From plant-based pub fare and ‘bleeding burgers’ to veggie treats so virtuous they’ll absolve you of all sin, veganism took root in London this year in a big way. Here’s how it happened...
January: London’s first fully vegan pub opened (above)
Meat-dodgers were blessed with the opening of The Spread Eagle. Homerton’s entirely vegan pub was conceived by the founder of street food fave Club Mexicana (hello, jackfruit tacos!).
February: A Brick Lane institution got a vegan curry menu
City Spice (probably the finest Indian resto on the street) answered the cruelty-free call with aubergine dhal, slow-cooked okra and a full vegan wine list.
March: Crosstown launched a vegan doughnut shop in Marylebone (above)
The holy grail of vegan dining is going somewhere where you can eat anything on the menu. That’s especially the case when that menu is made up of doughnuts, like this lemon and thyme one.
April: Camden became home to London’s first vegan diner
People used to think that vegans subsisted on salad. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, they’re massively into Philly cheesesteaks and buffalo wings; just look at the popularity of Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner in the Stables Market.
May: Lucy from ‘Made in Chelsea’ opened a vegan bar and kitchen that runs yoga classes
Okay, so despite what we just said, some vegans are devoted to ‘clean eating’. And yoga. One such vegan is side-eye queen Lucy Watson, who launched restaurant/yoga studio Tell Your Friends on New King’s Road.
July: Honest Burgers started serving the Beyond Meat burger (above)
Beefeaters? Pah! We’d prefer to chow down on some plant protein, thanks. After a hugely successful trial run at Honest Burgers in King’s Cross in July, these juicy, terrifyingly dead-cow-like patties, created in the US, found their way into Tesco by November.
September: Spitalfields got a super-organic restaurant
Rejecting meat: cool. Calling your organic and GMO-free comfort food joint a ‘plant-based alchemy restaurant concept’: a bit wanky. But we forgive Genesis because we’d smash their smoked ‘chorizo’ taco and super-creamy mac and cheese any damn day of the week.
October: CookDaily reopened in Hackney (above)
World Vegan Day miracles really do exist. On the eve of the holiest of days for those who prefer peppers over pork, CookDaily founder King Cook (and one of London’s OG vegan champions) reopened his much-loved restaurant in Hackney after closing his digs in Croydon and Shoreditch.
Sutton and Sons unveiled a fully vegan chip shop
London’s food scene is home to more meat substitutes than you can shake a ‘cheeze’ stick at – but the rarest breed of the fake flesh scene is definitely seafood. It’s not easy to get phoney fish right, but that’s exactly what Sutton and Sons achieved in its Hackney chip shop.
November and December: London decked the halls with vegan Christmas markets
Hail seitan! We thought that festive vegan markets had reached their apex in 2017. How wrong we were. The much-loved Hackney Downs Vegan Market embraced the Yuletide joy this year, Animal Aid hosted a cruelty-free celebration, and the very first Zero Waste Market shunned all animal products. No-Egg-Nogs all round!
Read our full list of ways London changed in 2018