London’s best vegan restaurants
A plant-based diet needn’t just be for Veganuary
Veganism is no longer a fringe culinary requirement. Plant-based menus have become increasingly mainstream across the UK over the past few years, with everyone from high street favourites Greggs to Michelin star chefs getting on board.
Once seen as a “fad”, veganism has had a “radical image overhaul”, said The Observer’s Andrew Anthony. Long-touted by environmentalists as a planet-positive lifestyle choice, in 2020 the World Health Organisation gave veganism its stamp of approval by recommending a plant-based diet for a healthier lifestyle.
And while thousands of people take part in Veganuary, cutting down on your meat intake throughout the rest of the year may prove a little trickier once the new year’s shine wears off. From fine dining to quick eats, these London top spots have you covered.
The Spread Eagle, Homerton
There’s a pub for every whim and want of London residents – and The Spread Eagle is the first to cater a fully-vegan menu year-round. The seasonal, minimal waste kitchen works with foragers and local producers to create its diverse menu, which even includes Sunday roasts. Beet Wellington, anyone? This month, there will be seasonal specials too, including Korean crispy fried chicken of the woods mushrooms and beyond patty burgers, and non-alcoholic tipples like Sober Sue and Espresso Martini-less to please the Dry January participants. The house cocktail menu will still be on offer, of course, with plant-based alternatives to non-vegan ingredients. Never has Aquafaba looked as appealing as in a Spread Eagle sour…
224 Homerton High Street, E9 6AS; thespreadeaglelondon.co.uk
222 Veggie Vegan, West Kensington
This “small, beloved restaurant” has been making waves in West Kensington since 2004, the London Evening Standard said. Locals and diners from further afield head to North End Road for its all-you-can-eat lunchtime offering and a la carte evening menu, all made from fresh natural ingredients. Whether you’re new to vegan food or a plant-based pro, chef Ben Asamani is on-hand to chat through any questions about his wide-ranging menu. Popular dishes include the seitan stroganoff and the oyster mushroom raclette, while the spice island pie with cinnamon-flavoured cashew cream will please those with a sweet tooth.
222 North End Road, West Kensington, W14 9NU; 222vegan.com
Mildreds, locations across London
Mildreds is nothing less than an “institution”, said Time Out. With a reputation for “pioneering vegetarian cooking”, the restaurant “changed the game for meat-free eating in London”, with six “cosy” branches across the capital. Brunch is no small-feat at Mildreds, with mezzes, thalis and home-comfort favourites like cheezy bean toast, all to be washed down with mimosas or bloody mary’s, of course. The main menu features a delicious range of flavours from across the world, with starters like gyoza and marsala cauliflower and mushroom tacos preceding the main events; South Korean Bokkeumbap to Turkish Mercimek Kofte are just two. The restaurant chain has also opened the doors of Mallow, a new addition to Borough Market’s food scene, serving fresh and seasonal produce sourced direct from the traders.
Locations in Soho, Camden, King’s Cross, Dalston, Borough Market and Covent Garden; mildreds.co.uk
The Gate, locations across London
This much-loved restaurant has been catering to Londoners for more than 30 years. With an emphasis on sustainably, locally-sourced produce and healthy eating, it’s favoured by vegetarians and vegans as a go-to destination for great food. The a la carte menu features jackfruit tostada, avocado and beetroot tartare and truffle and mushroom arancini among the starters, while aubergine schnitzel, green dragon salad and red thai curry star in the mains. A vegan tiramisu (yes, you read that right), sticky toffee pudding and chocolate and orange mousse will round off a plant-based feast too. If you know a fellow diner who’s sceptical about vegan cuisine, “get them post-haste to The Gate”, said Country & Town House.
Hammersmith, Islington, Marylebone, St John’s Wood; thegaterestaurants.com
Plants by de
Ella Mills has been the “poster girl for plant-based eating for almost a decade”, said Tatler, so it’s no surprise that her first restaurant makes the list of London’s vegan top spots. Plants by de stands on the site of Mills’ former deli in Mayfair, which shuttered during the pandemic. Now, “she’s back with a bang”, said Tatler – and with “far more than a bowl of hummus and some crudites”, said The Times. “Standout dishes” include miso and cashew mac and cheese, aubergine with candied nut crust and a mushroom and walnut ragu. King oyster mushroom scallops, seasonal risottos and a moreish spiced pear chutney crumble with vanilla custard feature too.
18 Weighhouse St, London W1K 5LU; deliciouslyella.com/plants
This east London favourite is “entirely, robustly, exuberantly vegetarian”, said The Guardian’s Jay Rayner, and, for the most part, vegan too. Serving Middle Eastern fare, this eatery opened in 2019 and has continued to serve locked-down Londoners with home delivery kits. With its doors once again open, diners can now indulge in a vegan set menu they won’t have to prepare (or wash up) themselves. At a reasonably-priced £35 per person, sample laffa bread, falafel, celiac msakhan and fried aubergine among other delights on the “Bubala Knows Best” vegan menu. Add a plum sour or spicy margarita, and finish with coconut and tahini fudge. “This Spitalfields gem… will persuade any meat lover to leave their carnivorous inclinations at the door”, said Country & Town House. Rayner even described Bubala as “close to perfect”.
