It's National Vegetarian Week, which is a damn good excuse as any to explore all the amazing veggie dishes London has to offer. Here are nine that will convert even the most savage carnivore.
The veggie burrito at Luardos (£4.50)
Locate Luardos' cutesy mint green burrito mobile on Whitecross Street and get your mitts round one of their parcels of wondrousness. A 12-inch soft tortilla is stuffed to the seams with Monterey Jack cheese, black beans, rice, fresh coriander, pico salsa, sour cream, iceburg lettuce and three types of hot sauce. Ask for extra guacamole; you can never, ever have enough guac, especially when it’s this velvety and fresh.
Shakshuka at Honey & Co. (£8.60)
We’d happily put all our eggs in one basket for Honey & Co.’s Shakshuka – two huge baked eggs nestled in a tomato base seasoned with cumin, caraway and paprika. Mop up the sauce with a traditional flatbread and make your standard Saturday fry-up a thing of the past.
Caprese pizza at Homeslice (£20 for a 20”)
Hotfoot it to Homeslice for vegetarian pizza nirvana. Caprese is the classic but their aubergine, cauliflower cheese, spinach and harissa, and the mushroom, ricotta, pumpkin seed and chilli versions are pretty phenomenal too. Bases are super squishy with a solid, wood-fired char. And toppings are liberally applied – this is not the type of slice to eat daintily with one hand. Order half-and-half because you definitely won’t be able to choose just one flavour.
Beetroot and lentil scotch egg at Scotchtails (£6.90)
Dominic Hamdy and Oliver Hiam, the brains behind Borough Market-based Scotchtails, have given the classic British pub snack a makeover with the beetroot and lentil scotch egg. It's a way more appetising colour than the meat version. Not that we’re judging on looks, though – this little bundle of joy is packed with flavour and texture. Squirted with a selection of Scotchtails’ zany condiments and served with dreamy sweet potato fries, this is pure egg-cellence.
Three-cheese toastie at Kappacasein (£5)
Le grand fromage of the toastie world, Kappacasein’s three-cheese version combines a holy trinity of Montgomery cheddar, Ogleshield and Comté on crispy Poilâne sourdough. Salivating yet? Now consider the sliced leeks, minced onions and crushed garlic they throw into the mix – true genius, we say. Just don’t expect a snog after you’ve polished off one of these.
Black house daal at Dishoom (£5.90)
Okay, so it’s not actually black, but when you find a dish this silky, rich and comforting, you don’t give a monkey's what it looks like. Dishoom simmers spices like cumin, cinnamon and cloves with lentils for 24 hours, before serving it with roti and rice. Like a massive hug in a bowl.
Fritter at Honest Burgers (£7.50)
A veggie burger, but not the limp, tasteless kind you love to grumble about. Honest Burgers’ sweetcorn and cauliflower fritter is bound with coriander in a spicy curried batter before being slathered with a fresh cucumber raita. It looks like a giant pakora, but is lighter than your average patty. It comes with chips on the side, which are rosemary-salted and ridiculously moreish.
Roasted aubergine with date yoghurt, pickled lemon, pistachio and basil at Ottolenghi (£6.50)
Yotam Ottolenghi’s concoctions are the stuff of any vegetarian’s wildest dreams. But this roasted aubergine dish could be enough to satisfy the mores of a hardened carnivore. Fleshy roasted aubergines come drizzled with sweet-sour date yoghurt then scattered with zesty pickled lemon and fresh herbs. Get your meat-eating mates to load up on as many of Ottolenghi’s salads as their plate can handle and they'll be crying out for a second visit.
Risotto balls at Arancini Brothers (£3.50 for five)
Great things have come out of Sicily. Cannoli, granita...er, Al Pacino. But surely the best veggie indulgence is arancini, a street food staple of deep-fried risotto balls. Arancini Brothers do theirs with a creamy risotto in a thin, crispy breadcrumb shell, which are as good on their own as with their magical vegetable stew, salad or wraps. But be warned: once you pop, you can’t stop.
Find more vegetarian restaurants in London.