Veganism has been rapidly evolving over the last decade from the preserve of the alternative fringe to a movement embraced by thousands seeking a new path. As we become more aware of the havoc wreaked on both our planet and wildlife by the meat and dairy industries as well as the growing health concerns from polluted products and the catastrophic contributution to global warming caused by industrial animal farming there has been a growing interest in the benefits and wonders of a vegan diet. Studies show that eating meat and dairy free can add up a decade to your life. Nut roast be gone – here we share 10 of our favourite restaurants offering glorious vegan food. Let us know your favourite!
A raw food paradise in the heart of London’s Notting Hill, Nama hits all the right spots. It was launched by a dynamic team to, in their words ‘show the world that world that vegan, and particularly raw vegan food, can be beautiful, healthy and super tasty’. Nama is both innovative and joyful in its approach to food, we love the colourful antipasti sharing plate and the rose-petal and blueberry adorned cashew cheesecake. Brunch is very popular here (available until 4pm, Friday to Sunday), the locals vie for tables to feast on the pancakes with silky coconut ‘marscapone’ and rave about the Nama signature drink, an in-house twist on horchata, a latin concoction made from tiger nuts and coconut sugar – the spice and warmth is utterly embracing.
Loved by both the neighbourhood’s establishment and millennial residents, this is another Notting Hill gem and owned by socialite and health food activist Camilla Al Fayed. The plant and wood filled interior echoes the menu’s passion for natural goodness. Imaginative combinations play with the palette and surprise – Beetroot Bloody Mary? It works. The flavours sing in dishes created by Michelin-starred chef, Joao Ricardo Alves. Try the the delicious artichoke pizzetta to start and move onto the fiesta-in-a-bowl Mexican dish filled with zingy tomato ceviche and smoky chipotle mayo. Special mention goes to the maca-infused smoothie – we will be attempting to recreate the wonderful flavour at home this autumn!
- Temple of seitan
Turning the chicken shop epidemic on its head on the frisky streets of Hackney – Temple of Seitan has been as provocative an opening as its name implies – and is bang next door to the ‘Hackney Meat Centre’. The poultry in question is made from seitan, a wheat protein with a meat-like texture – deep fried southern-style, succulent and served with (extremely good) chips and dips such as ranch mayo and spicy Sriracha . The crowds and queues here are a testament to both the widespread rise of veganism and the excellent, if not exactly cheap, offerings – who knew vegan mac n’cheese could be so scrumptious?
Created by Jay and Evany, the founders of Detox-Fit, a personal traning brand, Sanctuary has a message for the world – a very real repulsion for the millions of animal slaughters happening annually to supply the seemingly bottomless meat market. The restaurant may be set in sedate leafy Fulham but it’s website preaches a strong clarion call against the ill-effects and dishonesty of the meat, dairy and egg industries – what could sound sanctimonious is actually a deep compassion and passion at work and we applaud them. Enjoy the flavoursome detox-tapas and salads here, tumbling with rainbow colours.
- 222 Veggie Vegan
West London’s North End Road is fast becoming the city’s hottest vegan destination with the recent opening of the UK’s first green supermarket, Green Bay and buzzing pizzeria Picky Wop’s. Grand Dame 222 has been around for 13 years and is renowned for its superb buffet lunches attracting vegan diners from all over the country. Chef Ben Asamani conjures up staple delights such as the divine oyster mushroom and spinach raclette and his signature pumpkin and pine nut risotto using the freshest natural ingredients.
A successful Swiss import tucked away behind bustle Regent Street – Tibits is a visual as well as gastronomic feast. The restaurant began as the dream of three dashing brothers from Zurich, Christian, Daniel and Reto Frel who enlisted the expertise of the legendary owners of the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world, Zurich’s Haus Hiltl and the rest is history. All day dining is on offer here – the best vegan options on the nourishing autumn menu include barley and radicchio stew. There is also a branch near the Tate Modern.
Mildred’s is a Soho institution that has a warm, subtle style befitting the 18th century townhouse setting. A lively atmosphere makes this a great option for celebrations and date night. The food is equally soulful – and gets regular praise from critics. Plump for the steamy Sri Lankan sweet potato and lime cashew curry followed by the melting persian almond, lemon and pistachio cake – a hit of the tropics in this raffish corner of W1. The bar is a scene – make the inevitable perching while waiting for a table a convivial part of the visit. Long may she last!
- Maitreya Social, Bristol
A city alive with counter-culture, Bristol was always going to be fertile ground for a vegan diner. Named after a figure in Buddhist mythology, Maietrya is a bustling and popular spot in the cultural quarter. Chef Barney is a master of his craft and the food is elegant, earthy and authentic (and very good value). It is also a great place to introduce the delights of veganism to the inquisitive – the pulled jackfruit, with its bbq smokiness and served with blue corn tacos is a crowd pleaser as is Triple chocolate & butterscotch torte. Check out the live music jams and the revolving art exhibitions.
- Moon and Hare Edinburgh
A cafe worth crossing the scottish capital for – Moon and Hare has been going since xxx but still packs a punch. Even the dullest of winter afternoons can be saved by afternoon tea with the fragrantly spiced gluten free carrot cake. Regulars adore the “Korean Sunrise” tortilla with tangy kimchi and tofu. The staff are unfailingly friendly and evening diners are serenaded by local musicians while enjoying the healthy and satisfying menu.
- Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen
Contemporary cooking in a historic setting – think honeyed stone and Georgian sunlit rooms – this is Bath at its best and just a short walk from the famed Roman Baths. Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen is lovingly overseen by chef Richard Buckley who takes great pride in sourcing seasonal and high quality local produce. He has a masterly talent for translating even the humble side dishes into an ah-ah moment – think chips and tomato sauce unveiled as rosemary threaded polenta chips with a rich plum ketchup. Lunch is popular – take a bracing walk up to the Royal Crescent afterwards and daydream in the estate agents windows.
Enjoy lovely food and be kind to every living creature.
Julia & Peter,