The vegan trend is spreading like wildfire across London, and the restaurant business is (rightly) picking up on this cultural shift. But how to avoid the duds serving stale chickpea juice meringue and find the real stars in the vegan firmament? That’s where we can help: here are our favourites…
USP Its strictly French cuisine
When you think of French food, you may perhaps picture escargots, foie gras, confit de canard, macarons – in short, not vegan at all. Café Forty One head chef Clarisse Flon wants to challenge this perception with her new, fully vegan ‘French Pâtisserie’ menu. The contemporary vegan alternatives cover breakfast, lunch, all-day dessert and Afternoon Tea. Check it out now.
USP The stylish Scandi interiors
This joint is as trendy as they come – Shoreditch location, design-focused and Scandi-rooted. The entirely plant-based nosh is also impressive, with raw-food pioneer Matthew Kenney at the helm. Swedish architect Andreas Bozarth Fornell (known for his work with Acne Studios and Paris’s Sandro restaurant) created the sleek interiors.
USP London’s first 100% vegan pub
How can pub grub be vegan, you may wonder. One of London’s oldest pubs kept tradition alive while celebrating our changing food culture when it became London’s first vegan gastropub earlier this year. Club Mexicana is in charge of the food, serving Mexican street food-inspired dishes, so no chickpeas and chia seeds here. Even the beer is vegan, and a range of classic cocktails are given clever plant-based twists.
USP You can create your own tasting menu
This Primrose Hill restaurant’s menu is decided by what its dedicated greengrocer Phil finds at the farmers' markets at 3am each morning. Manna’s health-conscious menu changes frequently as the policy is always to use seasonal ingredients. Groups can also design their own tasting experience.
USP Its 20-seat private dining room
The Alchemy Room at Farmacy is a great space to experience the Notting Hill restaurant’s vegan cuisine, complete with lush greenery, abundant natural light and diverting artworks. It’s also available for events with bespoke cocktail, dinner and canapé packages on offer (prices start at £35pp). The plant-based menu features a variety of British, Italian, Korean and Mexican dishes.
USP Its cooking workshops and artistic events
Food as medicine is a Far Eastern concept that took hold long before the vegan trend washed over London. Staying true to its culture and tradition, Itadaki Zen is the first restaurant of its kind in Europe, serving up plant-based Japanese food in cute bento boxes. Join one of its workshops exploring the subject of sustainable agriculture and food, or pop in for one of its live music nights or art exhibitions.
USP Its seriously upscale elegance
Gauthier Soho is not entirely vegan yet, but after animal charity PETA demonstrated outside the restaurant, protesting at the fact that it served customers 20kg of foie gras every week, chef-patron Alexis Gauthier decided it was time for a change, devoting 75% of the menu to vegan dishes. Now, his aim is to be fully vegan within two years, so watch this space. The two private dining rooms, which seat 12 and 20 respectively, are wonderfully classy spaces in which to experience the vegan tasting menus (£49pp).