Steak and kidney pie, jellied eels, roast beef, fish and chips – England probably isn't the first place coming to mind when you think about vegetarian or vegan food. But London's a massive, cosmopolitan city catering to all tastes and dietary restrictions. And for an island as green as Britain, you can be sure a delicious range of locally and sustainably sourced fruit and veggies can most certainly be found here.
Whether you're a staunch vegan, looking to de-tox after the excesses of the holiday season or just interested in eating some inventive and healthy cuisine, here's a quick list of just a few of the standouts from London's impressively bountiful vegan-friendly restaurant scene. Check out www.veganlondon.co.uk for thorough listings of vegan-friendly places worth your time the next time you book flights to London and visit.
152-154 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, EC2A 3AT and at Whole Foods Market, 63 Kensington High Street, W8 5SE
“Simply authentic food” is available at this upscale and attractive raw plant-based restaurant in the heart of trendy Shoreditch. Saf has a cafe in the food court of the South Kensington Whole Foods Market as well. Even the most carnivorous of meat eaters have to give it up for the amazing thought that goes into the look and flavour of Saf's dishes and drinks. And unlike so many fine dining experiences, you can actually leave Saf feeling lighter and more energetic as opposed to bogged down and stuffed.
76 Clarence Road, Hackney, London, E5 8HB
Punk rock spirit sets the guiding principles behind Pogo Cafe, a vegan cafe in the east London neighborhood of Clapton that's “organized as a workers' co-operative that mixes food with music, art, books and information.” Who knew anarchy in the UK could be so healthy and delicious?
96 Berwick Street, London W1F 0QQ
About halfway down Soho’s bustling Berwick Street is a relative oasis of salubrious calm, the Beatroot Vegetarian Café. An appetizing and healthy array of vegan salads, hot food, smoothies and juices are prepared with natural ingredients and served cafeteria-style to the delight of health-conscious and ethically aware consumers, not to mention everyone else simply interested in a delicious ready-to-go meal sold at a commendable price.
44 Cloth Fair, Clerkenwell, London, EC1 7JQ
A relative newcomer to town, Amico Bio is London's first and only organic Italian vegetarian restaurant and features plenty of clearly marked vegan dishes on its menu. Momma mia!
Photo: Chris Osburn