Tallulah Rushaya discovers the best vegan restaurants in London. Read on for a feast of options and how veganism has changed London’s restaurant scene
Vegan menus have rapidly expanded across the country’s most recognisable restaurants and cafés, and no more so than in the capital. The opening of new establishments that have a solely, or predominantly, vegan or vegetarian offering has broadened London’s culinary horizons. With a reported half a million vegans in the UK, and rising numbers exploring substitutes for dairy, or going flexitarian, the vegan diet is no longer limited to tofu or veggie sausages.
Read on for our run down of the best vegan restaurants in London…
London is home to some of the most exciting plant-based restaurants, proving vegan dishes are flavoursome and vibrant, as well as good for the planet. Dinings SW3, located in a mews off Walton Street in Chelsea, specialises in Izakaya-style of cooking (the terms translates as a combination of the words meaning ‘stay, drink and place), combining authentic Japanese influences with European cuisine. The delectable small plates, add to the relaxed atmosphere. Executive Chef Masaki Sugisaki and his team celebrate the finest Japanese cooking traditions. Plant-based menu highlights include roasted beetroot with tahini miso and cult dish nasu-dengaku, Masaki’s double-cooked aubergine with caramelised sweet miso. Respecting every ingredient is at the core of the Dinings SW3’s meal preparation. Sustainably, any food waste is collected daily from the restaurant and composted. Vegetable waste is used to create stocks and plant-based sauces.
Over in the heart of Borough Market, is one of the best vegan restaurants in London: the 100-per-cent plant-based restaurant mallow uses suppliers from Borough Market such as Brindisa, Club Cultured and Union Coffee. “mallow’s next menu change exciting plant-based will be taking restaurants, proving place in early October. We’ve always been big believers in eating seasonally; we need to embrace each season, and the produce it brings us, to create vibrant and delicious plant-based food.’ Says Sam Anstey, managing director at mallow. ‘If we can inspire our customers to eat plant-based food even a couple of times a week, it all helps towards reducing our global carbon emissions. We want to help show our diners how easy vegan cooking can be,’ he adds. ‘We want to encourage them to make mindful lifestyle changes rather than have an over-reliance on trend-led vegan ingredients that need to be flown over from the other side of the world.”
Innovative replacements are converting even the most ardent carnivores. Selina Camden’s popular vegan restaurant Powerplant has created a groundbreaking, plant-based steak. Head chef Lukasz Dawidowicz’s collaboration with Redefine Meat has created a 3D-printed steak that delivers the texture, flavour, and overall appearance of steak. Diners can enjoy their steak with preserved lemon chimichurri, sweet potato fries and pomegranate demi- glace, among other sides. Powerplant’s menu is truly a collaborative labour of love. “With community, one of our fundamental pillars, we work with a host of local companies,” explains Dawidowicz.
“Arik is our award-winning baker from North London who supplies us with pitta, while the equally amazing Galeta in Hackney Wick makes all our sourdough and pastries. And from Cool Chile, we get our tortillas and South American spices and sauces.” The menu, Dawidowicz assures, is easy for meat eaters to navigate due to familiarity. “Tempura tacos basically remind you of fried cod taco. I’d suggest that non-vegan newcomers try our wholefood vegetable dishes, like the cauliflower katsu curry or fattoush salad with Isle of Wight tomatoes, amba and tahini.”
Next on our list of the best vegan restaurants in London is Holy Carrot whose serene, earthy pastel-blue-and- cream space is located at the equally heavenly Urban Retreat, London’s leading beauty, hair, and wellness destination, on Knightsbridge’s Hans Crescent. “I take inspiration from global cuisines and British seasonal ingredients,” says founder Irina Linovich. “There are so many plant-based traditional recipes that have existed for centuries and I like to use vegetables instead of meat – our famous oyster mushrooms and buffalo wings is a prime example. The Holy Carrot team loves veganising dishes that we ate as kids, and it’s fun to develop new dishes all together as a team.”
A balanced diet is never compromised. “Many people think a plant-based lifestyle is not good for people as it lacks protein. This just isn’t true. The Tempeh that we use to make our shepherd’s pie has 19g of healthy protein. For our baking we use lupin, almond, and flaxseed flour, which has 45g of protein.” Plus there’s always a virtuous treat on offer. “We change Holy Carrot’s menu seasonally but some classics are popular all year round, such as the Sexy Tofu and miso caramel cake. Our range of homemade and sugar-free ice creams is also very popular. So creamy and healthy, and really worth trying!”