London's 8 tastiest vegan spots
From street food to sweet treats, the capital boasts some of the best plant-based food in the country. Vegan food writer Sareta Puri lines up her favourites.
What do vegans eat? As plant-based cuisine goes from strength to strength here in the UK, it's clear that there’s more to vegan life than lettuce and lentils. Burgers, hotdogs, chick’n, cheese, tacos, curries – you name it, we’ll eat it. And we’ll eat a lot of it.
When it comes to vegan dining, Londoners are spoilt for choice with street food markets, Brick Lane's monthly Vegan Nights food and drink party, plus new places to eat popping up almost every week. But us hungry vegans need to make sure we're getting the best, so here's a rundown of the capital's top plant-based eateries to satisfy your cravings.
1. Greedy Khao
This Thai brand is hands down the best vegan street food in London – eat their food then try to disagree with me. You can taste the love that goes into the dishes, which are expertly cooked by co-owner Faai. Top dishes include a banging pad thai served with veggie prawns, mouth-watering khao soi noodles with tofu puffs and a rich massaman with chick’n pieces. Drooling over their Instagram feed is one of my favourite past-times. Find them at markets across London, including Hackney Downs Vegan Market and KERB Kings Cross, and keep a look out for an announcement of a permanent site coming soon. I have firm plans to move in as soon as they open.
2. The Spread Eagle
London took its sweet time getting its first 100% vegan pub, but it was well worth the wait. The pub’s landlord teamed up with one of the city's finest street food brands Club Mexicana to bring you utterly mouth-watering eats. From their al pastor (‘pork’ and pineapple) tacos to deep-fried cheeze -- and don’t forget the chick’n wings – these gals know how to make a feast. Wash it down with absolutely anything you want as it’s all vegan! The fixtures and fittings are also completely vegan – no, that doesn’t mean you can munch on a table leg. My main advice: go hungry and eat everything (apart from the furniture).
3. Fields Beneath
A vegan café that doesn’t shout about being vegan. After café boss Gav turned vegan in early 2017, Fields Beneath did too. Non-vegan locals and regulars still love the place and rightly so. The menu changes almost weekly, thanks to their head chef who is always thinking of new and creative ways to get people excited about vegan food. My highlights have included the banh mi croissant (yes, the croissants are vegan!), a chickpea ‘tuna’ sandwich and a Japanese katsu-style burger. If sweet treats are your thing, they don’t disappoint with cakes, brownies and healthier options of raw bars and buckwheat cookies. They also serve up the best Oatly lattes this side of Stockholm.
Wildflower is a welcome relief from the vegan junk food and mediocre meals now commonly available as veganism grows. Each dish on the regularly changing menu celebrates once-humble vegetables to remind people what plant-based eating is all about, encompassing everything from swede fondue to rosemary and garlic pink potatoes, and heritage beetroot with coconut yoghurt. They also serve one of London’s most banging vegan brunches which features seitan sausage, scrambled tofu and bubble and squeak. Doubling up as music venue Ghostnotes, you can listen to beats whilst munching your beets. Plus, you have to walk up London’s most Instagrammable pink stairway to get there.
5. Vida Bakery
Vegan AND gluten-free sounds like the most boring thing ever. Then you bite into one of Dani and Vane’s light, fluffy cakes and your world turns upside-down. Once described by a friend as “slices of heaven,” there isn’t a better way to sum up their otherworldly treats. My current obsessions are the peanut butter and jelly and 'notella' cupcakes, and if you’re after a custom-made celebration cake this is the place to go. As with the best businesses, the owners are passionate and caring people who work their asses off – all to give us the sweet treats that we truly deserve. Keep an eye out for special events including their much anticipated afternoon tea.
6. Comptoire V
Still under the radar from most of the vegan masses, the sister restaurant to the nearby grill and mezze bar Le Comptoir, makes some of the best vegan food I’ve had in London in a long time. Yes, the menu features hummus and falafel but not the type that any long-term vegan would roll their eyes at. The spicy beetroot hummus is something I dream about regularly and their aubergine zaalock can’t fail to make you drool. If you have simpler tastes just order a basket – actually, several baskets – of ghife, a flaky Moroccan bread that's akin to an Indian paratha. All I'll say is that it will change your life, especially in its dessert form.
Another day, another vegan joint in east London. But Genesis goes beyond the totally average vegan burgers you practically trip over these days to bring mighty fine global eats to the v-gang. Don't be put off by the 'organic and healthy' strapline; this fast-casual restaurant serves everything from shawarma to Malaysian soup laksa and Indian street food snack aloo chaat. Even their triple-cooked fries are healthier, being cooked in avocado oil. For extra (gut) health kicks wash it all down with every vegan's fave kombucha, or go wild with a turmeric CBD bomb latte. Beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks are also available.
Once just another Dalston bar, when street food legends Club Mexicana took over the kitchen in 2017 the venue was transformed into one of the best places for vegan eats in the city. The trendy bar is currently home to What the Fattoush, a female-run Palestinian food brand that is taking London by storm. I’m a sucker for a good potato and the batata harare – sautéed potatoes with a green chilli sauce – do not disappoint. You also shouldn’t miss the Levantine stew of aubergines, peppers and tomatoes. Save space for dessert as the churros with chocolate orange dipping sauce will make you tingle all over. And for extra feels its lovely to know that 10% of all profits are donated to Skate Pal, a Palestinian-based charity who support young people through skateboarding.