Veggie? No problem. Nat shows you what meat-free London has to offer.
Our city is full of diverse culinary delights, but my god we’re a meat-eating bunch, so it can be a real struggle when trying to find a restaurant that caters for veggies. I veer into vegetarian territory when eating out, but most of the time if I’m not given a mushroom risotto it’ll be a standard pasta dish or boring salad. But fear not legume-lovers, here’s some eateries to add to your list:
>> The Gate
With two restaurants to choose from, Islington or Hammersmith (which recently had a beautiful refurb), The Gate takes a different approach to vegetarian cuisine. The restaurants serve up a unique menu inspired by a mix of Indian, Arabic and traditional Jewish food. The mezze menu bursts with flavour and the a la carte offers treats such as teriyaki aubergine and french beans and samphire with lime and chilli. Incredible.
View The Gate’s site here. Islington: 370 St John Street, EC1V 4NN or Hammersmith; 51 Queen Caroline Street, W6 9QL
>> Vanilla Black
This very sophisticated restaurant is a bit of an enigma: before the food arrives they give very little away. Then your choices arrive and bare no resemblance to anything you’ve ever tasted before: deconstructed dishes and clever cooking set taste buds alive without a mushroom risotto in sight (hoorah!). A little on the pricey side, but if you want a cheaper alternative try sister restaurant Orchard Kitchen (visit here).
Visit the rather stylish site for bookings and menus here. 17-18 Tooks Court, Chancery Lane, EC4A 1LB
The oldest vegetarian restaurant in England (so we are told) is situated in Primrose Hill, and serves up veggie takes on traditional meat classics such as bangers and mash or ragu. In-keeping with its surroundings it’s a little on the pricey with mains from £14 upwards, but it’s worth the premium.
For bookings visit the website here. 4 Erskine Road, Primrose Hill, London NW3 3AJ
Not strictly vegetarian, the world-renowned deli (and it’s restaurant NOPI) is still just as appealing to veggie-loving taste buds. With an inventive cooking style which plays on bold flavours from the Middle East, The Med and Asia, vegetarians have plenty of choice. I’m intrigued by the Persian love rice with courgette tzatziki.
Have a look at the Ottolenghi site here. NOPI: 21-22 Warwick Street, Soho, W1B 5NE
Want to hang out at one of London’s coolest vegetarian eateries? Then head to this very popular Soho spot and be prepared to wait a little while to get in as you can’t book! Once you do get inside, expect to sit elbow-to-elbow with fellow diners in the cosy dining room. This is one for the atmosphere more than the food, but highly recommended for an overall good night out.
Check out the menus here. 45 Lexington St, Soho, W1F 9AN
>> Food for Thought
This carnivore-free joint has been around since 1974 and has bundles of charm. Feeding Londoners from its basement, the reasonably priced spot has a menu that changes daily. Eat in and take your own bottle of booze (with no corkage charge) or for lazy nights or lunchtimes you can take-away. Just a note, they don’t take cards so make sure you have cash to hand.
Visit the site here. 31 Neal Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9PR
Words by – Nat
[Imagery courtesy of The Gate, Vanilla Black, Manna, Ottolenghi, Mildreds & Food for Thought]
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