Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few years, it’s hard to ignore the rise of meat-free diets among Londoners. The capital is now full of exciting veggie-friendly menus, and there’s no better time to try them out than during National Vegetarian Week (14-20 May). Read on for our pick of London restaurants that are serving special menus, or are great for meat-free options all year round.
Craft London, Greenwich (above)
What: Chef Stevie Parle’s Greenwich eatery is joining in the festivities with special plant-based menus. From 16-19 May, diners can enjoy three-course vegetarian menus, including an asparagus and fennel tartlet with elderberry capers, goats’ curd dumplings, and desserts such as a cherry blossom and chocolate millefeuille.
Where: Peninsula Square, SE10 0SQ
How much: Vegetarian menu, £25
Essence Cuisine, Shoreditch
What: Plant-based Essence Cuisine is welcoming US chef Matthew Kenney for the whole of veggie week. Kenney is known for his high-end vegan dishes and is adding three specials to the menu for the occasion. Diners can enjoy the likes of carrot and ginger kelp noodles, or a hibiscus strawberry cheesecake.
Where: 94 Leonard Street, EC2A 4RH
How much: Mains from £7
Farmacy, Notting Hill
What: This deceiving line-up of burgers and ice-cream sundaes is perfect for carnivores looking to ditch the meat for National Vegetarian Week. Everything on the menu is vegan, so the juicy burgers are actually made from millet, black bean and mushroom – all the taste without having to break your meat-free promises.
Where: 74-76 Westbourne Grove, W2 5SH
How much: Farmacy burger, £15.50
Foxlow Balham, Clerkenwell and Soho
What: Foxlow is celebrating National Vegetarian Week with a standalone meat-free menu available throughout the week. Tempting dishes from the starters include carrot hummus with pesto and chilli, while mains see spice-roasted cauliflower with chickpeas and curried aubergine sauce, or sweet-potato dumplings with kale and fried shiitake.
Where: 15-19 Bedford Hill, SW12 9EX; 69-73 St John Street, EC1M 4AY; 8-10 Lower James Street, W1F 9EL
How much: Mains from £10
The Gate Seymour Place, Marylebone
What: The prettiest location for this mini-chain (there are also sites in Hammersmith and Islington blends vegetarian food with international cuisine, to great effect. We’d recommend the wild mushroom risotto cake, and the spicy, bean-stuffed tacos.
Where: 22-24 Seymour Place, W1H 7NL
How much: Mains from £13
What: This casual Soho diner is rather unique in that it serves a 100% gluten-free Italian menu, which is veggie, vegan and allergy-friendly. That doesn’t mean it’s all salads and juices though, with indulgent Italian dishes including vegan carbonara topped with asparagus and avocado cream.
Where: 64 Old Compton Street, W1D 4UQ
How much: Vegan carbonara, £12
What: Another Stevie Parle-owned restaurant is also getting in on the action. Palatino’s new spring menu launches on 14 May and is replete with vegetarian options. Why not try the mozzarella topped with smashed broad beans, or opt for the green gnocchi served in a tomato sauce? The menu’s only around until July, so get your meat-free fix while you can.
Where: 71 Central Street, EC1V 8AB
How much: Green gnocchi, £9
Tibits, Bankside and Soho
What: This relaxed, all-day restaurant is designed for veggies and vegans, with over 40 daily changing dishes, all charged by weight. Pop in early for a breakfast of fresh juices, pancakes and pastries, or stop by later to enjoy the likes of roasted tandoori cauliflower, cheesy leek and potato pie, and desserts such as vegan raspberry cheesecake.
Where: 124 Southwark Street, SE1 0SW; 12-14 Heddon Street, W1B 4DA
How much: £2.70 per 100g