It’s no secret that veganism is having a moment. More than 250,000 people participated in Veganuary this year – a higher number than in the previous four years combined. Not only this, but organisers say six in 10 who take part pledge to stay vegan even after January has finished.
Others aren’t cutting out animal products completely, but actively trying to reduce their meat consumption, with an estimated 22 million “flexitarians” in the UK today.
Wondering what the benefits are? We spoke to Anastasia Bertacca, a Nutritionist/Naturopath from Pollen + Grace about why eating a more plant-based diet is so good:
‘‘The universal reason that veganism is so great is that it’s more sustainable – consuming meat on the scale that we currently do is not sustainable, nor compliant with animal welfare. In terms of your health, most people would thrive on a plant based diet, as you’re getting more nutrients from the plants, and reducing your intake of toxins, which are more prevalent in meat due to production methods. If planned properly, and including ingredients such as mushrooms, seaweed and a variety of legumes, a plant based diet can help across the spectrum – from skin and hair health, to energy levels and gut health.”
Tempted to get involved? With all the exciting vegan offerings in London, there’s never been a better time to be vegan – forget dull salads, think fried “chicken” and exciting flavour combinations. We bring you the best vegan restaurants and delivery services in town…
The Best Vegan Restaurants in London
Of course, you can make veganism much easier with these vegtastic delivery services…
Taking veganism and a damn-good detox to another level, PRESS, famed for its cold-pressed juices, has introduced its Fab-in-Four concept where customers sign up to a full four weeks of food delivery (you’re allowed the weekends off) – with the aim of shifting up to 4kg. You’ll have to clear the fridge as five days’ worth of juices and soups arrives on the appointed day, along with two snacks, a Breville blender (for juicing) and a cool bag (nifty if you’re on the go). You can choose from a daily intake of 1,250 to 2,250 calories per day, based on an online nutritional questionnaire about your health/weight loss goals.
Rest assured though that all your daily intake of vitamins, protein, carbohydrates and good fats are accounted for in the regime. The morning smoothies are filling with avocado and bespoke protein powder, while the morning and evening soups (and yummy bread) are delicious and creamy (the tomato is killer), so you don’t feel you’re missing out. The great thing about this service is that you can relax the rules a bit at the weekend, though they helpfully provide meal ideas if you want to keep going, either with the plant-based food or the detox – or both, of course! Doing it along with dry January is a no-brainer. You’ll need some will power along the way, but if you do complete the four weeks, there is no doubt you will feel fab.
From £30 per day. press-london.com
Detox Kitchen – The Ultimate Re-Set Package Vegan
If December festivities have left you bloated and lacklustre, Detox Kitchen’s beautifully bright, fantastically fresh and surprisingly filling Ultimate Reset Package is the one for you. Even eating this delicious menu for three days can have excellent benefits, helping you to kick the sugar carvings – though the full 20-day package would make a fantastic Christmas present and have you swinging from the chandeliers by the end of it.
Because the food arrives each day rather than a week’s worth in one, you know it’s fresh as can be and we can honestly say the food is delicious. Think mango, aubergine and courgette noodles for lunch and coconut dal and chickpeas with spinach for supper. The thing about Detox Kitchen is that it just all looks so beautiful – and therefore you want to get stuck in – literally and metaphorically.
From £665 for a 20-day service. detoxkitchen.co.uk
Nosh Detox VeganKeto Meal Plan
If you don’t know what ketosis is, here it is in a nutshell: it’s when your body burns stored fat for energy instead of glucose. When you plan your meals around this, it means your body will take its calories from protein and fats as opposed to carbohydrates and sugars – hence you’ll both lose weight and get a massive energy boost besides.
Nosh founder, Geeta Sidhu-Robb, has been at the forefront of healthy food delivery services for 10 years and the VeganKeto meal plan is aimed at the new and growing wave of people who are saying goodbye meat, hello veg. A sample week includes dishes filled with good fats and low in carbohydrates, such as garlic and oregano broccoli on cauliflower rice or mushrooms in creamy sauce with pumpkin seeds and konjac noodles.
Vegetables have never been so sexy.
