Go green: veggie & vegan London
Once niche lifestyle choices, vegetarianism and veganism are now becoming more prevalent in the capital, with a host of restaurants and cafés promoting a lighter and more sustainable way of eating. Here are five of our favourite central London spots for those ditching meat.
Tucked away on an unassuming street in Fitzrovia is Kin Café – a 100 per cent vegetarian hotspot making delicious salads, hot dishes and treats, with well-sourced ingredients. The emphasis here is on sustainability – the father and son team behind Kin actively seeking out suppliers that have a positive impact on the environment. The café offers three salad options daily, as well as a veggie and vegan sandwich, one soup and stew and frittata or quiche; the team also accommodates those with gluten intolerances. As well as thoughtfully-made and presented food, Kin prides itself on serving up quality cups of Joe; there’s also fresh, organic juices to keep things sweet.
22 Foley Street
Part of Martin Morales’ stable of contemporary Peruvian restaurants that includes Frith Street’s Ceviche, focusing on Lima’s coastal cuisine, and Andina in Shoreditch, which takes influence from Peru’s Andean regions, Casita Andina is modelled on the picanterias – family-run, hole-in-the-wall restaurants in the homes of Andean women – that Morales grew up eating in. Most of the menu is gluten free, and many dishes are veggie or vegan, and use superfoods that are native to Peru. The Ceviche de Alcachofa features Peruvian artichokes matched with rocoto ‘tiger’s milk’, purple sweet potatoes and black radish; while the Puka Picante takes one of the many Peruvian potatoes available and serves it alongside beetroot panca sauce, smoked fresco cheese and huacatay herb.
31 Great Windmill Street
One of the few ‘finer’ vegetarian restaurants in London, Vanilla Black by Chancery Lane has been serving up meatless and fishless dishes since opening in 2004. The team show that little more than top quality veg is needed to prepare intricately and beautifully prepared plates – many of which can be made to cater to vegans as well as those avoiding meat. Try the likes of smokey aubergine served alongside flatbread and green harissa with aged garlic and spiced pistachio, or the unusual fried porridge, wild garlic and broad beans with raw garlic almond milk, chicory and aged garlic – an example of the creativity that dietary restrictions can sometimes bring.
17-18 Took’s Court
Tibits has been one of Heddon Street, Mayfair’s most popular restaurants for some time, thanks to a dedication to thoughtfully put together dishes eschewing meat and dairy. The buffet-style boat bursts with over 40 homemade veggie and vegan salads made using seasonal produce, as well as hot dishes and soups. Faced with an unprecedented amount of choice, vegans run the risk of getting over-excited – not ideal when you pay by weight – but the comfort in knowing that nearly everything on offer fits with your lifestyle choice is worth the punchy price point. Freshly squeezed juices and smoothies, like the invigorating apple, fennel and lemon or simple orange and carrot will leave you feeling rejuvenated.
12-14 Heddon Street
Affiliated with the Radha-Krishna Temple, Govinda’s is the place to go for guilt-free Indian cheap eats in Soho. Every dish on the concise menu is meat, fish and egg free, and the majority is made without dairy; opt for the veggie thali, which features two vegetable dishes, dhal and rice alongside chapatis or poppadum and salad. There are lots of more conventional options, but you’d be a fool to miss the terrific-value traditional Indian fare on offer here.
10 Soho Street