65 Commercial Street, E1 6BD; bubala.co.uk
Flat Three, Holland Park
A Holland Park hidden gem, Flat Three boasts one of London’s finest vegan tasting menus. The restaurant isn’t just for vegetarians and vegans, it serves meat and fish dishes too, each of which blends Japanese and Nordic cuisines to devastatingly delicious effect. The five-course vegan tasting menu combines seasonal vegetables with Asian ingredients and techniques – to create a salt baked celeriac and black kombu mole, for example – and the result is tasty, satisfying and healthy.
120-122 Holland Park Avenue, W11 4UA; flatthree.london
Gauthier Soho, Soho
The winner of a kitchen full of gongs, Gauthier Soho has a vegan tasting menu that includes a number of eye-catching options. The chef, Alexis Gauthier, has vegan history. He was cooking plant-based menus long before they were trendy – his first was back in 1997 at his restaurant Roussillon. At his Soho venue, the menu is proudly free from animal products, and features show-stoppers like kelp, charcoal and buckwheat caviar, tender braised cardoon, and roasted pineapple for dessert. Book now for Valentine’s, or get in quick to order the vegan box, a selection of eight carefully-prepared dishes delivered to your home with enough food to feed four.
21 Romilly Street, W1D 5AF; gauthiersoho.co.uk
Pollen Street Social, Mayfair
Jason Atherton’s Pollen Street Social places the priority on sourcing the best British ingredients, which extends right down to its plant-based produce. Its comprehensive offering includes a la carte and four-course tasting menus in both vegan and vegetarian options that are as wide-ranging and creative as meat-based dishes. Pembrokeshire beetroot is transformed into a “tartare” served with sourdough toast, aubergine is elevated with umami-packed miso, and dairy-free desserts don’t disappoint with a sea buckthorn sorbet and decadent chocolate and pear pairing.
8-10 Pollen Street, W1S 1NQ; pollenstreetsocial.com
Tofu Vegan, Islington
Xi’an Impression is a much-loved Chinese restaurant and takeaway in north London, so it’s no wonder its more recently opened establishment, Tofu Vegan, is similarly proving a hit with locals. The entire menu is plant-based, with imitation meats, mushrooms and tofu taking centre-stage. The team of chefs bring expertise from both the southern and northeastern regions of China, resulting in a menu that spans regional flavours. Diners can enjoy favourites like dim sum and wonton soup, as well as vegan versions of big hitters such as gong bao chicken and twice-cooked fish, and even Peking duck. This popular spot has quickly grown a reputation, so be sure to book ahead to avoid disappointment.
105 Upper Street, N1 1QN; tofuvega.com
The Vurger Co, Shoreditch
Sometimes some indulgent comfort food is the only thing that will hit the spot. The Vurger Co delicacy is meat-free burgers, which they’ve been serving up for more than five years. It’s made a home for itself in Canary Wharf and Shoreditch, and you’ll also find the restaurant in Brighton too. From the Classic to the New York Melt, made with a Beyond Meat patty, each burger offering is packed with flavour. As you’d hope from any fast-food restaurant, the side selection is extensive too. There are fries aplenty, as well as tater tots and mac and cheese. And, if you have space for it, a cream-topped shake will round off the meal too. The Vurger Co’s vegan mayos and cheezy sauce are also available to buy separately through its online shop and Ocado.
Unit 9, Avant Garde Building, 6 Richmix Square, E1 6LD; thevurgerco.com
Mao Chow, Hackney
Julian Denis and Harry Fox are on a mission to prove that vegan food isn’t boring. Mao Chow in London Fields – and the newly-opened Mao Chow Express in Shoreditch – serve up completely vegan takeaway favourites which pack a punch. At the Express branch, Char Siu Bao delivers the sweet and sticky Cantonese sauce you’d hope for, but with a plant-based alternative to the typical pork tenderloin. “Prawn” toast and “beef jerky” fried rice are similarly tempting. In the cosy London Fields establishment, tuck into smacked cucumber, chongqing cauliflower and wanza noodles. With an interest in fermented flavours, Fox even makes Mao Chow’s soy sauce and douchi.
159a Mare Street, E8 3RH; mao-chow.com
Purezza launched as the UK’s first vegan pizzeria in Brighton in 2015, and has since made a name for itself in Bristol, Manchester and London too. The team has previously been awarded National Pizza of the Year, so diners can be sure they’re in for a treat. Purezza has its own range of unique vegan cheeses, with the team pioneering a type of mozzarella “derived from brown rice using a jealously guarded technique”, said City AM. All the classics are on the menu, as well as creations sure to tempt the trendiest of eaters; from black truffle bases to pulled porketta. Lasagne and cheesesteak calzone also feature. The menu is also 95% gluten-free, so those with additional dietary requirements can have their full pick of the dishes on offer.
45-47 Parkway, NW1 7PN; purezza.com
Sutton and Sons, Hackney
This family run fish shop is an east end favourite, and each of its three branches offers a vegan menu. Could it be “even better than the real thing”, asked Londonist? Banana blossom is transformed into “fish” with a marinade of seaweed, samphire – and of course, crispy batter, but there’s also battered sausage, “scampi” and “calamari” on offer too. “For vegans and non-vegans alike, this clever little place is worth a visit”, said local news site Hackney Citizen.
Stoke Newington, Essex Road; suttonandsons.co.uk