You may not have enjoyed eating your greens when you were younger, but it’s hard to deny that vegetarian cuisine has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years. London is now full of exciting veggie-friendly menus, and there’s no better time to try them out than this National Vegetarian Week (15-21 May). Read on for our pick of London restaurants that are getting in on the action.
Words: Eamonn Crowe
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Mayfair
What: Alain Ducasse has served a seven-course vegetarian menu, Menu Jardin, since opening in 2007. This year though, its stepping things up with a limited edition Gardening Hour menu, which includes the likes of black rice, with wild fennel and a citrus condiment.
Where: The Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, W1K 1QA
How much: £65 for three courses (available 16-19 May)
Craft London, Greenwich
What: For one night only on 18 May, Craft is serving up a seven-course tasting menu. The riot of vegetables features dishes including baby carrots with burnt bread, pumpkin seeds and rhubarb ketchup, and a dessert of mint, fennel and gooseberry.
Where: Peninsula Square, SE10 0SQ
How much: £45
Dandy, Stoke Newington
What: Most of the menu at this Stokey newbie is vegetarian, with the menu having a dedicated veg section. The food offering changes daily, but you can expect to find the likes of asparagus topped with ricotta cheese and nuts, or BBQ’d turnip.
Where: 20 Newington Green, Mayville Estate, N16 9PU
How much: Dishes from £7
Eneko at One Aldwych, Covent Garden
What: This Basque-influenced site is launching a veggie tasting menu just in time. The six-course feast includes beetroot tartare served with pickled red onion, soufflé potato and an earthy barbeque sauce (pictured), and a wheat stew combining truffle and egg yolk.
Where: One Aldwych, 1 Aldwych, WC2B 4BZ
How much: £50
Farmacy, Notting Hill
What: This deceiving line-up of burgers and ice-cream sundaes is perfect for reluctant veggies. 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
Franco Manca, various locations
What: On Wednesday 17 May, across all Franco Manca’s, any diner who brings in a portion of veg can swap it for a free veggie pizza from 12N-3pm. These vegetables will then be donated to local food banks – now what’s your excuse for not eating your greens?
Where: Various locations
How much: Free
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, packed tortillas.
Where: 22-24 Seymour Place, W1H 7NL
How much: Mains from £13
Kaspar’s Seafood Bar & Grill, Covent Garden
What: Veggie food isn’t all pasta bakes you know. London institution Kaspar’s has a whole menu dedicated to upmarket meat-free meals. We like the sound of the wild garlic risotto (pictured) or the vegan sushi platter, featuring spicy avocado, asparagus and radish.
Where: The Savoy, The Strand, WC2R 0EU
How much: Vegan sushi platter £12
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 tagliatelle pasta served with baba ganoush and grilled courgettes.
Where: 64 Old Compton Street, W1D 4UQ
How much: Vegan tagliatelle pasta £12.50
Merchants Tavern, Shoreditch
What: To mark the occasion, Merchants Tavern has a Vegetarian Kitchen Counter menu, which will serve European-influenced dishes such as salt-baked celeriac with hazelnut pesto and raisin puree, and baked peach and Tahitian vanilla ice cream for pudding.
Where: 36 Charlotte Road, EC2A 3PG
How much: Three courses £28.50, five courses £42
If you’re vegetarian all year round, have a look at our pick of the best meat-free restaurants in London, or our selection of vegetarian-friendly restaurants in the capital.
This article was modified 16 May 2017