In no particular order here are some of the best places I’ve eaten in London in my first six months as a vegan:
Nothing less than my favourite all-vegan street-food in London. Their menu includes vegan interpretations of meat dishes like BBQ pulled jackfruit and beer-marinated seitan. They have six spots across London and serve their fine fare 7 days a week so you never have to leave a Club Mexicana hankering unsatisfied. Friendly people serving tasty, beautiful-looking food. It doesn’t get any better than this.
You can find “London’s ‘only’ 100% vegan restaurant, bar and late night vegan speakeasy” in Brixton. It’s like a really chilled-out American diner, with helpful happy staff, good music and they do an all-veg “Bic Mac”. It won’t break the wallet and isn’t too far a walk from Brixton tube station/Herne Hill train station.
I love going to CookDaily when I’m looking for a quick, easy meal with friends who aren’t vegan as they can either come with me or pop into another place in BoxPark to get their food and we can eat together. CookDaily has several bowls – such as the HIGH GRADE (stir-fry veggies with hemp oil in a smokey sweet n sour BBQ sauce topped with green herbs and hemp seed crumbles – which you can have topped with tofu & veggies, chickn & veg or chickpeas & veg) or the FULL ENGLISH (Tofu ‘egg’ scramble with mushrooms, tomatoes, greens, sausages and a swirl of our house brown sauce topped with crispy baecon and served with a cuppa tea). The bowls are huge and I always feel proud of myself if I manage to finish one.
The UK’s first vegan, free-from ice cream parlour is based on Wardour Street and serves ice creams, shakes, soft-serve, all made without wheat, gluten, dairy, lactose, eggs, nuts, GMO and artificial sweeteners – everything is fully vegan. They say “think sustainably sourced coconut and carefully selected chocolate. Think rice milk and seaweed that’s friends with the immune system. Think Yorica! All pure stuff. All the way.” For some reason I only ever end up here on really cold days but it’s tasty and worth any resulting brain-freeze.
The Vegetarian-Ramen, which costs £10.50, is almost ludicrously tasty. There’s the Porcini-soya milk broth, a secret sauce, white asparagus and avocado sashimi and then piles of fresh thin wheat noodles cooked to your specification, from super-firm to super-soft. I enjoyed a beautiful peach saki and they serve beers and soft drinks. Small, brightly lit, with eclectic music it is not the place for a leisurely meal but the lengthy mealtime queues tells you it must be doing something right.
A vegan café run as a not-for-profit workers’ co-operative a few minutes’ walk from Hackney Central, I loved eating here. As well as the super cute cat logo – seriously I really love cats – the staff were ace and the servings amazing value for money. I ate a falafel bowl and everything I ate was stunning. The nicest beetroot I’ve ever had – marinated in a sesame oil, and the nicest quinoa I’ve ever had – I presume witchraft was performed. Healthy, filling and really bloody tasty. I also had a ridiculously soft and moist coffee and walnut cake. Wish they’d open another café near my office. And my flat.
Good for either laid-back lunches or fancier occasions, Mildred’s has three locations in London: Soho, Kings Cross and Camden and is bright and friendly. Their story is that “in 1988, when Soho was still edgy, Diane Thomas and Jane Muir opened Mildreds on Greek Street. Back then vegetarian restaurants were still stuck in a 60s vibe – doling out ‘worthy’ brown food into earthenware pottery placed on pine tables. The whole thing felt dated, or so it seemed to us. Our aim was to open a restaurant serving good value, fresh and colourful international vegetarian food.” Last time I went I had a beautiful cocktail, gyoza, a ‘Polish burger’ (beetroot, white bean and dill in a focaccia bun with iceburg lettuce, mayonnaise, pickled cabbage and gherkin) and date brownies. Josh ate vegetarian food – grilled halloumi and a whopping great burrito; so this can make it more flexible for non-vegan dining buddies. There is always something on the menu I’m desperate to try.
London’s first entirely vegan bakery, based in Brixton and open seven days per week Ms Cupcake make cupcakes (obvs), layer cakes, cookies, muffins, squares, sandwiches, savoury treats and much, much more. Everything they make is always 100% vegan and additionally they make lots of products without wheat/gluten. They stock chocolates and snacks and have a fridge and freezer full of vegan cheese, mock meats and ready meals. My favourite is probably the The Ambassador (Ferrero Rocher) cake but they have a seasonal menu so are always keeping the options exciting.
This by-the-slice pizza parlour in Shoreditch and Dalston serves the majestic ‘Queen Vegan’ – artichoke hearts, green olives, sunblush tomatoes, tomato sauce and green pesto sauce and it is GOOD. They also serve ‘ritas and beer. It’s a little bit “London Prices” – seriously if you tell my Mum they’re selling one SLICE of pizza for four quid she’d be gobsmacked, but hey, this is London: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Where in London should I go and eat vegan food in the next six months? Lemme know, yo.