By Anton Constantinou
Green-eating is all the rage right now. More people than ever are saying goodbye to meat and embracing a herbivore diet in a bid to better their health.
Previous statistics from The Vegan Society puts the number of vegans and vegetarians in the UK on a collective 1.68 million, with supporting research indicating that veganism in Britain has risen by a colossal 350% in the past decade. Driving this trend are people in the 15-34 age category, who currently account for nearly half of all vegans in the UK.
As the fifth most vegan friendly city in the world, London has a plethora of vegan and vegetarian-friendly eateries to choose from. Vegan street grub has also become increasingly common thanks to food stalls in places like Greenwich Market and Hoxton Beach.
Here are some of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants we’ve had the pleasure of dining at:
Address: 124 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0SW
Nearest train station: Southwark
Tibits updates the buffet concept with self-service veggie and vegan options which vary depending on the season. The restaurant has 11 sites in London, Zurich and Basel, and provides a tantalising selection of world dishes. Guests are invited to pile up their plates in the central buffet-boat and pay by weight, much as they might do at a salad bar. Dishes range from patatas bravas, to beetroot hummus and aubergine quiche. Tibits Bankside – which we’ve personally visited – is located just behind the Tate Modern and has a distinctly arty feel about it. Its polished wooden floors are matched by quirky furnishings and wall art which make you feel right at home in Southwark.
Black Cat Cafe
Address: 76A Clarence Rd, London, E5 8HB
Nearest train station: Hackney Downs
This bohemian, volunteer-run eatery boasts an all-vegan menu of comfort food and salad plates. As well as excellent cakes and top notch samosas, there’s vegan chocolate, cheese and faux meats to choose from. Located on Clarence road, close to Dalston, it’s as trendy as they come.
222 Veggie Vegan
Address: 222 North End Rd, Hammersmith, London, W14 9NU
Nearest train station: West Kensington
London’s favourite vegan restaurant has a very simple aim: to serve healthy, delicious food and provide a welcoming environment. And that it does. All dishes are made using natural ingredients and are low in salt, low in fat and non-GM. Nothing comes deep fried, nor microwaved, and, where possible, organic produce is used.
Address: 139 King’s Cross Road, London, WC1X 9BJ
Nearest train station: King’s Cross
Japan is notorious for its sustainable cuisine, and Itadaki Zen puts healthy and responsible cooking right at the forefront of the workshops it offers as part of its dining experience. Its intricately crafted include things like tempura, kimpab and kake udon. For dessert, why not try a sesame pudding.
Address: 51A, Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, London W6 9QL
Nearest train station: Hammersmith
For a veggie/vegan friendly international menu, head to The Gate, which has two separate restaurants in West and North London. The Gate Islington, the newer of the two, combines friendly staff and casual, elegant interiors for an altogether homely experience. The aubergine schnitzel is an excellent variation on the usual chicken equivalent.
Address: 92-93 Chapel Market, London N1 9EX
Nearest train station: Angel
This curry house in Chapel Market does exactly as it says on the tin: by dishing up meat-free versions of popular meals in a simple café setting. And, better still, the buffet menu is always changing. Don’t be fooled by the shoddy shop front, this is an understated gem.
Address: 45 Lexington Street, Carnaby, London, W1F 9AN
Nearest train station: Leicester Square
Mildreds has a home in three of London’s coolest areas: Soho, Camden and Kings Cross. Its generous menu contains everything from veggie burgers, to a Sri Lankan curry made up of sweet potato, cashews and green beans. Mildreds Soho takes its place in quaint 18th century town house on Lexington Street, amid the hustle and bustle of London’s West End.