There's only one foodie trend more worthy than veganism, and that's raw foodism. Being a gourmand's ground zero, London has its fair share of cool joints keeping things below 42°C (that's the cut-off between raw and not raw, so you know). From kohlrabi rice and cashew cheese to healthy super-food salads and cold-pressed juices, this is London's best (non)cooking. One of them's even on our list of the city's 100 best restaurants.
Want things a little warmer? Try our list of London's best vegan dishes.
Owned by well-connected glamour puss Camilla Al-Fayed (of Harrods fame), Farmacy sells ‘clean eating’ to an eager audience of moneyed Notting Hillbillies and aspirational hedge-fund wives. It’s a happy, joyful, ‘free-from’ kind of place – no dairy, no sugars, no additives, no meat, with lots of raw stuff lurking in its signature ‘earth bowls’. Judging by the ridiculously glossy good looks of most of the customers, the idea seems to work.
Billed as ‘east London’s answer to delicious wellbeing’, this all-day café-cum-wine bar in Bethnal Green champions holistic dining, biodynamic drinking and organic ideology without over-egging the eco issues. The menu’s largely vegetarian and vegan, but poke around and you’ll find plenty of raw stuff, from superfood salads to cashew and pistachio brownies, and raw pizza bites – great with a cocktail or a cold-pressed juice (if you’re detoxing).
A slender sunshine strip of a restaurant promoting guilt-free ‘clean eating’ within the swanky surrounds of The Ned hotel/club complex, Malibu Kitchen feels like a slice of California in the City. The menu favours veggie and vegan over meat and fish – although there’s something for everyone, including fans of raw food. Vegetable and mango rolls with spicy nuts, poké bowls and zesty colourful salads all fit the bill. For that full-on LA trip, wash it all down with some lip-smacking green juice.
It's 1967. Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Ravi Shankar are spreading love, peace and good vibrations at Monterey; meanwhile, a modest veggie restaurant is taking its first steps in Primrose Hill, England. Fifty years on, Manna is now vegan as well as veggie, with a host of raw goodies on its bountiful menu: check out the lettuce-leaf tacos, the maki rolls, the rainbow panzanella and desserts such as the raw chocolate orange timbale.
The staff may be way too cool for tree hugging, but this purveyor of frighteningly good ‘artisan raw foods’ has soul and warmth – despite the fact that everything on the menu is uncooked and worthily unrefined. Sushi comes with ‘rice’ fashioned from grated kohlrabi, the lasagne involves cultured cashew ‘cheese’ and don’t even ask us about the ‘pizzas’. It’s all played out against an austere white-walled backdrop that’s more art gallery than restaurant. RAW ONLY
Say amen to raw food at this Fitzrovia eatery – a zany, zealous evangelist preaching vegan virtues and more besides. We reckon the Lebanese mezze boxes are a standout, although we’re also happy to praise the artfully garnished sushi, the Thai-style slaw and wondrous desserts such as a caramel shortcake fashioned from buckwheat, almond butter and mucuna. Drinks are, naturally, true to the cause. RAW ONLY
A seriously healthy spot specialising in cold-press juices and organic coffees, although it also serves up a menu of protein-packed açai bowls with all the toppings, plus ‘super porridge’, raw vegan salads (‘quinoa bliss’, anyone?), chia-seed riffs, soups and snacks. You also can get CPress’s nutri-kicks at branches of Triyoga in Chelsea, Ealing and Shoreditch.
A seriously healthy spot specialising in cold-press juices and organic coffees, although they also serve up a menu of protein-packed açai bowls with all the toppings, plus ‘super porridge’, raw vegan salads (‘quinoa bliss’, anyone?), chia-seed riffs, soups and snacks. You also can get CPress’s nutri-kicks at branches of Triyoga in Chelsea, Ealing and Shoreditch.
Plant-based ‘fuel for life’ meets high-end minimalism at Essence Cuisine – an all-day raw food specialist that chimes perfectly with trend-hungry Shoreditch. Breakfast means golden quinoa porridge, coconut parfait with cacao granola or raw pancakes with candied walnuts, while chilled Essence bowls, cauliflower harissa and raw pad thai are savoury highlights later on. Drinks include own-brand ‘Intense’ juices and nut milks. RAW ONLY
Yugoslav chef Peter Ilic (of Little Bay fame) slipped his own moniker into Foodilic – a health-promoting venture that started out in Brighton and is now peddling its organic and vegan wares a short stroll from King’s Cross station. Raw salads and raw cakes catch the eye and it even serves kombucha ‘raw tea’ alongside cooked breakfasts and dishes from the global melting pot.
Raw and cooked sit side by side on the menu at Paradise Unbakery – a healthy all-vegan café bang in the middle of Kensal Rise. If ’uncooked’ is your bag, then home in on the pizzas, lasagne, ‘wild wraps’ and soups – as well as the protein-packed salads bowls. They sell raw vegan cakes and other sweet things too, and you can even do breakfast ‘in the raw’, so to speak.
Say amen to raw food at this Balham offshoot of the enlightened Rawligion – a zany, zealous preacher of vegan virtues and more besides. We reckon the Lebanese mezze boxes are a standout, although we’re also happy to praise the artfully garnished sushi, the Thai-style slaw and wondrous desserts such as a caramel shortcake fashioned from buckwheat, almond butter and mucuna. Drinks are, naturally, true to the cause. RAW ONLY
‘Take pride in your salads’ is the message at this vegan café, which seems right at home among the foodie artisans of Neal’s Yard. It’s cute, it’s rustic and it serves up a vitamin-packed assortment of vibrant Instagrammable collations fashioned from organic ingredients. ‘Raw’ also rules when it comes to juices and super-smoothies – although you must try the beetroot latte. Handy for pick-and-go lunches. RAW ONLY
Occupying a new space on the renovated ground floor of the Myhotel, Tanya Maher’s squeaky-clean café offers succour and sustenance to the looks-conscious Chelsea set. Fully raw, vegan and organic, the menu is all about ‘adventure salad bowls’, ‘medicinal mushroom latte’, dehydrated corn chips, kelp noodles, cold-pressed juices and nut milks. You can even get superfood cocktails later in the day. RAW ONLY
As you’d guess from the name, this dinky first-floor café throws in its lot with the foraging brigade, leavening its menus with sacks of wild greens, fungi and other pickings from ‘pristine eco systems’. On the plate, WFC’s organic, veggie and vegan offerings are pretty decent, with enough raw stuff to satisfy the zealots – check out the ‘carpe diem’ carpaccio (squash, beetroot etc) and the ‘autumn goddess’ bowl spiked with kimchi.