vegan london feature

Grace Regan is founder of SpiceBox, the healthiest and most affordable plant-powered curry in London.

As January comes to a close, it’s pretty likely that you or someone you know has spent the past four weeks giving ‘Veganuary’ a go. I was there two years ago and, having failed miserably at the not drinking thing, I clung on to my newfound veganism instead. But two weeks later, I cracked – and boy did that eggy, fluffy pancake taste good.

Fast-forward two years and I’ve made the transition. I’m now a fully fledged vegan, with a vegan business and a mission to help people eat fewer animal products. There are loads of reasons why you should cut down on meat/milk/eggs (you’re probably sick to death of hearing them) but just in case you need a reminder, you can get the lowdown  here.

Without doubt, the main reason I failed at veganism was the fact that it wreaked havoc with my social life. Most dinner dates with friends were a no-go, my boyfriend refused to eat out with me because of the drama than ensued when the menu arrived and there was nothing on it for me to eat, and every time I went to the pub I’d have to get out my phone out and load up an app to check that the beer on tap was free from fish guts. Quite the party starter.

But times are changing and London is becoming a better, more fun place to be vegan. I’ve picked out my favourite places to go green, whichever part of town you find yourself in. 

EAST

Poco

Since opening in 2015, Poco has been a hit with London foodies. Granted, there’s a lot of meat and cheese on the menu but Poco’s owner Tom Hunt runs a zero-waste kitchen, using up every part of the animal and vegetable. So, if you’re gonna eat in a non-vegan restaurant, Poco’s up there with the most ethically sound. The seasonal menu of tapas and small plates has some killer vegan/veganisable dishes, including the split fava bean falafel with pickled turnips and coriander.

Cook Daily/Home LDN

King Cook Daily is the godfather of London’s vegan scene and specialises in cooking up animal-free Asian food, such as Thai green curry, pad Thai and (my personal favourite) ‘the high grade, a ‘chicken’ stir fry with insanely good sweet ‘n’ smoky sauce. Head to Cook Daily for lighter options, served on brown rice and quinoa. If you’re more in the mood for an all out indulgent Asian feast, hit Home (opposite).

NB: If you live near Shoreditch, you can order Cook Daily on Uber Eats and Deliveroo.

  • 07498 563168
  • Go to Website
  • Boxpark
    2-4 Bethnal Green Road
    London
    E1 6GY

Falafelciious

Admittedly, Falafelicious aren’t exactly pioneering trailblazers of the London food scene but, if you’re looking for a great value, self-service salad bar this is your place. For £6.50 you can build a huge salad bowl complete with lentils, quinoa, pickles, hummus, baba ganoush, sweet potato and glazed aubergine. Plus, if you love a good food freebie, there’s always a bowl of za’atar pita chips on the counter.

  • 0203 889 7739
  • Go to Website
  • Boxpark
    2-4 Bethnal Green Road
    London
    E1 6JY

Club Mexicana

Some of the hottest street foodies in London, these guys rebuff any preconceptions of veganism with a punchy menu packed full of vibrant tacos, nachos and burritos. While there are no animal products in sight, this is ‘proper’ Mexican food, with BBQ-pulled jackfruit burritos, beer-battered to-fish tacos and fried ‘chicken’ which we wouldn’t have known wasn’t the real deal. During their residency at Pamela, there’s also a specially created selection of vegan cocktails on offer – take a hit with the tangy ‘club mezical’ and feel super smug about going green.

CENTRAL

Moro

Moro does the best plate of vegan food in London. Fact. No matter the day, season or year, you’ll always find the ‘mixed veg mezze’ on the menu and, with a bit of tweaking, this dish can be easily veganised. The mezze is made up of seasonal vegetables and legumes seasoned and spiced to perfection and often cooked over charcoal (in true Moro style). It’s served with a flat bread the size of your head which provides the perfect apparatus for mopping up the various dips and juices.

Tossed

Tossed is fast becoming the best fast-casual eating option in London. You can build your own salad (£6.19) on futuristic touch pads or order one of their hot pots, such as the ‘coconut curry with roasted roots’. You can also use their app to order ahead if you’re in a rush. Tossed have branches in Clerkenwell, Holborn, Covent Garden and Paddington.

Planet Organic

Although I’d advise against doing your weekly grocery shop here (£12.99 for a jar of almond butter anyone?), Planet Organic does do surprisingly affordable hot lunches. Splash out on the ‘large box’ (£7.99) which you can stuff with black bean chilli, dhal, mushroom bake, pesto ‘zoodles’ (zucchini noodles), asian slaw and more. If (unlike me) you possess self-control, you can always take the leftovers home for dinner.

  • 020 3073 1038
  • Go to Website
  • 23-24 Tottenham Court Road
    Fitzrovia
    London
    W1T 1BJ

Mildreds

London’s vegan stalwart. Mildred’s has been cooking up homely vegan and veggie food for almost 30 years. Although they’ve recently expanded to King’s Cross and Camden, their branch on Lexington Street has the most atmosphere. Order the Sri Lankan sweet potato curry and leave room for warm beetroot and chocolate fudge cake.

  • 020 7494 1634
  • Go to Website
  • 45 Lexington Street
    Carnaby
    London
    W1F 9AN

NORTH

The Haberdashery

Life can be tough for a vegan in Crouch End (I should know, my boyfriend lives there) but the Haberdashery is worth taking the W7 for. Their vegan breakfast has to one of the best in London; scrambled spiced tofu, polenta, avocado, confit tomato, spinach, mushroom and sourdough toast – all for under a tenner.

Tootoomoo

If you can’t be bothered to cook but want to spend Friday night in with Graham Norton, you can’t go wrong with a Tootoomoo takeout. Their veg Thai green curry is vegan and delicious, as is the lemongrass tofu (always double-check for honey/fish sauce when ordering though).

  • 0207 704 6687
  • Go to Website
  • 278 St Paul's Road
    Islington
    London
    N1 2LH

Cookies and Scream Bakery

Thought going vegan would mean you’d have to kiss gooey, chewy chocolate-chip cookies goodbye? Think again. Flavours include peanut butter ‘chico’, ‘ginger ninjas’ and ‘hot Mexican’ cookies. Most of the cookies, brownies, pies and doughnuts here are also gluten- and refined-sugar free if that’s your (chia) jam.

  • 07778 691519
  • Go to Website
  • The Market Hall
    Camden Lock Place
    London
    NW1 8AF

SOUTH/WEST

Farm Girl

Notting Hill isn’t short of vegan eating options, but Farm Girl is the funkiest of the bunch, with bright turquoise walls and rainbow coloured lattes. Go for brunch to taste their vegan BLT, made with coconut bacon and cashew cream.

Riverside Vegetaria

Take a trip to Kingston on a summer’s evening and grab a table outside at this riverside gem. It’s got proper old-school charm, with a menu full of lentil stews and veggie curries. They also do a masala dosa, which I’d recommend.

  • 020 8546 7992/0609
  • Go to Website
  • Riverside Vegetaria
    64 High Street
    Kingston upon Thames
    KT1 1HN

Counter Cafe

Poco

Cook Daily/Home LDN

Club Mexicana

Moro

Tossed

Planet Organic

Mildreds

The Haberdashery

Tootoomoo

Farm Girl

Riverside Vegetaria

Falafelciious

Falafelciious

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