London’s vegan scene has gone from strength to strength over the last few years, with plant-based offerings expanding from processed meat-free junk food and ultra-healthy grain salad bowls to innovative dishes from around the world that deserve to be celebrated.
Now, vegans have more eating options than ever in the capital, and even the most veg-phobic carnivores can eschew meat, dairy, eggs and honey knowing that the city will provide amazing alternatives. As all vegans know, plant-based eating should be a habit to maintain beyond Veganuary, as it’s one of the most effective (and delicious) ways you can do your bit to help tackle the climate crisis.
Don’t know where to start? Here’s a bucket list of the best vegan dishes from London restaurants, including a luscious dessert, a pick-and-mix Caribbean feast, a mouth-widening, veg-packed sandwich and a cracking plant-based version of a Chinese classic. Eating your greens never tasted so good.
Vegan miso ramen at Itadaki Zen
At vegan Japanese joint Itadaki Zen in King’s Cross, the miso ramen soup base is stewed with shiitake mushrooms and kombu seaweed. This helps create a thick, creamy, umami soup that complements the medium-thin ramen noodles that soak up all the flavour. The dish is finished with a generous sprinkling of yasai (vegetable) toppings: stir-fried veg, sweetcorn and spring onions. Slurp up the good stuff.
139 King’s Cross Rd, WC1X 9BJ. £9.
Vegan wontons at Tofu Vegan
The much-loved Xi’an Impression Chinese restaurant opposite Arsenal stadium has opened a plant-based place on Upper Street called Tofu Vegan. There you can dive face first into an inviting bowl of fat and juicy wrinkly wonton dumplings, filled with diced crunchy vegetables, wood-ear mushrooms and vegan mince. They come steeped in a spicy, fiery red, deeply flavoured broth that’s guaranteed to set your tongue alight.
105 Upper St, N1 1QN. £8.20.
Eden platter at Eat of Eden
At all six of its branches (Brixton, Clapham, Shepherd’s Bush, Croydon, Walthamstow and Lewisham), Eat of Eden serves up nutritious and tasty plant-based Caribbean-inspired food. Think: comforting curries, burgers and patties loaded with veg. First timers can try a bit of everything with the Eden platter, choosing seven items from a line-up that includes ackee, plantain, callaloo, macaroni pie, salads, dumplings, curries, stews, fritters and more. A taste of heaven. Or, indeed, a taste of Eden.
Various locations. £16.95.
Bánh xèo at Sen Viet
Bánh xèo is a thin, savoury, fried pancake from Southern Vietnam that looks like a giant stuffed omelette – but there’s no egg, or any animal products, involved in making it, although it’s traditionally eaten with a pork or prawn filling. The version at vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant Sen Viet in Hoxton contains a mountain of tofu, beansprouts, onion, mung beans and mushrooms instead, all nestled in a crisp pancake made from turmeric, coconut milk and rice flour. The best way to eat it is to cut each one into small portions, wrap in a lettuce leaf with fresh herbs, dip in homemade soy sauce and tuck in.
120 Kingsland Rd, E2 8DP. £9.90.
Vegetable momos at Fatt Pundit
This January, Indo-Chinese restaurant Fatt Pundit has created a dedicated vegan menu featuring plant-based versions of popular dishes. Its hearty, flavoursome and colourful momo dumplings come in steel steamers and are a sight to behold, with their tiny wheat wrappers pleated to perfection. These plump parcels contain a spinach, mushroom, courgette and tofu filling that packs a punch, and are served with a selection of spicy chutneys.
77 Berwick St, W1F 8TH and 6 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7NA. £5.50.
Crispy sesame ‘prawn’ toast at Mao Chow Express
Prawn toast, that classic Chinese takeaway dish, holds a special place in many people’s hearts, but what if we told you that you can take the prawn out of it? At Mao Chow Express in Boxpark Shoreditch, chefs have been experimenting with flavours and textures to create a bold dish using OmniPork, vegan shrimp and toasted nori powder, mixed together with spices and vegan mayonnaise. The resulting deep-fried wonders are crisp, golden brown and loaded with sesame seeds. This is prawn toast, but not as you know it.
Unit 56 Boxpark, 2-10 Bethnal Green Rd, E1 6GY. £6.50.
Chocolate hazelnut financier at Mallow
The team behind vegetarian institution Mildreds has expanded its offering and opened vegan restaurant Mallow in Borough Market. Everything on the menu is enticing, but it’s the desserts that are making waves. Typically, a chocolate financier is made with brown butter and eggs, but this pud manages to boast an indulgent sponge and explode with chocolate flavour without the help of those classic baking ingredients. It’s served with salty, crunchy hazelnuts to balance everything out. Properly transcendent stuff.
1 Cathedral St, SE1 9DE. £7.
The Vegan Dom 2.0 at Dom’s Subs
There are sandwiches and then there are Dom’s Subs. The cult outfit has been quietly knocking out some of the finest sandwiches in the capital, and this carefully crafted vegan masterpiece is no different. The Vegan Dom 2.0 boasts colourful layers and contrasting textures. It’s made up of roasted aubergine marinated in chilli, ginger and garlic, a green bean salad, beansprouts, mint, Thai basil, coriander and salted black beans, all drenched in vegan mayonnaise and a spicy prik tum vinegar dressing, topped with roasted cashews and packed into a semolina sub roll that’s baked in-house. Good luck trying to eat one without dislocating your jaw.
262 Hackney Rd, E2 7SJ and 22b Bevis Marks, EC3A 7JB. £8.
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