Healthy eaters, rejoice: these days, veganism is less hippie than hip, and you’re more likely to see London’s influencers sipping green juices and noshing on grain bowls than indulging in messy burgers. Whether or not you maintain a meat- and dairy-free diet yourself—or simply want to even out your holiday excesses with some good-for-you meals—check out London’s vegan scene on your next trip to the capital.
“Spoil yourself without spoiling yourself” goes Redemption’s tagline. The trendy café and bar—with locations in Notting Hill and Shoreditch—maintains a menu of vegan eats and booze-free drinks, but you won’t feel like you’re missing out. Instead, its welcoming vibe and tasty dishes make Redemption as buzzing as any pub.
The MaE Deli
If you’re a fan of Deliciously Ella and her popular, veggie-led cookbooks, you’ll want to drop in on The MaE Deli, tucked away in a pretty corner of Marylebone. Ella’s first brick-and-mortar establishment, it’s known for its flavourful and creative grain bowls, which feature add-ins ranging from apricot and cauliflower dahl to maple-roasted sweet potato.
Mildreds is an icon of vegetarian and vegan London (it certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s been on the scene for almost 30 years). Swing by its locations in Soho, Camden, and Kings Cross for globe-trotting cuisine (from gyoza dumplings to harissa hummus) and a stylish ambience.
The Egerton Hotel
Afternoon tea has always been top of our must-do list for a trip to London. For you vegans and vegetarians out there, however, finding a tea experience that fits your lifestyle can be a challenge. The Egerton Hotel in Knightsbridge caters to both denominations by serving traditional English cream teas with a veggie twist. You’ll be tendered a stunning selection of sandwiches alongside a vegan scone to go with your tea, all beautifully presented in true English fashion. They even have a gluten-free version too.
Serving up a menu of “healthy food by nature” to Notting Hill’s beautiful people, the on-trend Farmacy is the place to head for an Instagram-ready vegan brunch. Staples like avocado toast go down a treat alongside a chocolate supreme superfood smoothie.
After a speedy, sustaining—and super-healthy—meal in central London? Look no further than Detox Kitchen. Across three bright and beautiful locations, the cafe tempts with vibrant salads, veggie burgers, and tasty juices. And for dessert? Give the orange and coconut truffles a go.
London’s vegan scene doesn’t get warmer or more convivial than Bonnington Café. The cooperative-run café has been a staple of the leafy Bonnington Square neighbourhood since the 1980s. The kitchen is run by a rotation of chefs, which means the menu changes daily—an excellent excuse for a repeat visit, then.
Hemsley + Hemsley Café
Alongside Deliciously Ella, the Hemsley sisters are two other stars of the healthy eating world who’ve made the transition from cookbooks to café. Even if you’re travelling with avowed meat-eaters, don’t hesitate to stop by the Hemsley + Hemsley Café within Selfridges: alongside the vegan salads and desserts, the menu of whole, “nutrient-dense” dishes also includes salmon burgers and Moroccan chicken stews.
Leave it to upscale Primrose Hill to host one of London’s prettiest vegetarian restaurants. A neighbourhood stalwart for nigh-on 50 years, Manna is 100% vegan, and many of its options are also gluten-free. From mezze platters to enchiladas and pasta dishes, its menu is quite the crowd-pleaser.
Thought vegan fare and fine dining were mutually exclusive? Think again. Venture to Vanilla Black near Holborn, and you’ll quickly discover just how well meat-free eating transitions to a haute cuisine context. Expect ambitious plates like cauliflower dumplings with parsley and walnut crumbs and smoky aubergine flatbread with green harissa.
Images courtesy of Redemption, The MaE Deli, Mildreds, danishkhan/iStock, Farmacy, Detox Kitchen, Bonnington Cafe, Hemsley + Hemsley, Manna, and Vanilla Black