October 1st is World Vegetarian Day, which kicks off Vegetarian Awareness Month, ending with World Vegan Day on 1st November. This month aims to raise awareness of how sticking to a plant-based diet can not only improve your health but also benefits the planet.
More and more people are choosing to eat a completely vegetarian or vegan diet, while others might take part in meat-free Mondays or Veganuary. Chefs are therefore upping their game when it comes to their plant-based provision, with vegetarian and vegan menus now making an appearance in many UK restaurants.
Some of the restaurants on this list are fully vegan, some are vegetarian; some have vegetables at the heart of their menu, while others simply provide a separate vegetarian and/or vegan menu. Some have Michelin Stars; some Bib Gourmands; but all are listed in the 2020 Michelin Guide.
This keenly run restaurant is unusually situated atop the historic city walls and offers carefully prepared, unfussy vegan dishes created using sustainable food systems. Interesting modern menus might include choices such as ‘Radish, Hispi and Apple’ or ‘Minestrone Disguised As Ramen’; there are some subtle Asian touches, and fermentation techniques create some interesting flavour contrasts.
A spacious, modern basement restaurant in the heart of the city, serving modern vegan dishes which are 100% free from dairy, gluten and eggs. Dishes might include sweetcorn soup, seasame tofu, cauliflower 3 ways, beetroot risotto, blueberry cheesecake or tiffin with blood orange. These are prepared with skill and care and, most importantly, packed with vibrant flavours.
This relaxed, friendly restaurant has been here for over a quarter of a century and remains as busy as ever, thanks to its appealing menu of original vegetarian dishes, which are generous in size, with rich, well-defined flavours. Choices might include crispy fried lavash bread, aubergine dengaku and Korean fried cauliflower.They also have a mini épicerie selling things like organic wine, pasta and chutneys.
Set over two floors of a former pub, this colourfully decorated, family-run Indian restaurant offers original vegetarian cooking inspired by street food and the experienced owners’ Gujarati heritage. Spicing is well-judged and dishes are substantial in both size and flavour. They are also currently offering take away for those would prefer to dine in comfort of their own homes.
This busy, welcoming little restaurant occupies five shipping containers on the old wharf. Well-priced small plates have their focus on vegetables, with a modern – and sometimes intriguing – style and some inventive touches. Produce from small local suppliers is used in simple yet flavour-packed combinations. Try the Korean fried celeriac or the mushroom ‘meatballs’ with tagliatelle.
When the serving and kitchen teams are having as good a time as the diners, you know you’re in good hands; the vibe here is relaxed and easy and the food, top-notch. A no-rules, ingredient-led menu offers modern and original dishes, with plenty for vegetarians; leeks with egg gribiche is a real winner, as are the charred Italian greens – and the chocolate ganache with boozy prune will sate the sweetest tooth.
Few London streets have seen more restaurants come and go than Charlotte Street, but one constant over the last quarter of a century has been David Moore’s Pied à Terre. The chef produces dishes based on classical French techniques but also puts in a few nods to his own Greek background. Vegan tasting menus are available at lunch and dinner – and during lockdown they launched a vegan home delivery feast box, which continues to fly out the door.
Built in 1890 as a girls’ school, this splendid Grade II listed structure with its vaulted ceiling, arched windows and marble pillars makes for a glamorous dining destination. Cooking is assured and precise, with a classical French foundation and a sophisticated modern edge. Vegetarian and vegan menus are available and choices might include leeks vinaigrette, egg and autumn truffle or tagine of autumn vegetables with couscous and harissa.
Vegetables have always been a focus at this charming Georgian townhouse restaurant, which has offered a fully vegan tasting menu since the eponymous French chef Alexis Gauthier turned vegan himself in 2016. The cooking is skilled and the kitchen is not afraid of adding some innovative touches to classic combinations. They also offer a vegan box of nine weekly changing dishes for delivery.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s bright and colourful brasserie uses lots of fermenting, pickling and curing as well as cooking over fire. Dishes are designed for sharing, influences come from far and wide and vegetables are at the heart of the menu, so expect choices like celeriac shawarma, shiitake and brown rice congee and stuffed cabbage roll. Cocktails are based on seasonal spices, and there’s a low-intervention wine list.