Planet-protecting, chronic disease-defying, skin-saving and cruelty-free – by now, most of us are well-aware of the ethical, environmental and health benefits of veganism. As the plant-based revolution continues to expand, the capital’s dining scene is reflecting this, with exciting and innovative vegan options popping up across every cuisine. This Veganuary, we’ve rounded up of the best vegan restaurants in London.
The best vegan restaurants in London
Spread over three floors of a Regency townhouse in Soho, French chef Alexis Gauthier’s restaurant was the first in London to offer a vegan tasting menu and went 100% vegan in June of this year. A decade on and Gauthier’s cooking is still making waves, with his video of how to make Faux Gras – a jar filled with lentil, walnut and Cognac paste and sealed with a layer of nut butter – receiving almost 400,000 views online. It’s one of the many stand-out dishes Gauthier (who, incidentally, is himself a vegan) serves on the award-winning and ever-changing menus – others include red wine and juniper glazed mushroom loin, red carrot tartar and sea quenelle of plant caviar. A refreshing approach to fine dining.
21 Romilly Street, Soho, London, W1
The clue is in the name with this one – a farm-to-table concept where the food comes from a plot in Kent. Brought to you by Camilla al-Fayed (daughter of Mohamed Al-Fayed), Farmacy focuses on conscientious clean eating, meaning that everything served is not only vegan but also organic and biodynamic – just as nature intended it. Come here for brunch – Farmacy’s winning meal – and order one of the wholesome Earth Bowls, a more substantial take on a salad packed full of lentils, falafel, quinoa, roasted veggies and the like. Alternatively, if your sweet tooth is craving, try the house pancakes, which come with berry compote, seasonal fruits, coconut yogurt and maple syrup. A truly indulgent way to start the day.
74 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London, W2
After causing a stir in Cambridge, Stem & Glory crowd-funded to open a second site in the capital. The speed with which they hit their target is testament to just how good their plant-based offering really is. Pick from a selection of tasty small plates ranging from kimchi pancakes to Szechuan aubergine wedges, or equally delicious larger mains. The Dirty Burger, made with a succulent protein patty, beetroot, fermented cucumber and sriracha mayo, is delicious enough to make anyone reconsider their carnivorous ways. You’ll find their London out-posting tucked away around the corner from the Barbican, making it the perfect pit-stop if you’re taking in some culture there, too.
60 Barts Square, Farringdon, London, EC1
The first of its kind in Europe, Itadakizen serves organic and vegan sushi based around a wellness concept. Dishes here aim to harness the healing qualities of food – in Japanese, itadaki means ‘to take the food of life’, while zen means ‘to fix or to mend’. As such, expect a focus on ingredients like soy and seaweed via soups, sushi and tempura served in various forms but all with a healthy twist. Not sure what to pick? Order their Shoyu Ramen, made with their original broth and topped with stir fried mixed vegetables, sweetcorn and spring onion, with a side of vegan gyoza with their signature spicy sauce.
139 King’s Cross Road, King’s Cross London, WC1
What started as a six-month residency last year within the sleek Leman Locke hotel in Whitechapel has now turned into something more permanent, with ex-Dabbous, Som Saa and A Wong chef Andy Hogben turning this space into a must-visit for those looking for gloriously flavoursome vegan food. Don’t expect to find unidentifiable meat and dairy substitutes on this menu – the emphasis here is on fresh, seasonal produce, with dishes inspired by Hogben’s background in Thai and Chinese cuisine as well as his love of street food from around the world. Small plates range from Shan-style sour rice to rice-fermented mustard green miang laos and izakaya pickles, while heartier dishes include Khao-soi noodle laksa with oyster mushrooms and Chengdu street tofu with bamboo sauce.
15 Leman Street, Whitechapel, London, E1
Founder by former Nobu London chef Michael Paul and nutritional therapist Alina Gromova-Jones, this Hampstead favourite serves up healthy organic dishes that are completely free from refined sugar, dairy, gluten and chemical additives. The restaurant’s strapline is ‘in plants we trust’, and it’s evident in the Asian-inspired cuisine here, where you can order everything from ‘tuna’ nigiri, made from marinated tomato petals, and Krab Cakes crafted from heart of palm and potato to jackfruit Tikka Masala and warming ramen bowls. Wash it all down with one of their expertly crafted mocktails – we particularly like the Eastern Sour, made with lapsang tea, freshly juiced apple and lemon, agave syrup and rosemary.
32-34 Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead, London, NW3
This sleekly-designed space in Hackney focuses on hyper seasonal plant-based dishes, using British produce largely grown on regenerative farms. They follow a zero-waste approach and are serious about harvesting food as locally as possible – case in point, the low-tech mushroom farm they’ve created in their basement, where they grow oyster mushrooms from leftover coffee waste. While they offer inventive small plates in the evening, with homemade bread, slow roasted beetroot and moreish tahini ‘cheese’ toasties on the menu, it’s their brunch that really sets them apart. Bleary-eyed locals come here for the Super Nature Breakfast, which features pan fried oyster mushrooms, house smoked potatoes, British fava beans in smoky tomato sauce, seared purple sprouting broccoli and homemade tomato ketchup.
198 Hackney Road, Hackney, London, E2
Tucked away behind Sloane Square on pretty cobbled Pavilion Road, this popular spot recently opened a second site in Marylebone. They’re best known for their rightly famous Mac ‘n Cheese – meltingly hot fresh out of the oven, with the perfect crispy top – which comes with a variety of add-ons, including mushrooms and fiery vegan nduja, but their other dishes are well worth a mention, too. Particular highlights include their miso bao buns, the creamy coconut curries and the Chilli ‘Non’ Carne, which is made with spiced mushrooms, lentils and kidney beans and topped with cashew sour cream.
243 Pavilion Road, Chelsea, London, SW1