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- London’s Best Vegetarian Eateries
London’s Best Vegetarian Eateries
Have you been struggling to find decent vegetarian food in the capital? Read our guide...
Have you been struggling to find decent vegetarian food in the capital? Or are you a carnivore who has been under the impression that veggie food is nothing but carrot sticks and hummus? From hippy cafes in Camden to refined raw food dining in the East End, there’s bound to be something to tempt your tastebuds, no matter how big your predilection for meat is.
Mildred’s is one of the best restaurants for taking your non-veggie friends; how can they complain when offered mushroom and ale pie or sweet potato and cashew nut curry? Rather than attempt to replicate meat dishes they use vegetables to their full potential; for example, artichokes are lightly chargrilled and served with a citrusy garlic mayonnaise, and their take on tagine is a fragrant pot of aubergine, olives, chickpeas and apricots served with pomegranate yogurt. Vegan dishes are clearly marked on the menu, which changes frequently. The restaurant’s chic interior draws the crowds in as it’s usually very busy and they don’t take reservations, but you can always have a vegan-friendly drink at the bar first.
Tibits is a self-service restaurant where you pay according to the weight of your plate. There are hot and cold dishes which are mostly non-vegan, but if you’re not avoiding animal products there is heaps to choose from. There’s healthy stuff like quinoa salads, risottos and daals, and the stodgier pasta salads, samosas, Thai curries, and vegetable sausage dishes. There are desserts too, although these can be a bit hit and miss - a pineapple and coconut tiramisu that tasted nothing like the Italian original made a brief appearance one season. They open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and have a small if very decent selection of cocktails and wine too.
Otarian is the fast food option. This American chain (where else) does burgers, tacos, wraps, curries, meal combos and desserts, available to eat in or take away. They use mushroom, lentil and spinach for the burgers, beans, rice and Cheddar for the tacos, and sweet potato, Brie or spicy vegetables for the wraps. Desserts include crumble, pannacotta and crème brûlèe. You might find their carbon comparison publicity (they compare the carbon footprint for each item on their menu to the energy used at a typical fast food place) a tad tiresome, but it’s the ideal place if you want a quick filling fix, although there aren’t many vegan choices.
is the vegan’s favourite. It’s unfussy and dishes are simple, but portions are huge, freshly made and cheap. So if you like Shepherd’s Pie, pasta bakes, vegetable hot pot and moussaka this is the place to come - a large (read enormous) serving is just £6.20. All their cakes are vegan too, including flapjacks, chocolate cake and bakewell slices. Eat in or grab a box to take away. East
is the gourmet choice, and will appeal to you if you fancy sampling experiments in raw vegan food. There are no animal products or refined ingredients and most of the dishes are cooked at below 48 C to preserve nutrients, unless otherwise stated. The concept obviously worked well in Shoreditch, as they have since opened a second restaurant at the Kensington High Street branch of Whole Foods. A great deal of effort goes into the presentation of dishes such as asparagus and samphire tortelloni and courgette cut into strips to resemble pappardelle; then there are the desserts, a “cheesecake” for instance employs cashew nut cheese, coconut and a lemon zest base. It’s on the pricey side, with mains being around £14.
is located in Kensington’s very own ghetto, the area to the west that most inhabitants of W8 would rather forget about. This modest café is committed to serving vegan food, with the added bonus of being low salt and low fat, plus there isn’t a single deep fried dish on the menu. Perhaps it’s this healthy proposal that ensures it’s always busy as customers flock here to sample the mushroom and spinach raclette (with a tofu version of cheese of course) and vegan roast with gravy. On the downside it looks like a kebab shop and the toilets are insalubriously located next to the kitchen.
opposite Camden Lock is as psychedelic-looking as the name suggests. As well as hosting live music and DJs and having a teensy dancefloor, they offer healthy vegan food. Concoctions include cashew “cheese” and mushroom bake, hazelnut dauphinoise made with soya béchamel, and spinach, tofu and spelt tart. There are vegan cakes, beers, organic cocktails and of course, smoothies. More of a café than a restaurant, it’s the kind of place where you can bring your laptop to surf the net for a few hours.
is another quirky music venue cum bar cum vegetarian café. Jazz, blues, country and world music performances take place 7 nights a week, and if you fancy a bite to eat you can choose from their vegetarian tapas selection. They use organic ingredients wherever possible to create Mediterranean-inspired dishes, think hummus and roasted vegetables, grilled halloumi, and tofu cheesecake.
boasts a riverside location and alfresco dining area, earning it brownie points on the venue alone. Since 1989 this restaurant has been serving up dishes to vegetarian locals, and it remains the only veggie eatery in the Kingston area. The menu is a hotchpotch of international flavours, from Caribbean casseroles to Indian masala dosas and Italian pasta dishes. Vegan options are indicated on the menu (there are plenty) and there are comforting desserts like rice pudding and chocolate fudge cake. While the food may not be the most experimental it rates highly in the ambience stakes. All main courses are under a tenner.
Author: Leila Hawkins