Now in it’s fifth year Veganuary is bigger than ever, with over 100,000 people pledging to cut out animal products this January. A survey of last year’s participants showed that 67% of people had decided to stay vegan, and a whopping 97% felt healthier for it.
So whether you’re doing it for the animals, your health, the world – or if you’re not doing it and just want to try some tasty food, here are some of best plant based offerings London has to offer.
A veg institution, Mildreds has branched out from its original Soho spot with locations in Camden, Kings Cross and most recently Dalston. Known for their friendly atmosphere and internationally inspired veggie dishes, the menu includes crowd pleasers burgers and burritos, plus the rather special creamy coconutty Sri Lankan Sweet Potato Curry and Wood Roasted Mushroom and Ale Pie with minted mushy peas. With something for everyone, Mildred’s is one to win over meat addicts.
Where: King’s Cross
2. Temple Of Seitan
The animal-free diet has been going through somewhat of a junk-food revolution, which means you can get your fried chicken fix without the cruelty. Temple of Seitan can be found at street food pop ups around London and their Hackney takeaway spot, serving up a deep-fried crispy gluten- based meat substitute seitan as hot wings, pieces or burgers, plus dairy free and delicious sides mac’n’cheese and coleslaw. Hail seitan.
3. The Spread Eagle
As of January 2018, one of East London’s oldest pubs becomes London’s first 100% vegan pub. Drinks wise there are rotating specially brewed cask ales, 14 draught lines and carefully curated vegan wine and cocktail lists.
Even more excitingly, after leaving their Pamela’s residency behind, vegan street food pioneers Club Mexicana are taking over the kitchen with signature tacos as well as twists on pub classics such as the Tofish Finger Sandwich. Crazy good food served with love – and if you’re lucky, deep fried cheeze.
4. Broadway Vegan Market
Every Saturday from 10am-4pm London Fields Schoolyard is taken over by Broadway Vegan Market, a collection of the best plant based food, wine and coffee stalls across London.
With a range of cuisines on offer, mooch and munch your way round the market with “filthy AF” jackfruit junk food from Biff’s Jack Shack, BBQ Korean Banh Mi from Eat Chay and grilled cheeses from Joey’s Kitchen. Come hungry for a pig-free pig out.
Where: London Fields
One of Europe’s finest and oldest gourmet vegetarian establishments, Manna, celebrated it’s 50th birthday last year. Now completely vegan, the charming Primrose Hill restaurant offers delectable vegan twists on classics such as Organic Bangers and Mash (with amazing onion rings) and Spaghetti and ‘Veatballs’. The decadent dessert menu is also not to be missed, with Sticky Toffee Pudding as well as treats from their own organic bakery.
Where: Primrose Hill
6. The Gate
The Gate brings together gourmet vegan-friendly food and organic, low interference wines without being too fussy or too pricey. Although most veggies baulk at the sight of a sad mushroom risotto on the menu (this one included), The Gate’s Wild Mushroom Risotto Cake with cep sauce and truffle dressing is the star of the show. Based in Hammersmith, Islington and Marylebone and going strong since the 80s, it’s widely recognised for having some of the best plant based food in town.
Where: Hammersmith, Islington and Marylebone
Both the Shoreditch and Croydon locations of the pop up mall Boxpark have some dedicated and delectable vegan spots. What The Pitta! prove that it’s still possible to have a cheeky Doner kebab after a few pints with their healthier, more ethical spin to the nation’s favourite, made from spiced soya chunks.
A few units down, Cook Daily serve up made-to-order bowls of SouthEast Asian goodness. Their generous and colourful curries, noodles and stir fries prove vegan food certainly doesn’t have to bland. The House Pad Thai will not disappoint – big bowls with big taste.
Where: Croydon and Shoreditch
8. Gallery Cafe
Around the corner from the Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green’s Gallery Cafe is a non-for – profit offering low-cost vegan food, locally-ground coffee, sweet treats and juices.
With the kitchen closing at 6pm, Gallery Cafe is a cosy spot for breakfast/lunch, with thoughtful daily specials and solid menu staples such as the Full English, American-style pancakes and house burger. They also run a programme of events and exhibitions, with all profits helping to support the local community. Good food and good vibes.
Where: Bethnal Green
9. Essential Vegan Cafe
Last but not least, a new Brazilian-inspired cafe has recently popped up in Shoreditch. Essential Vegan will warm your soul with it’s friendly atmosphere and cruelty free comfort food. The menu features a range of delicious seitan and jackfruit burgers and Brazilian delicacies such as Cheese Balls and Rissoles (little bites of deep fried potato dough filled with sweetcorn cream). Chuck in the fact it’s BYOB and dog friendly and there’s a lot to like about this place.