From “fried chicken” to dairy-free banoffee pie, there are plenty of delicious and inventive vegan options to choose from.
A shipping container might not be the first location that springs to mind when you imagine one of the top vegan restaurants in London, but that’s where you’ll find Cook Daily, one of Boxpark Croydon’s eclectic vendors. Tuck into bowls of vegan deliciousness packed with colourful vegetables such as the High Grade, where veggies come with sweet ‘n’ sour BBQ sauce, hemp oil and seeds; or the Caribbean-inspired Hard Bowl with yam, plantains and wholemeal dumplings in a sizzling scotch bonnet sauce.
Temple of Hackney
For vegans who feel left out of the UK’s fried chicken obsession, or, like one of the co-founders, are meat-eaters-turned-vegan who miss their trips to KFC, here is the answer. Known to loyal followers as food stall Temple of Seitan (a nod to their main meat-substitute ingredient), this vegan ‘chicken’ shop opened its permanent home in January 2017. Try the Temple Burger – a crispy fillet burger with bacon, cheese, lettuce, pickles and mayo, or go for a chicken shop classic of hot wings (and, of course, chips). Who said vegan food had to be healthy?
Get your teeth into completely vegan Japanese food at Itadaki-Zen in King’s Cross, which makes its dishes as healthy and light as possible by using only organic ingredients. The result is a tempura that is light and perfectly golden, while grilled spring rolls are crisp rather than greasy. Go for a set menu to try all there is on offer, from vegetable sushi to udon noodles.
The Retreat Kitchen
Brunch lovers delight at this plant-based café in Richmond, run by two friends who believe food should be good for you and good for the planet. The Brunch Plate with scrambled tofu, homemade smokey beans, vegan sausage, hash brown, grilled tomato and sourdough is a big favourite, as is the daily selection of cakes and sweet treats found at the counter. The Retreat Kitchen's smoothies are as lovely to look at as they are to drink, or for something a little stronger, they even have vegan wine.
Nosh Garden Kitchen at La Suite West
Geeta Sidhu-Robb, Nosh Detox founder, raw chef and nutritionist, has brought her raw nutrition ethos to Bayswater. An oasis of health and purity, Nosh Garden Kitchen specialises in vegan and raw dishes such as black quinoa salad with white beans, artichoke and a fresh citrus dressing. The vibrant selection of dishes provide the perfect mix of nutrition and flavour, best enjoyed in the private garden, refreshing mocktail in hand.
With a motto of ‘spoil yourself without spoiling yourself,’ the founders of Redemption Bar aim to provide food that is good for you without you even noticing. Tuck in to a barbequed pulled ‘pork’ jackfruit burger with summer slaw and sweet potato wedges, followed by banoffee pie made with medjool date salted caramel, bananas and coconut cream. Order from their extensive mocktail list to complete your evening.
Vegan Express claims the title of Tooting’s first vegan restaurant and aims to make vegan food mainstream by providing animal-product-free versions of recognisable classics like burgers and ‘fish’ and chips. Loyal customers come back for their extensive vegan pizza menu topped with the likes of seitan salami, roasted red peppers, chilli rocket and vegan mozzarella.
Wild Food Café
Wild Food Café is a great place to spend a sunny weekend lunchtime, overlooking the bustle of Covent Garden’s Neal’s Yard, enjoying a menu focused on ‘vitality’ and ‘wellbeing.’ Dig in to the Ayurvedic Super Salad full of vegetables both familiar and exotic (hijiki anyone?) before grabbing a slice of Cosmic Blueberry Cheesecake.
No listing of London vegan restaurants is complete without (arguably) the capital’s most famous vegan hotspot. Serving the public, including plenty of A-listers, for more than 50 years, Manna has been ‘doing vegan’ longer than just about anyone. The bangers and mash have hit near legendary status, but for those who have trouble deciding, their ‘build your own menu’ options allow for a whole meze of appetisers, or a table full of every side you may wish to try. Wash it all down with organic vegan wine and finish off with something sweet from Manna’s onsite bakery.
For another vegan venue in the middle of London, head to the Vegan Hippo. The jackfruit burger is a familiar favourite here, and the restaurant’s location make it a great pre-theatre stop off point without the usual high prices of Soho. The menu offers daily specials and takeout options for those wishing to enjoy their meal outside of the relatively small seating area.