A few short years ago had someone asked you to recommend a good vegan restaurant in London you would have been hard pressed to answer. The plant-based movement was viewed as niche and difficult to maintain with most restaurateurs concluding there simply wasn’t a market for it.
Well, how times have changed. Since Veganuary was officially founded in 2014 over 1 million people have signed up to take part and, in the last year alone, more than 1,200 new vegan menus and products were launched. Suffice to say, if you’re taking part this year, it should be a breeze – even with a national lockdown in place – as many of London’s finest restaurants have stepped up with tempting vegan options available for delivery.
Pied à Terre
The Michelin-starred Pied à Terre in Fitzrovia has long been applauded for the care it takes in catering to vegetarian and vegan diets and, when lockdown closed its doors in 2020, it quickly adapted its award-winning plant-based menu into an at-home feast. Available for takeaway or delivery, the offering changes weekly and comes pre-prepared and portioned for two with simple instructions for creating a restaurant-worthy experience in your own kitchen. So what’s on the menu? Recent dishes have included white bean and truffle soup, aubergine papoutsakia with feta and coconut rice pudding with blueberries.
Vegan feast for two, £50, Pied à Terre
Going vegan doesn’t have to mean your diet is all green juices and chickpea crisps – at least that’s what Dirty Vegan, sister brand to the highly indulgent burger chain Dirty Bones, believes. For Veganuary 2021, Dirty Vegan has teamed up with Beyond Meat, Vida Bakery and Meda CBD Drinks to offer the ultimate in (almost) guilt-free comfort food.
Delivered as a cook-at-home meal kit for two, each Ultimate Veganuary box contains two vegan chilli cheeseburgers (complete with vegan American cheese, buns, relish, pickled jalapeños, jalapeño dressing, red onions and gherkins) and skinny fries along with Vida Bakery’s Cookie Tho ready-to-bake chocolate chip cookies. There’s also two cans of Meda’s Glow elderflower and lime CBD drink, as well as the brand’s CBD infused espresso martini, to wash everything down. Sounds like a great night in to us.
The Ultimate Veganuary Kit, £42, Dirty Vegan
With its emphasis on fresh, raw fish, poké has long been a go-to for those looking for healthy meal options but isn’t the obvious choice for those in need of vegan alternatives. Ahi Poké, which is available to order on Deliveroo from its locations in Bloomberg Arcade, Fitzrovia and Canary Wharf, is on a mission to change that. As well as its signature California-inspired Sweetgreen vegan bowl (kale, smoked tofu, red onion, charred corn, carrot, radish and sweet potato with jalapeño mayo), all of Ahi Poké’s bowls can be custom built with the majority of options suitable for vegan diets.
Poké bowls, from £8.95, Ahi Poké
Helmed by eponymous chef Alexis Gauthier, who has been vegan since 2016, Michelin-starred Soho restaurant Gauthier is another London fine dining favourite offering something a little more special for those choosing to go plant-based. Its vegan boxes are cooked, prepared and packed at the Romilly Street restaurant and serve up to four people with a new menu devised by Alexis each week.
With eight dishes in each box, this truly is a feast. Recent highlights include black ginger broth with lotus and burnt onions, smoked kohlrabi carpaccio, Thai red curry with aubergine and pumpkin and a lavish rum and pineapple financier with dark chocolate, almond and coconut. Each box is also available with a duo of red and white wines from Gauthier’s in-house wine list paired by the restaurant’s sommelier.
Vegan box for four, £75, optional wine pairings, £32, Gauthier Soho
With outposts in Soho, Covent Garden, Camden and Shoreditch, Club Mexicana has filled the taco-shaped hole in London’s vegan scene with its commitment to big flavours, quality ingredients and absolutely no chickpeas. Ever. Having bravely opened its first permanent restaurant in August 2020, the expanded space means Club Mexicana is now able to offer its dishes both via Uber Eats and as DIY Kits.
If you’re new to the offering we recommend opting for the Megabox Taco Kit, which comes with all the ingredients you need to feed six with Club Mexicana’s signature tacos: BBQ shortrib, Cheezeburger and Al Pastor (spiced seitan, pineapple, pink onion, salsa verde and chilli lime salsa). Add a Fully Loaded Nachos Kit and a bottle of the restaurant’s classic margarita and you’ve got a Saturday night worth staying in for.
DIY Taco Kits, from £20, Club Mexicana
Vegan pizza: not the oxymoron you might think thanks to the culinary wizardry happening over at Camden’s Purezza. The UK’s first fully vegan pizzeria now also has locations in Bristol, Brighton and Hove thanks to the simple reason that its pizza is great. And we don’t mean great for vegan pizza. We mean great for any pizza. It helps that Purezza’s chefs develop all their ingredients, including a signature brown rice mozzarella, cashew cheese, coconut cheese and sourdough base, in-house giving them the freedom to curate a menu that spans everything from a simple margherita to a lavish black truffle and smoked tofu pizza. There’s also a range of vegan dough balls, dips and desserts available as part of the restaurant’s Deliveroo offering, including a chocolate caramel brownie you won’t believe is dairy-free.
Pizza, from £9.95, Purezza
While not technically a purely vegan restaurant, another of London’s fast casual comfort food favourites turning its hand to Veganuary is the ever-popular Patty&Bun. Alongside its core line-up of vegan burgers and sides, many of which are available both on Deliveroo and as DIY meal kits, the chain has also introduced the wittily named Plant & Dec burger this month. Comprising a vegan fried ‘chicken’ patty, ranch mayo, buffalo sauce, pickled red onion, iceberg lettuce and dairy-free bun, it’s as sumptuous as any of Patty&Bun's meatier options.
Plant & Dec burger, £10, Patty&Bun