Eat your greens: the UK’s best vegetarian and vegan menus
Plant-based dining is more popular than ever
According to a study by Finder.com 12 million Brits will be meat-free by the end of the year.
If these people follow through with their plans, around one in ten (11%) will be following a vegetarian diet, 7% will follow a pescatarian diet and 4% will be following a vegan diet.
The rise in popularity for vegan and vegetarian diets has seen a number of restaurants open across the country. Here we pick out some of the best places offering a plant-based menu.
Purezza is both Brighton’s and the UK’s first plant-based pizzeria and a must-visit for all pizza lovers, vegan or non-vegan. Recipient of the top prize at the 2019 World Pizza Championships held in Italy and the winner of the UK’s national pizza of the year in 2018, the restaurant has forged a unique path for itself by making entirely meatless, cheeseless pizza. Purezza creates its very own vegan cheeses from scratch, including vegan mozzarella and parmesan, as well as vegan sausages and a Mac & Cheese side.
12 St James’s Street, Brighton, BN2 1RE; purezza.co.uk
The Allotment Vegan Eatery, Manchester
The Allotment started out life in Stockport, but after initial success it was relocated to Manchester. There the restaurant has gone from strength to strength, receiving The Sunday Times vegetarian restaurant of the year in 2018 as well as being included in the top 50 vegan restaurants in the world this year. The inside is decked out with garden equipment and lined with produce, both fresh and preserved. The kitchen offers an array of innovative dishes and a ten-course tasting menu is also available.
18/22 Lloyd Street, Manchester, M2 5WA; allotmentvegan.co.uk
The Punter Pub, Oxford
This pub has recently relaunched serving local, seasonal vegetarian and vegan food. The Oxford Mail’s Pete Hughes reviewed The Punter and was impressed by the menu. Hughes wrote: “When someone says ‘vegetarian restaurant’ to me, it conjures images of huge bowls of under-seasoned salads and vegetables and unimaginative dishes by worthy and dull restaurateurs who are more interested in boasting about their ethical and environmental credentials than making good food - the ultimate humble brag of the culinary world. Clearly, Punter chef Max Cooper never got the memo: no one ever told him how boring vegetarian food is supposed to be, so he’s just used his genius to devise an absolutely delicious menu.”
7 South Street, Osney Island, Oxford, OX2 0BE; thepunteroxford.co.uk
Flat Three, London
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 seven-course vegan tasting menu combines seasonal vegetables with Asian ingredients and techniques – to create a spring green oshitashi salad or French onion dashi, for example – and the result is tasty, satisfying and healthy. The highlights when we visited were Flat Three’s vegan, Asian version of a spaghetti Bolognese full of irresistible umami flavours crafted from fabulously chewy linseed noodles, king cabbage and gochujang chilli paste, and the refreshing and delicious tofu sorbet with pomegranate for dessert (the non-vegan version is served with wood ants, if you’re feeling adventurous).
120-122 Holland Park Avenue, London, W11 4UA; flatthree.london
Gauthier Soho, London (reopening 2 September)
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 he offers guests the chance to order a “duet”, where one guest can order the classic menu and the other can take the vegan menu. Perfect for friends or couples who fall on different sides of the fence.
21 Romilly Street, London, W1D 5AF; www.gauthiersoho.co.uk
Pollen Street Social, London
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, six-course and longer 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, Mayfair, London W1S 1NQ; pollenstreetsocial.com
It’s little surprise that plants play such a starring role at the Michelin-starred Northcote in Blackburn, with chef patron Nigel Haworth among the first in the UK to embrace biodynamic gardening. The resulting produce truly shines on the seven-course tasting menu, using everything from thyme flowers and other flora to showcasing root vegetables to their upmost. The British staple of baked potato is given an upgrade with wild garlic and homemade sour cream, while strong flavours of juniper fern-cured fennel, wasabi and pickled radish are expertly combined and the meal comes to a close with a refined take on a homely favourite, the lemon meringue pie.
Northcote Road, Langho, Blackburn, Lancashire BB6 8BE; northcote.com
La Dame De Pic, London
Michelin-starred chef Anne-Sophie Pic brought her inventive take on French cuisine to the Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square, and vegetables play a key role across much of the menu. The best way to experience her deft touch with such ingredients, however, is to opt for the dedicated six-course tasting menu. Here, her love of unusual flavour combinations comes through: heirloom carrots are infused with pine-tree buds and geranium rosa, while asparagus is paired with Pastis, anise, liquorice and lemon verbena ice cream.
Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, London, EC3N 4AJ; ladamedepiclondon.co.uk
The Bath Priory, Bath
The Michelin-starred restaurant at the grand Bath Priory takes its vegetarian cuisine seriously, offering both an a la carte menu and a seven-course tasting option. The latter features dishes such as herb gnocchi with seasonal vegetables and delicate cappalletti with wild mushroom and pecorino, locally sourced Kelston Park cheese served with tangy pickled cucumber and kohlrabi and decadent desserts that include a salted caramel fondant with butterscotch and banana sorbet.
Weston Road, Bath, BA1 2XT; thebathpriory.co.uk. Image David Griffen Photography.