From £64 per day. noshdetox.com
And now for the restaurants…
This Notting Hill spot is where all the trendiest veggies and vegans congregate – thanks to the cool interiors as well as the wonderful food on offer. Farmacy is the brainchild of Camilla Fayed, who worked with experts to develop a menu of nourishing, healthy dishes that are also mighty tasty. The guacamole is one of the best in town and should be ordered as a side no matter what you’re eating, and is especially good when accompanying the sweet potato falafel starter. The Mexican Bowl is a standout with its bright purple potatoes and ‘sour cream’, while the burger is a classic, made from millet, black beans and mushrooms. Pair with a few cocktails (with added medicinal benefits, or Cannabidiol) from the Alchemy Bar, and save space for the raw chocolate tart. With no refined sugars, additives or chemicals, you can indulge guilt-free. 74 Westbourne Grove, London W2 farmacylondon.com
Temple of Seitan
This vegan fast food joint really is temple-like, with queues around the block and a loyal following of customers who return time and time again for the finger-lickin’ good vegan fried “chicken”, which is actually made with seitan. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that vegans too crave a deep-fried treat once in a while, and Temple of Seitan has proven so popular that they have opened a second restaurant in Camden. 10 Morning Lane, London E9 templeofseitan.co.uk
By now a household name, Instagram sensation Deliciously Ella has been credited with making the vegan lifestyle cool again. Head to her Mayfair deli to give her tasty recipes a go, and boost your mood (and vitamin count!) by digging into wholesome dishes such as Tuscan bean stew, cauliflower and red lentil dhal with brow rice and seasonal falafel – or if you can’t decide, build your own bowl and combine the lot. Or pop in for breakfast (think blueberry pancakes, sweetcorn fritters or porridge with all the toppings), add a fresh smoothie and you’re good to glow for the day. 18-20 Weighhouse Street, London, W1K 5LU deliciouslyella.com
For those looking to go one step further, Essence Cuisine in Shoreditch is London’s prime raw vegan food destination. With a menu developed by US chef Matthew Kenney, the leading figure in refined vegan cooking, expect to find a variety of his signature dishes including Raw Pad Thai, Heirloom Tomato Lasagna, Bangers & Mash and Cacio e Pepe tagliatelle, all executed with creative flair and impeccably presented. But go with an open mind – the lasagna doesn’t have any pasta, the ‘bangers’ are made from activated walnut and portobello mushroom, and the Cheese Board is nothing like what you devoured at Christmas. The venue is space-age and futuristic, and while the restaurant is perhaps rather niche, it’s the undisputed London mecca for raw vegan devotees. 94 Leonard Street, London EC2 essence-cuisine.com
The 50 year-old restaurant is one of Europe’s first meat-free eateries, evolving its menus alongside the rise of plant-based eating. And there’s much more than salad going on. Manna is closing the gap of gourmet, meat-free options with classic and creative dishes made from fair trade products when available and organic and local products whenever fresh and viable. There is some real joy in the starters at this place. Adventurously healthy types might go for the raw tacos with lettuce leaf shells, sunflower seed chorizo, guacamole, carrot salsa & cashew sour cream, while comfort seekers will be tempted by the vegan nachos. The selection of mains boasts enchilada bake to bangers and mash and warm rainbow panzanella. 4 Erskine Road, Primrose Hill, London NW3 3AJ mannav.com BL
Last year NYC’s best-loved vegan restaurant arrived in London, finally quelling vegan Londoners’ envious Instagram scrolls of the infamous burgers and salads at by CHLOE. After proving hugely popular at its inaugural Tower Bridge venue, they opened another London branch in Covent Garden, with a third due to open in the ICON Outlet at The O2 this Spring.
The entire menu is vegan, and in the best way: Guac Burgers, Quinoa Taco Salads, Avocado Pesto Pasta, Sweet Potato Fries… The restaurant is also free of artificial flavours and preservatives, a claim to which the beetroot ketchup and chipotle aioli testify mightily. . The Covent Garden and Tower Bridge locations also celebrate the individual flavours of the city with a special Fish n’ Chips (crispy tofu), Royal Roast (sea salt roasted celery root) and, of course, sticky toffee pudding with coconut whipped cream. A host of sweet treats will have you staring at the glass case for ages, but don’t overlook the freezer where you’ll find Push Pops: mini ice creams with toppings including Chocolate topped with Chlostess cupcakes, Salted Caramel topped with banana bread, Matcha Coconut with matcha chocolate babka and Birthday Cake topped with funfetti and rainbow frosting.
