Looking for vegan menus to enjoy this Veganuary?
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 250,000 omnivores gave Veganuary a go in 2019. This change in attitude towards our diet has not gone unnoticed by the London restaurant scene: many of the capital’s best 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. Here are some of the best vegan-friendly dining spots in London…
Eclectic, colourful dishes are the name of the game at Peruvian restaurant COYA, and their vegan menu is no different. Both branches are catering to plant-based diners this January, with standout dishes including Jerusalem artichoke with purple potato, smoked mushroom tiger and aji limo; cauliflower tacos with aji amarillo; and heritage carrots with ginger and aji rocoto.
One of London’s best vegetarian restaurants known for its adventurous, unique dishes, Vanilla Black offers an impressive five-course vegan tasting menu. Enjoy savoury dishes like cauliflower croquette with pickled cauliflower, endive and cocoa; and baby fennel with creamed lemon and toast, followed by a refreshing coconut sorbet served with coconut crumble to finish. £55pp, wine pairing an extra £32pp.
For the first time The Birley Clubs have added a vegan menu to their repertoire, available at George on Mount Street. Diners can tuck into dishes including cauliflower steak with coconut curry; and heritage carrots and vegan nut cheese, alongside an array of fresh juices.
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.
Take Veganuary to new heights at Bokan 37, the elegant restaurant perched atop The Novotel in Canary Wharf. Executive chef Guillaume Gillan has created a five-course plant-based tasting menu, with dishes including a celeriac tagliatelle salad with sesame dressing, roasted potato and white truffle; and Crapaudine beetroot with pomegranate and Scots pine. £65pp for five courses. Available 9-31 January.
It’s not all about fish at the glamorous SUSHISAMBA. Plant-based diners can tuck into dishes like mushroom tobanyaki, avocado maki, vegetable sasa with asparagus and quinoa, and one of our favourite dishes on the menu: eggplant with mustard miso.
Proving the Italians can do vegan is Theo Randall, who kicks off Veganuary with a hearty plant-based menu that doesn’t compromise on indulgence. Begin with antipasti such as deep fried aubergines and Jerusalem artichokes with sage, chilli and mint sauce, followed by dishes like Tuscan bean soup and acquerello risotto with wild porcini and Portobello mushrooms. Available year round.
The meat-free edition of Martha Ortiz’ ‘We Eat Colour’ menu beautifully demonstrates how Mexican cuisine lends itself to veganism. Think bright colours and bold flavours, with dishes making the most of Mexico’s staple vegan ingredients, including avocado, agyuacate and chayote. The dining experience will come in the form of three acts: Drama, Main Act and Final Curtain. Begin with small plates such as squash ceviche before being getting stuck into mains, with options including a vegan twist on the classic Mexican classic, tamales. End things on a sweet note with a choice of two desserts: a traditional Horchata soup with vegan almond ice cream, or a fruity tart served with strawberry jelly and pomegranate sorbet. Available 9-31 January.
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.
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.
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 recently opened 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.
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.
Chef Vivek Singh has introduced vegan tasting menus across all the Cinnamon Collection restaurants, which serve up some of the best Indian food in town. 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.
Middle-Eastern inspired eatery The Good Egg has always had a great plant-based offering, but they recently collated it into one menu for ease. Available at their Soho branch, the ‘Green Menu’ has both brunch and dinner dishes, including their famous Tel Aviv-inspired aubergine pitta, known over there as the ‘Sabich’: a simple concept – pitta stuffed to the brim – but notoriously tasty. The vegan version is filled with tahini, amba, zhoug, fried aubergine, pickles and crispy spiced potatoes, with the option to go gluten-free by taking out the bread. Other menu highlights include Beetroot Reuben, a whirlwind of flavours within a pretzel challah – roasted beetroot with tabasco-spiced cashew Russian dressing, dairy-free coconut cheese sauce, garlic, dill and crispy onions.
While not totally vegan, the plant-based offering at The Daisy Green Collection is one to highlight. We can personally vouch for their delicious vegan sharing board, featuring fire-roasted aubergine, smoky tofu steak, crispy wild rice salad and a vegan Bolognese stuffed pepper. They also recently launched a new vegan collaboration between Plates’ Kirk Haworth (Sat Bains, The French Laundry) and Daisy Green’s Prue Freeman, available at Scarlett Green. On the menu you’ll find dishes including BBQ vegetable and kimchi taco with whipped avocado, aubergine, slow baked carrot and house pickles; beetroot and cumin falafel with rare grains; and a butternut and carrot curry with black rice, toasted broccolini and kaffir lime. Various locations.