Ultimate Guide to: Dining in London During VeganuaryBy Alicia Grimshaw
January marks the start of Veganuary, a month-long pilgrimage into plant-based eating. If you’re planning on cutting down your meat consumption or in the market for trying some veg-centric dishes, we, along with our pals at booking platform Resy, have curated a list of ten vegan-friendly restaurants worth a visit throughout the month. Go on, dig in:
The Lowdown: Bubala takes its inspiration from across the Middle East, with a big focus on the Israeli style of playfulness and inventiveness underpinned by long-standing tradition. The menu also takes its cue from the rich cultures of Turkey, Lebanon and Morocco. Purely vegetarian, with many vegan dishes on offer, Bubala adopts a no-substitutes attitude, shunning the synthetic and processed, and championing the best and most exciting veg they can get their hands on.
Speciality Dish: Fried aubergine, zhoug and date syrup.
Where: 65 Commercial St, London E1 6BD
The Lowdown: Many of the most loved dishes at London’s best Chinese restaurants happen to be vegetarian or vegan, and this hip Clapton restaurant leans into that, with a mostly vegan and vegetarian menu perfect for sharing.
Speciality Dish: Typhoon shelter cauliflower.
Where: 95 Lower Clapton Rd, Lower Clapton, London E5 0NP
The Lowdown: The Swing is a vegetarian neighbourhood restaurant and café in the heart of West Hampstead. Mediterranean and Japanese ingredients are excitingly played with throughout this menu. Dishes are colourful, contrasting, and honest: served centre of the table – perfect for sharing.
Speciality Dish: Miso mushroom arancini.
Where: 77 Mill Ln, London NW6 1NB
The Lowdown: Some of the best vegan and vegetarian cooking in London comes right from the capable hands of chef Rishim Sachdeva. Here, a vegan-centric menu of sharing plates pulls no punches with dishes like a winter squash tostada or a heritage beetroot ‘bao’ with lemongrass XO highlighting outstanding produce.
Speciality Dish: Crispy beetroot bao.
Where: 5 Princes St, London W1B 2LQ
The Lowdown: Run by the Nguyen brothers and sisters, this stylish family-owned Vietnamese restaurant in Brixton and Peckham offers modern takes on classic dishes. Notably, much of the menu is vegan or vegetarian, with highlights including delicate banh khot mini-pancakes, bowls of warming vegan noodle soup and thick noodles tossed with herbs and tofu.
Speciality Dish: Bank khot pancakes (vgo).
Where: 46 Peckham Rye, London, SE15 4JR
The Lowdown: The focus at Grace Regan’s popular restaurant is vegan Indian cooking, using classic techniques and ingredients to give dishes like a delicious mushroom keema or jackfruit jalfrezi an E17 twist. Expect modern, fresh spins on curry house classics.
Speciality Dish: Aubergine vindaloo.
Where: 58 Hoe Street, Walthamstow E17 4PG
The Lowdown: Club Mexicana in Soho’s Kingly Court and Spitalfields is known predominantly for three things — tacos, an all-vegan menu, and delivering one of the most fun nights around. Tofu fish tacos, satisfying burritos, loaded vegan nachos, and heady cocktails are perfect for a group hang, while a bumping soundtrack keeps the room moving.
Speciality Dish: Fried chick’n taco.
Where: Commercial St, London E1 6LT
Photo credit: Nic Crilly Hargrave
The Lowdown: One of South London’s most popular restaurants, this Taiwanese bao specialist in Peckham (and its sibling, Daddy Bao) offers a short-but-sweet menu of steamed buns (with a variety of fillings), dumplings, sides, and curries. An outstanding selection of pure plant-based small plates, snacks, and mains makes it ideal for new and seasoned vegetarians and vegans alike.
Speciality Dish: Tofu bao.
Where: 293-295 Rye Ln, London SE15 4UA
The Lowdown: One of the year’s most anticipated restaurants has arrived, bringing with it slick pan-African cooking, an infectiously upbeat dining room, and a side of conscious dining. Owner Akwasi Brenya-Mensa has Ghanaian roots, but here he showcases the food of the African diaspora with predominantly plant-based dishes like ackee croquettes and a comforting groundnut soup with omo tuo (mashed rice dumpling).
Speciality Dish: Omo tuo (mashed rice) and Nkatekwnan (groundnut soup).
Where: The Africa Centre, 66 Great Suffolk St, London SE1 0BL
The Lowdown: Acme Fire Cult is a live-fire concept from chefs Andrew Clarke and Daniel Watkins. Both have established themselves as premier live fire chefs, with an emphasis on vegetable cookery. Almost all of the restaurant’s small plates and snacks menu, for example, are vegan, with dishes like coal roast beets with dill and tender celeriac with vegan XO offering thrilling propositions.
Speciality Dish: Beefsteak mushroom ‘carpaccio’ with mushroom-kelp XO sauce.
Where: Abbot St, London E8 2LX