The London Vegan Bucket List
Finding food as a vegan can be difficult, particularly in a city like London where burger joints and fish and chips shops are abound. Even as a non-vegan, I wanted to experiment and try as many new cuisines as possible (including the plant-based cuisine)! I have spent the past few weeks trying to find the best restaurants and markets in London that are ethical and yummy. Here are some of my highlights I think you should add to your London Vegan Bucket List:
Mooshies – Brick Lane
This restaurant is tucked away on the corner of Brick Lane (famous for its plentiful curries) and Princelet Street. As a non-vegan myself, I have high expectations when it comes to burgers but I kept an open mind and ordered the Brick Lane Bhaji, while the person I went with ordered ‘What’s Your Beef?’ My burger consisted of a fried bhaji, mango chutney and asian guacamole, all sandwiched between a tasty bun. The other burger was a quinoa and black bean patty, oozing with vegan cheese, burger sauce and caramelised onions. We both ordered a side of fries (we were hoping to order the sweet potato fries but they had run out) but the fries were great – crispy yet fluffy, which is exactly how fries should be. I can honestly say that my burger was delicious and a very unique combination of flavours and the other burger was just as amazing. It tasted like a meaty but vegan equivalent of the typical fast-food burger. Simply put, it is a must try.
Ethos Foods – near Oxford Street
We were looking for a trendy and plant-based brunch place to try when we happened to stumble upon this gem. This restaurant is not 100% vegan, but it is meat-free with a special focus on various dietary needs, such as plant-based, gluten-free and dairy-free. We tried the breakfast menu and the best option was the kale, tofu and sweet potato hash, lightly fried in coconut oil. It tasted fresh and again, was an interesting mix of flavours. I would certainly eat this again, and a bonus is that there are other dietary needs catered for if you aren’t just eating with your vegan friends (i.e., they serve scrambled eggs etc). As we were walking out, we noticed that they were beginning to serve lunch in a self-serve style and the options looked delicious.
Vegan Hippo – Piccadilly Circus
This cafe is entirely vegan and serves a small breakfast and lunch/dinner menu as well as some desserts and snacks. I tried a London classic – the fry up (but vegan, of course). It came with scrambled tofu, fried onions, mushrooms and tomatoes, toast and sunflower butter, vegan sausage and bacon as well as baked beans. I’m always a little sceptical about meat substitutes (such as quorn) and so was weary to try the sausage and bacon, but I can honestly say that they tasted so great. So much so that I even wanted to order extra sausages! The food is all fresh and made on the spot, which you can tell by how it tastes. For a mock-up fry up, it was out of this world.
Fed by Water – Dalston Junction
This restaurant boasts an incredibly healthy vegan menu, where the focus is on pure water and its advantages to the body. It is also a very popular restaurant, so we had to book in advance to ensure we could get a seat. I decided to order the marinara pizza and it tasted so fresh and delicious. The spices and the garlic were perfectly infused in the sauce and you could tell how fresh the sauce was by its vivid red colour. For dessert, I opted for the chocolate mousse, which is actually made of avocado (but you could never tell). It was so silky and sweet, I was left wanting more!
Sagar – Covent Garden
For those who have a serious Indian hankering, this is the restaurant for you. It is entirely vegetarian, with lots of vegan options and options for other dietary needs (they list all allergens on their menu). This restaurant is small but you can usually find a seat it you go in slightly off-peak hours. I usually order the masala dosa, which is a rice and lentil crepe filled with spiced potatoes. It arrives with a variety of dips and is exactly what you need to feel warm on colder London days. The person I go with normally orders the Masala Uthappam, which is a rice and lentil ‘pizza’, served with potatoes/onions/coriander and the aforementioned dips. This pizza also contains Mulaga Podi, which gives it a particular spicy kick. It is a special take on pizza, but no less successful!
Other non-vegan restaurants with vegan options:
Vapiano – This is a really cool concept for a restaurant. You can choose your type of pasta and the variety of dish (carbonara, pomodoro etc) and this makes it highly customisable. Their website includes all of the information and you can always opt out of the cheese. They cook in front of you so you know it’s very fresh!
Zizzi – This is a classic Italian/family chain. They have introduced two particular vegan options – vegan lentil ragu and vegan pizza. The pizza is customisable so that you can choose three toppings (such as smoked chilli jelly, basalmic onions and mushrooms) and the vegan cheese is very gooey!
Finally, I would suggest a trip to Southbank Streetfood, where there are stalls with vegan options as well as Whole Foods, where their hot bar has usually at least 3/4 vegan options for you to put in your box and take home to eat. I didn’t get a chance to go to Mildreds but I have heard incredible things about their vegetarian and vegan options. Lastly, Gourmet Burger Kitchen does have one vegan burger option for deliveroo but unfortunately, their fries are not vegan.
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