If sweet treats is your thing, you’ll be happy to hear they have just launched a special afternoon tea menu, featuring the likes of rainbow scones, red velvet cupcakes, carrot cake and much more. One Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 2SD and Drury House, 34-43 Russell Street, London WC2B 5HA and Drury House, 34-43 Russell St, Covent Garden, London WC2B 5HA eatbychloe.com BL
Vegan oasis Redemption Bar has all the goods you look for in any outstanding health food spot such as smoothies (and smoothie bowls), avocado toast, buddha bowls, flax bread and veggie burgers. What sets these dishes apart from every other Instagram you’ve ever seen is that they are the ultimate version. New gold standard for burgers? The buff burger, made with protein-packed, fibre-boosting shitake mushroom, black bean and ruby beet, served in an oat bun with tomato, lettuce, caramelised red onion marmalade. Turmeric superslaw and chunky sweet potato fries on the side, naturally (no pun intended). Will you go for sweet: buckwheat pancakes tossed in coconut oil and topped with natural coconut yoghurt, seasonal fruit and maple syrup? Or savoury: roasted sweet potato and red onion hash with mushrooms, kale, spinach, rosemary and a squeeze of lemon? Whatever you do it should definitely include sipping on a Skinny Cacao. The organic Boca pure bean to cup cacao, served iced or hot in nut milk puts hot chocolate to shame (and thats without any sweetener). 6 Chepstow Road, London, W2 5BH and 320 Old Street, London, EC1V 9DR redemptionbar.co.uk BL
Tell Your Friends
Lucy Watson has provided an anecdote to South London’s lacking vegan scene and friends, we’re telling you about it. Tell Your Friends excellently tows the line between healthy food, free of anything animal, and comfort food, the kind that doesn’t feel super vegan. Skeptics, start with the ‘chicken’ bites (hemp & sunflower crumbed jackfruit bites with BBQ sauce) and split the Mac’n’Cheese with cashew cream. Cue your transformative experience. Will you go for a gold plated, traditional veggie burger: Turtle bean patty, cheddar cashew cheese, salad, caramelised onions, sundried tomato ketchup, aubergine bacon & chips? Whatever you do, leave room for a giant vegan doughnut or refined sugar free banana bread that will have you wondering what butter really ever did for you anyway. 175 New King’s Rroad, London, SW6 4SW tellyourfriendsldn.com BL
Biff’s Jack Shack at Boxpark Shoreditch
After proving hugely successful in both KERB Camden and Haunt in Stoke Newington, vegan hotspot Biff’s Jack Shack secured its first permanent home just in time for World Vegan Day last year. Disappointed at the sad-looking bean burgers on offer in most restaurants, Biff Burrows and Christa Bloom set out to change the conversation around plant-based food – and they’ve succeeded. Biff’s pride themselves on serving up the ‘filthiest’ vegan junk food in the UK: the menu is based around Biff’s unique Crispy Fried Jackfruit, which is braised in secret spice mix and triple-dipped in golden panko to create a selection of tasty burgers and wings. If you really want to indulge, go for the ‘Jack Bauer Tower of Power,’ a double jackfruit patty with deep fried vegan cheese, potato rosti and vegan aioli, served in a toasted brioche bun. Disclaimer – not all vegan food is healthy! Unit 49, Boxpark, 2-10 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6GY biffsjackshack.com
The Vurger Co
Plant-powered vegan burger restaurant The Vurger Co began its journey in July 2016 as a market stall in Bethnal Green. After gaining popularity with vegans and non-vegans alike, they opened a permanent venue in Shoreditch, with another due to launch soon in Canary Wharf. There are four core burgers to choose from with rotating monthly specials – go for their bestselling Auburger, made from aubergines braised and baked in Tabasco Chipotle sauce paired with cumin mayonnaise. Still hungry? Their new special works perfectly as a side: Kentucky Dunkers, crispy, deep fried king ‘oyster’ shrooms coated in a delicious crumb, with house Piri Piri sauce on the side. Grab some crispy sweet potato fries or mac n cheese too, and finish by satisfying your sweet tooth with a tasty Chocolate Hazelnut shake. The Vurger Co, Unit 9, Avant Garde Building, Cygnet Street, Richmix Square, E1 6LD thevurgerco.com
Wild Food Cafe
