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London Life

London’ best vegan restaurants

This Veganuary, we’re looking beyond fake meat to celebrate the wide array of vegan food on offer across the capital, from sweet pastries and Ethiopian injera, to fake sushi and Chinese takeaway. London local and passionate vegan Serena Lee rounds up her top ten places to grab a plant-based bite…


01/01/2022

‘The One with all the Seasons’ pizza, with artichokes, olives, mushrooms and beetroot

Purezza

Where: 45-47 Parkway, London NW1 7PN

This unassuming vegan pizzeria has won awards at the World Pizza Championships, PizzAward in Naples, and more – all up against traditional, non-vegan pizzas. And while its wood-fired, sourdough pizzas are truly delicious, Purezza also offers a range of tasty Italian vegan fare including lasagne and calzone, making it a desirable pitstop for hungry plant-based foodies. It has locations in Brighton and London, and the latter is a just short walk from Regent’s Park, so in the summer it’s perfect for grabbing a takeaway, wandering up to the park with friends and enjoying one of London’s most beautiful green spaces.

Visit Purezza

Crosstown’s chocolate truffle ring doughnuts

Crosstown

Where: 35 Piccadilly, London W1J 0DW (Multiple store locations and market stalls on weekends)

Vegan doughnuts are a dime a dozen in London these days, but Crosstown’s are firm favourites. While its range isn’t entirely vegan, it has a fantastic grip on what makes a good vegan doughnut without compromising on flavour or quality. What’s more, it often releases limited-edition flavours to mark special events in the calendar – so keep an eye out for those. Otherwise, its long-standing chocolate truffle is always a reliable option as is the lime and coconut, which has the perfect balance of a creamy filling with zesty icing. Don’t be put off by the price (£4.50 a pop) – they really are worth it.

Visit Crosstown

Rainbow cake and other delights at Vida

Vida Bakery

Where: 139 Brick Lane, London E1 6SB

Vida Bakery is highly recommended for custom vegan birthday cakes, but it also serves the vegan community daily as a sweet treat paradise offering cupcakes, rainbow cake slices, cookies, hot drinks, and more. It’s a dairy-, egg- and gluten-free café founded by the talented Dani and Vane, who helped to launch what we know as London’s vegan scene today. Stop by if you’re visiting Shoreditch – Vida is on Brick Lane and is hard to miss with its colourful window displays.

Visit Vida

The Neat Meat double ‘Big Stack’

Neat Burger  

Where: 4 Princes Street, London W1B 2LE, plus multiple locations across Central London

There are so many of vegan-friendly burgers outlets across London now that’s it hard to narrow down the best of the bunch, but a favourite is Neat Burger. Backed by sporting superstar Sir Lewis Hamilton, Neat Burger aims to bring vegan fast food to the masses (and doesn’t leave you feeling stuck to the couch afterwards like many fast-food eateries do). With six branches already up and running in London, the chain aims to open an additional 16 in 2022, with hopes of cementing its place as a household name for quick and easy vegan fast food. Burgers, fries, hot dogs, shakes and nuggets – as well as lighter ‘burger bowls’ – are all on offer. Remember to add tater tots to your order, too. They’re irresistible.

Visit Neat Burger

The ‘Red Yuzu’ bowl includes watermelon sashimi, pineapple and wakame seaweed 

123V

Where: Fenwick, 63 New Bond Street, London W1S 1RQ

Upmarket department store Fenwick hides a secret in its basement: the recently launched, 100 per cent vegan casual dining restaurant, 123V. Chef Alexis Gauthier has concocted an expansive menu that offers not only plant-based staples including falafel salads, rice bowls and vegan burgers and quesadillas, but also the most impressive array of vegan sushi in the capital. ‘V-tuna nigiri’ is made of succulent watermelon while the ‘V-salmon nigiri’ is based on compressed carrot. The ‘V-prawn tempura’ is also an absolute must – try them all with a grand sushi set, worth every penny of the £23 price tag. The whole concept is health-focused – think vibrant colours and nourishing, hearty meals. It even boasts a vegan wine and cocktail list, so it’s the perfect refuelling point after a spot of shopping in one of London’s most-loved locations.

Visit 123V

Mother Works’ braised hispi cabbage and harissa cassoulet

Mother Works

Where: 1 Canalside Here East Estate, London E20 3BS

Mother Works is a local gem. Stroll alongside the canal through Hackney Wick to Here East, a media campus by the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, to find this unassuming café, which serves some of East London’s best healthy food. Go for its açaí bowl (adding a generous portion of peanut butter), a smoothie and its seasonal special – most recently a green shakshuka sabzi with tofu and cultured cashew cheese.

Visit Mother Works

Vantra’s raw cacao brownies

Vantra

Where: 5 Wardour Street, Soho, London W1D 6PB

Opened in 1999, Vantra was a pioneering fully vegan eatery in London. Its food has remained consistently high quality in both nutritional value and in flavour, and it’s still a popular London location. Dishes are served buffet-style (opening image) and all meals are made from plants – you won’t find mock meats or oil-based ‘cheese’ here. An all-time favourite is its mushroom stroganoff, but its smoothies, hot drinks and desserts are all delicious, too. Owner Mui Phong describes Vantra as a “tranquil sanctuary”, and the experience here will leave you feeling as if you just had a good night’s sleep, despite being right in the bustling heart of the city.

Visit Vantra

Loving Hut Archway

Where: 669 Holloway Road, London N19 5SE

Before the influx of new, competing vegan establishments opened up across the capital, there was Loving Hut, a veteran vegan restaurant that’s been feeding Londoners for more than a decade. With an extensive buffet menu comprising Chinese takeaway classics such as prawn toast and soy-based ‘meat’ in the traditional Chinese style – and manned a friendly team – it’s a tasty and reliable urban vegan option.

Visit Loving Hut

The popular ‘All Mix’ comes with a bit of everything (Southbank Centre Market/Jake Davis)

Ethiopiques

Where: Southbank Centre Food Market, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays)

Ethiopian cuisine is naturally very vegan-friendly, with a plethora of dishes based on pulses. Here, set dishes offer something for everyone, and the draw for many diners new to Ethiopian food is injera: the spongey, fermented bread used to scoop up lentils and mop up delicious sauce. If you’re looking to eat the rainbow, look no further: Ethiopiques’ colourful combinations will fill you up, and for a fair price, too.

Visit Ethiopiques

The signature vegan döner with spicy soya pieces, salad, humous, tzatziki and jalapeños

What The Pitta

Where: 53 Brick Lane, London E1 6PU, plus Camden and Croydon locations

Offering Turkish-inspired vegan street food, What The Pitta is a cult favourite amongst herbivores and omnivores alike. It offers vegan döners, gyros, mezze boxes with incredible dairy-free tzatziki, as well as falafel wraps and London’s best baklava – plus its bread is freshly-baked (which makes all the difference). There’s now also an option for a 20-piece box of nuggets to rival McDonald’s. It’s the kind of food that proves vegans don’t have to miss out on anything – it’s all here in London.

Visit What The Pitta

London’s vegan experiences

Being vegan isn’t all about eating plant-based food. Try these alternative experiences in the heart of the city

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