Six of the best vegan restaurants in London
Cool, breezy and daringly cosmopolitan, no wonder vegan restaurants are taking over the capital
Spring has finally fallen upon the UK, and what better way to celebrate the end of a long, chilly winter than by sampling some of the finest vegan food in London?
From risottos to curries to pancakes, the vegan options available in the capital are expanding by the day, so why not try one of them?
Here are six of the best:
The subject of a crowdfunding campaign to save it from imminent closure at the end of 2017, the quirky Bonnington Cafe in the backstreets of Vauxhall is a veteran of the London vegan scene.
Operating as a co-operative since the early 1980s, this small, unassuming eco-eatery never changes its prices, with starters and desserts at £3, and main courses at £8. No two menus are ever the same from day to day; different people cook every night, each with their own specialities and eccentricities. Furthermore, it has a BYOB policy with no corkage charge.
Dinner at the Bonnington Cafe isn't simply a matter of turning up and grabbing a table, however - guests have to contact the restaurant in advance to check if there is space. But if you get your invitation, be prepared for anything from south Indian lentil curries to Italian wholewheat pasta dishes.
For down-to-earth vegans disillusioned with the recent proliferation of overly fussy hipster haunts, this charming, no-nonsense - and ultimately rather peculiar - little cafe is one of a kind.
222 Veggie Vegan
222 Veggie Vegan is making waves in West Kensington for its all-you-can-eat offerings and fresh natural ingredients. It has even been given the seal of approval from the vegan directory Vegan London as the best vegan buffet in the capital. For those wanting something a little more traditional, patrons can sit down to a tasty vegan roast or an excellent oyster mushroom and spinach raclette. Buzzfeed recommends the "delicious" seitan stroganoff: "a mix of seitan strips, caramelised onions, fresh herbs, and pepper cubes in cashew cream".
Located near Oxford Street underground, Ethos plies its trade in quirky meat-free, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free cooking. The restaurant uses a system of "pay-by-weight", meaning customers can construct their perfect meal from a host of different cuisines. "Slick service, refreshed bowls of colourful food, innovative desserts and the most jovial of hosts" as Olive Magazine writes, are just some of the reasons this vegan buffet set-up is the perfect antidote to a stressful day's shopping in the West End.
With two locations in Notting Hill and Shoreditch, Redemption Bar's slogan of "spoil yourself without spoiling yourself" seems to have captured the public imagination. Serving up "sugar-free, wheat-free, vegan dishes" and alcohol-free cocktails, Redemption Bar takes healthy eating to an intriguing yet palatable extreme. The place opened in 2013 to a wave of interest from those looking to satisfy their meat-free cravings in a cool way. "If we hadn't polished off every morsel of our beetroot-and-barley risotto, and raw courgette spaghetti with walnut-and-sesame pesto, we might have left room for pudding," writes TimeOut.
Vegan Hippo's ethos is not simply based on healthy eating or current trends. Instead this delightful Soho cafe asks its customers to think about the wider world. In its own words the place is "dedicated to promoting animal rights and improving animal welfare by showing the world how delicious a vegan lifestyle can be". Vegan Hippo's fare includes, among other things, a full English breakfast, hot dogs and wraps all suitable for vegans. PlantShift says these will leave you "feeling satisfied, spoilt and grateful".
Wild Food Cafe
A vibrant light wood interior and a gorgeous location in Neal's Yard near Covent Garden makes the raw-centric Wild Food Cafe one of London's finest vegan-friendly establishments, and that's before we even get to the food. Wild Food's menu is broad enough to accommodate most of your vegan needs, with the London Evening Standard listing the Thai Tiger veggie noodle soup as a highlight. Also worth trying is the Samurai Burger, a tangy mix of shiitake mushrooms, umeboshi, kimchi, chickpea tofu, teriyaki sauce, wasabi guacamole and aubergine.