Founded by Joel and Aiste Gazdar, the original location for popular vegan eatery Wild Food Cafe overlooks the pretty Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden. They recently opened a second location in the equally desirable spot of Islington: a slightly bigger venue, with more space to expand the menu. If you’re looking for indulgent fast food, this is not the place for you: menus are fully plant-based, raw, vegan and nutritious. But this certainly doesn’t mean the food lacks flavour– dishes are bright, colourful and creative. Think jackfruit sandwich bites, vegetarian burgers, big wholesome salads, vegan laska and coconut-seared plantain stew. Still hungry? Try one of the guilt-free raw desserts, such as wild blackberry cheesecake, banana, walnut and date bread, or salted caramel and chocolate slice. You’ll leave feeling satisfied and suitably smug. Covent Garden: 14 Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden, WC2H 9DP and Islington: 269 – 270 Upper St, London N1 2UQ wildfoodcafe.com
After making a name for itself on the street food circuit at KERB in Camden, vegan curry spot SpiceBox recently opened its first permanent location later this month in Walthamstow. Here classic Indian dishes are reimagined with a plant-based twist: highlights include the Jackfruit Jalfrezi, a fiery vegan spin on the curry house cooked with peppers, onions and jackfruit; and the Brinjal Bhaji, made of charred smoky aubergine and peas in a rich tomato gravy. 58 Hoe St, Walthamstow, London, E17 4PG eatspicebox.co.uk
Club Mexicana at The Spread Eagle
From the bar stools to the drinks to the food, everything at The Spread Eagle is 100 per cent vegan, making it London’s first ever fully vegan pub. The food offering is headed up by Merial Armitage, founder of vegan street food truck Club Mexicana, with dishes like jackfruit tacos and Californian-style burritos stuffed with ‘beer’ battered tofish. Small plates are also on offer, including corn esquites and pan seared ‘scallops’, deep fried ‘cheese’ with hot sauce and loaded ‘cheesy’ nachos. Diners can finish things on a sweet note with a deep fried taco dipped in chocolate, rolled in nuts, stuffed with ice cream and topped with salted caramel sauce. Salivating? Us too…224 Homerton High St, London E9 6AS thespreadeaglelondon.co.uk
Wulf & Lamb
“Run with the wolves. Eat with the lambs.” A fitting motto for Sloane Square plant-based eatery Wulf & Lamb, tucked away behind Peter Jones on the pretty pedestrian-only Pavilion Road. For mains go for the Chilli’ Non’ Carne, a smoky dish of spiced mushrooms, lentils and kidney beans with cashew sour cream; or the aromatic coconut curry with sweet potato mash – but be sure to leave some space for the mango and passion fruit cheesecake (no cheese involved, obviously). 243 Pavilion Rd, Chelsea, London SW1X 0BP wulfandlamb.com
Vegans don’t have to miss out on pizza, as proved by Purezza, a fully vegan pizza restaurant which settled in Camden after making a name for itself in Brighton last year. Instead of the cheese you might expect to see on a pizza, Purezza create their own vegan mozzarella in-house from fermented brown rice milk. Toppings-wise you’ll be spoilt for choice: options range from shaved aubergine to truffle to wood smoked tofu, all placed on top of a tasty sourdough base, with gluten-free or hemp flour substitutes also available. Vegan versions of popular sides are also on offer, including mac’n’cheese and dough balls, as well as a number of tasty desserts – we recommend the salted caramel brownie. 43 Parkway, Camden Town, London NW1 7PN purezza.co.uk
Walking down Fitzrovia’s Percy Street, it’s hard to miss the bright pink facade of Kalifornia Kitchen. Inside is just as pretty, with furnishings built for Instagram: flower-adorned walls, a pink staircase, neon signs and sleek white table tops – the perfect setting for a Saturday brunch. Fancy something sweet? The big stack of buckwheat and banana pancakes, served with caramelised bananas, coconut yoghurt and almond brittle, are the stuff of vegan dreams. If it’s more lunch than breakfast time, the Klassic Kalifornia Burger served with smoked paprika & thyme fries is your best bet, or the jackfruit and guacamole tacos. Drinks follow a similar vibe, with a plethora of fresh smoothies and juices on offer, as well as kombucha, matcha lattes and healthy shots (think wheatgrass and turmeric as opposed to tequila). A slice of the West Coast in cold London town, Kalifornia Kitchen is a welcome addition to the capital’s ever-growing vegan scene. 19 Percy St, Bloomsbury, London W1T 1DY
Looking for vegan recipes to try at home? Why not try The Abundance Bowl from Pollen + Grace – find the full recipe here.
READ MORE: London’s Best Vegan Menus
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