You might still be working on convincing your granny about the benefits of veganism, but there’s no denying that plant-based food is a ‘trend’ that’s here to stay. Whether you’ve opted to order vegan for the environment, for the sake of keeping fluffy bunnies alive or if you just don’t want to eat meat with every meal, London is full of great vegan options. Not all of the restaurants in our round-up below are exclusively vegan, but they do all offer vegan menus or dishes, so get stuck in.
Asia de Cuba, Covent Garden (above)
Why: At this posh hotel eatery, there’s a vegan à la carte menu which is brimming with plant-based food. Dishes to choose from include mushroom ceviche, chilli-rubbed tofu, and a vegan pad Thai. If you want to make the most of your meal, visit on the weekend to try Asia de Cuba’s bottomless vegan brunch, which comes complete with cocktails and tasty treats such as a red quinoa salad, and chipotle-glazed tofu served with Malanga chips.
Where: St Martins Lane Hotel, 45 St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4HX
Baby Bao, St James’s
Why: If you’re out with carnivorous friends, head down to Baby Bao for some Asian-style comfort food. Your meat-eating pals can chow down on the likes of chips topped with shredded duck, while you can enjoy a plate of mushroom bao, slathered with sweet ‘n’ sour sauce, miso mayonnaise, crispy shallots, spring onion and pickled carrot. Pad out your meal with vegan sides, including crispy fried nuggets of sweetcorn seasoned with nori.
Where: 66 Haymarket, SW1Y 4RF
Why: Who says vegan food has to be casual? At Chakra’s Kensington site (there’s another by the river in Kingston), you’ll find a dedicated vegan menu of upmarket Indian food. Highlights include a black truffle kulcha served with mint sauce and a mix of pickles, crispy okra sprinkled with dry mango powder, and slow-cooked roasted aubergine with cumin, garlic, ginger and a tomato purée. Pair your feast with beers from India.
Where: 33c Holland Street, W8 4LX
Coda by Eric Chavot, South Kensington
Why: This French-accented restaurant at The Royal Albert Hall is exclusive to ticket holders and opens two hours before shows begin. Coda offers a vegan set menu, which features a starter of celeriac velouté with sourdough croutons, followed by a main of tomato and courgette farcie drizzled with a zhough dressing. Dessert, which is eaten in the interval, sees a coconut rice pudding, served alongside mango sorbet.
Where: Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP
Why: Alexis Gauthier, chef-patron of this French fine-dining spot, has been vegan since 2016, and he has overhauled his menu accordingly. Guests can dine from a seasonally-changing vegan tasting menu, which might include dishes such as a wild mushroom tortellini, and saffron-roasted butternut squash with a plantain crumble. You can also enjoy the tasting menu with eight glasses of paired wine for an extra supplement.
Where: 21 Romilly Street, W1D 5AF
Why: If you’ve ever worried about not following quite the path your family thought you would, spare a thought for the parents of Alex and Oliver Santoro, who have opened this vegan joint despite their family’s 100-year involvement in the meat industry (their father is the largest exporter of pork in Europe). Order from the counter to enjoy the casual likes of seitan hotdogs, yuca fries dipped in garlic mayonnaise and vegan chocolate milkshakes.
Where: 144 Commercial Street, E1 6NU
Why: This Islington joint has taken a cue from Paul McCartney with its ‘meat-free Mondays’. Although primarily aimed at vegetarians, there’s plenty on the menu here for vegans too. The offering gets updated every week, but dishes to try might include heirloom tomato salad with tomato consommé and black olive crumb, or perhaps raw and grilled courgettes with apricots, hazelnuts and pea shoots.
Where: 344 Upper Street, N1 0PD
OXO Tower Restaurant and Brasserie, South Bank
Why: OXO Tower might have been around for years, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t keeping up with the latest innovations in food. In both the Restaurant and Brasserie, you can dine from a vegan menu which sees dishes such as deep-fried tofu with grilled peach, basil gel and smoked almonds, alongside an apricot, lemon and thyme cake. Every Veganuary, OXO also offers a charming vegan afternoon tea, featuring plenty of sweet treats.
Where: Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, SE1 9PH
Pied à Terre, Fitzrovia
Why: From its prized modern art and groaning wine list to legions of suited staff, Pied à Terre remains a timeless classic on the London dining scene. So if you’re looking for a fancy meal out, why not try Pied à Terre’s eight-course vegan tasting menu? Dishes include a carrot and ginger velouté, and salt-baked beetroot with grilled baby leeks, while dessert is a 100% chocolate mousse paired with apricot and cinnamon.
Where: 34 Charlotte Street, W1T 2NH
Redemption, Notting Hill and Shoreditch
Why: This entirely vegan (and alcohol-free) bar may sound like some people’s worst nightmare, but we can vouch that it’s not lacking in fun. Imaginative dishes include a vegan take on a cheeseboard (made with nut cheeses), and a pulled barbecued jackfruit burger which comes served with sweet potato fries. Wash it all down with mocktails such as the fruity Crantini: cranberry, orange, lemon, birch syrup, elderflower and coconut water.
Where: 6 Chepstow Road, W2 5BH
The Restaurant at Sanderson, Fitzrovia
Why: Offering up a delectable Mad Hatter’s vegan afternoon tea, The Restaurant at Sanderson swaps out the traditional smoked salmon and cucumber finger sandwiches for the likes of a chia seed wrap with wild rice, bean salad and quinoa. Sweet treats meanwhile include a Tweedle Dee orange and peanut butter cupcake, and a Queen of Hearts pecan, chocolate and coconut cookie.
Where: Sanderson, 50 Berners Street, W1T 3NG
Why: This relaxed all-day restaurant has diners serve themselves from a buffet station, with an entirely vegetarian selection which is priced by weight. On Tuesdays, you’ll find an exclusively vegan menu, featuring a Mexican-style quinoa bowl, vegan shakshuka, a pumpkin and chestnut soup and plenty of other animal-free offerings. Coffees and freshly-squeezed juices are on-hand to keep thirst at bay.
Where: 12-14 Heddon Street, W1B 4DA
Tootoomoo Crouch End, Islington and Whetstone
Why: This casual Pan-Asian mini-chain boasts a handful of vegan options for hungry diners. For instance, the lemongrass tofu sees seasonal vegetables stir-fried with a blend of lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves and plum tomatoes. Elsewhere, you can tuck into vegan mains such as an aubergine and tofu chilli bean stir-fry, while sides include steamed ramen or vermicelli noodles.
Where: 12 Crouch End Hill, N8 8AA; 278 St Paul's Road, N1 2LH; 1371 High Road, N20 9LN
For a full run down of the best vegan restaurants in the capital, click here.