With veganism incresingly being viewed as having benefits to the environment, our own health and other animals, it’s no surprise that, according to The Vegan Society, over 400,000 signed up to the Veganuary campaign this year - the cows thank you.
But just because the month of January has come to an end, it doesn’t mean that your vegan pledge must. The UK has become a haven for those living their best plant-based life, so much so that even KFC has a pretty decent vegan chicken burger. And despite Piers Morgan’s attempt to thwart the Gregg’s vegan sausage roll, his dastardly efforts only made it grow in popularity, it became one of the reasons resulting in a collective £7 million bonus for the staff.
But however great it is that so many large co-operations have all these vegan options, we can’t forget about the independent vegan places that were there for us vegans when chips and salad were the only thing that conglomerates had to offer. There is nothing wrong with having something from these chains which have, after all, showed so many people that eating non-animal products means so much more than chewing through a bowl of lentils and hemp for lunch. However, the popularity of buying from chains has led to the collapse of independent shops and restaurants. We need to support the more individual smaller businesses as much as we can and for those living in London, there is no shortage of amazing vegan places. Here is a short list of just a few joints to check out.
Recently, the UK’s first fully vegan pizzeria was forced to close its doors… to open an even bigger venue! And with some of the best vegan pizzas this side of the Mediterranean, it’s no surprise. Based in Camden, Purezza is great for a treat but can often get quite busy. And with it’s melty margheritas, secret cheese sauces and speciality desserts, it’s worth waiting for a seat.
Temple of Seitan
For those who are unfamiliar with the chewy texture of seitan, it is the main protein of wheat and its elastic mass makes it a perfect meat replacement. Making Temple of Seitan a wicked name for a place that sells devilishly good faux meats. Having one shop along Regents Canal and another in central Hackney, it is perfectly placed to serve burgers, wings and popcorn bites to the vegans of North and East London - and it beats KFC any day.
What The Pitta
Using pieces of soya, lashings of hummus and freshly made bread, the geniuses at What The Pitta have made a vegan donor kebab that is so good, it will easily replace your 3am drunk cravings. When friends of mine visited London from the states, they refused to eat anywhere else. Making me realise they must have ingested around 7 kebabs in a weekend at least. This place is based in Boxpark Shoreditch and has eateries located in Camden, Brighton and Croydon too.
Japanese food is traditionally very fish heavy. However, Itadaki Zen, based in King's Cross, has perfected the unique and gentle taste of Japanese vegan cuisine. It is a little on the pricey side, but for authentic noodle dishes, moreish bento boxes and just the right balance of flavours in a sushi set, this is the place to go!
Black Cat Café
Black Cat Café has been around for years, since people were still insisting that fish are okay for vegans to eat because they live in the sea. Visitors to the Hackney cafe can choose from a range of sandwiches, tagines and cakes. But a winner at this place has to be the burger!
The range of vegan places in London stretches from Peckham to Cockfosters. But these are just a few must-eat-at places to keep you going on your dairy, egg and meat-free journey.
This video has a few more places to check out, too: