plant-based diet. According to a recent survey, more than 3.5 million British people now identify as vegan, while almost 80,000 omnivores gave Veganuary a go in 2018 – with even more taking part this year. This change in attitude towards our diet has not gone unnoticed by the London restaurant scene: many of the capital’s finest dining spots are adding innovative and delicious vegan dishes to their menus to meet modern needs. The days of bland, boring vegan dining are long gone. So, we’ve rounded up some of the best vegan-friendly spots in London…
Vegan fine dining is on the up, thanks to restaurants like Michelin-starred Mayfair spot Alyn Williams, found inside swanky hotel The Westbury. Diners can enjoy a creative vegan tasting menu centred around seasonal British produce, with dishes including roasted cauliflower with seaweed and celeriac pasta with black truffle for the main event, and a tasty rhubarb, custard and marjoram for dessert. £90pp
One of London’s swankiest vegetarian restaurants known for its adventurous, innovative dishes, Vanilla Black offers an impressive five-course vegan tasting menu. Enjoy savoury dishes like cauliflower croquette with pickled cauliflower, endive and cocoa; and fried shiitake, pine nut puree and crispy enoki, followed by a refreshing coconut sorbet served with coconut crumble to finish. £55pp, wine pairing an extra £32pp
Plant-based restaurant The Gate was ahead of the curve, opening back in 1989 – years before vegetarian fever took off in the UK. A staple on the London veggie scene, they have two locations across London in Islington and Hammersmith, with another opening this year in St John’s Wood. Most of their dishes are vegan, including the delicious aubergine schnitzel, layered with cashew cheese and basil pesto, the wild mushroom risotto cake, and the spicy tortillas served with sweet potato, corn, black beans and guacamole. You’ll be spoilt for choice at this gem of a restaurant.
The perfect spot for a post-work dinner with a couple of cocktails, 100 Wardour Street are offering up a very reasonably priced 3-course vegan menu throughout January. Standout dishes include a harissa glazed aubergine served with courgette quinoa and lemon coconut; a butternut squash, 3 bean and chickpea curry; and a wild mushroom risotto served with tarragon and rocket. Pop some Cajun sweet potato fries on the side, and be sure to try one of the desserts – we recommend the vegan chocolate and pecan brownie, serve with coconut cream. £20pp for three courses, extra sides optional for £5 each
A little oasis of calm amid the hustle and bustle of central London, Selfridges Hemsley + Hemsley café is a delightful place to go for lunch after a spot of shopping. With a menu created by healthy food gurus Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley, it’s no surprise the café has a hearty selection of wholesome vegan dishes on offer. Expect big plates of goodness: quinoa with roasted vegetable and basil pesto; spiced red lentil soup and squash and spiralized beetroot noodle salad. Bonus – everything is free from gluten, refined sugars and hydrogenated vegetable oils, so you can leave feeling suitably smug.
Award-winning food writer Gizzi Erskine and model turned nutritionist Rose Ferguson have brought plant-based burger joint FILTH to Shoreditch’s Dirty Burger for a three-month residency. Though they might look like the conventional unhealthy burger, FILTH burgers are actually packed with goodness, nutrients and fibre, and made with all plant-based ingredients. The signature burger is made from black beans, black quinoa, GMO soy mince, sandwiched in between a beetroot and sesame bun and served with crispy fried onions and beetroot ketchup. Meanwhile the Seoul Burger sees the patty served in between a carrot and turmeric bun, along with with kimchi, pear bulgogi sauce, gochujang aioli and shredded lettuce. Pop some sweet potato fries on the side, and be sure to try their Chocolate Cacao Nib Thick Shake – a healthy and delicious alternative to the classic milkshake. Available until early April. 13 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA
Hidden away in the streets of Vauxhall you’ll find Bonnington Café, a green-living, eco-friendly community café. Due to the rolling roster of cooks from different nations, the menu changes regularly, but you can guarantee vegan-friendly, wholesome dishes amid a friendly, cosy atmosphere. Cash only, BYOB
Indian has long been a favourite among vegetarians, but Dishoom – arguably London’s most popular Indian restaurant – have taken it a step further with their designated vegan menu. Feast on vegetable samosas, spicy chickpea curry and the cleverly named ‘No-Butter-Bhutta’, grilled corn-on-the-cob rubbed with chilli, salt and lime. Alternatively, head there for wholesome plant-based breakfast, paired with a refreshing vegan lassi.
Thought Peruvian cooking was all about ceviche? Let Old Street hotspot Andina change your mind. Vegan offerings include plantain fritters with chancaca honey, fried yucca with salsa verde, squash stew, lime-scented quinoa salad and wok-fried mushrooms with papas fritas and garlic rice.
Michelin-starred Galvin La Chapelle are offering a delightful 7-course tasting menu throughout January, where guests can dine on fresh dishes like shaved fennel with grapefruit and avocado puree; quinoa & freekeh filled courgette flower with tomato jam, and vegetable tagine with couscous, confit lemon and harissa sauce. £55pp or £120pp with wine pairing
Husband and wife duo Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer head up Fitzrovia’s Honey & Co., a Middle Eastern restaurant with plenty of plant-based options to offer. Think butternut squash falafels with tahini, lentil stew with burnt aubergine, marinated aubergines with tomatoes and herbs, and creamy hummus with pitta bread. Décor is clean and bright, with a friendly, relaxed ambience.
The OXO Tower has been a recognisable London institution since it was built in the 1900s, but what’s inside it is by no means antiquated. The OXO Tower Restaurant has tapped into the undeniably huge spike in demand for plant-powered food by launching a vegan afternoon tea, available throughout the month of January. The creativity behind this menu is clear and appeals to vegans and non-vegans alike. If you’re not completely stuffed from the array of sandwiches on the first tier, which includes homemade ‘cheese’ and pickle and golden beetroot with aged balsamic in rosemary Russian rye bread, continue on with the second tier which holds an ‘avocado shot’ made with creamy avo and almond, chestnut and mushroom ‘sausage’ rolls, and Bajis packed with flavours I’d never tasted before. All this is to be enjoyed with the homemade piccalilli, and a minty-coconutty dip. The sweet selection includes scones with clotted ‘cream’ and jam, mini lemon ‘meringue’ pies. To top it all off, the view from the OXO Tower Restaurant, along with the ultra-friendly staff, make this afternoon tea experience a memorable one. The OXO Tower Restaurant’s Vegan Tea is available until January 31st and is priced at £45 pp (including a glass of prosecco). Book your table by calling 020 7803 3888, emailing [email protected] or booking online at harveynichols.com Reviewed by Kerri Stolerman
Recently opened high-end Indian restaurant Kahani has added a plant-based menu to their culinary offering to coincide with Veganuary, courtesy of the eatery’s Michelin-starred chef Peter Joseph. Dishes include golden beet cakes with mustard; curry leaf poppadom crust and cranberry chutney; spicy aubergine steak with glazed avocado; and a hearty chickpea masala with glazed ginger and spring onion. A welcome addition to the Chelsea hotspot, the vegan menu sits well among the restaurant’s healthier take on Indian cuisine. kahanilondon.com
Chef Vivek Singh has introduced vegan tasting menus across all the Cinnamon Collection restaurants, which offer up innovative Indian cuisine. A number of vibrant plant-based dishes are available, including a banana chilli with fenugreek, raisin and bitter gourd; watermelon chaat; spiced aubergine and cauliflower fritters; and kale and quinoa kofta with date and ginger. Available through January and beyond cinnamoncollection.com
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