If you’re taking on the daunting task of Veganuary and are thinking that you’ve signed yourself up to a dreary month of salad leaves and grains, well, think again. Whilst many dairy products are the source of highly calorific foods like cheese and butter, vegans can still roll around in all the oil and sugar they please without compromising their beliefs. So, read on as we fill you in on some the most indulgent and vegan friendly foods in London.
Biff’s Jack Shack claim to make the “filthiest, naughtiest, hot-sauce-dripping-down-your-face-iest vegan junk food in the UK” and after seeing their menu we are inclined to agree. Options include Chunky ‘Bangin’ Wingz’ smothered with a sauce of your choice like Buffalo + Blue Cheese, and The ‘Samuel Hell Jackson’ a jackfruit patty, topped with chipotle slaw, maple chipotle shack sauce, classic burger cheese and jalapeños served in a toasted (vegan) brioche bun.
Temple of Seitan
After the success London’s first vegan fried chicken shop in Hackney, Temple of Seitan then opened a bigger and better version in Camden. Temple of Camden serves all the same delicious food as Temple of Hackney including popcorn bites, hot wings and the Temple Burger comprised of a crispy fillet, bacon, cheese, lettuce and pickles with ranch mayo.
You may already be aware of The Vurger Co as they’re a hugely popular plant-based burger company with famous fans such as Lucy Watson. The menu includes option like their best-selling Tabasco Auburger, made from aubergines, chickpeas, red onion and vegan cheese, plus the company’s infamous mac’n’cheese and shakes. As well as festivals and events you will now be able to find them at their first permanent site in Shoreditch.
The Aussie doughnut company that made a major splash when it launched on our shores a few years ago not only makes delicious, creative doughnuts but they also do plenty of vegan flavours too. The menu is always changing but currently features options like but not limited to Cornelius Fudge (chocolate vegan glaze, topped with vegan brownies and toasted hazelnuts), Ice Ice Bae Bae (vanilla buttercream, dark chocolate cookie pieces, chocolate chip cookie dough and chocolate chips) and The Handbook favourite, Sia Later (vegan red velvet doughnut with a buttercream frosting and freeze-dried raspberries).
Vegan Fish & Chips
Technically called “vish” and chips so as to not upset or confuse anyone, Battered serves completely vegan fish and chips. The fish in this case is a soya creation wrapped in nori for that authentic fish flavour and then… you guessed it, battered. They also serve a host of treats you might find in a fish and chips shop (but veganised) like pies, tartar sauce and mushy peas. They don’t have a permanent home but can currently be found at Ely’s Yard, check out their Facebook page for updates.
Pie & Mash
Another classic English fare given a vegan make-over; nestled in Camden Market flavours include the all-day breakfast pie made with scrambled tofu, caramelised onions, vegan sausage and smokey baked beans, and curry pie made with butternut squash, chana chickpeas and lentils in a mild curry sauce. Their signature seitan and ale pie is a personal favourite, the vegan steak is made from seitan marinated in a rich ale.
The Diner’s classic American dishes have been extensively recreated for vegan tastes with all sorts of indulgent dishes to stretch your pant line. The menu is massive and has the likes of vegan chili cheese fries, a vegan taco salad and vegan burritos. They have burgers like the southern fried seitan burger and BBQ jackfruit burger, and the Big V Dog with classic ketchup and mustard. They also have a range of pancakes available and desserts like banana split for your sweet tooth.
Risotto ball pros, Arancini Brothers, has been around since 2009 but as of the beginning of 2018 now has a fully vegan restaurant in Old Street. You can have the arancini served as is with mayo and chutney or in a variety of ways like in a wrap with salad and crispy onions, in a salad box or a hot stew. They also do breakfast options and burgers like Smokey Chorizo with vegan cheese, crispy onion, chili sauce and mayo.
A Bleeding Burger
So, this is another burger entry but with a slight twist. Too-da-loo bean burgers, Moving Mountains has created a meatless, raw ‘bleeding’ burger (the blood is created by beetroot juice) which is available at various restaurants across the UK including Maxwells in Covent Garden. It took a team of leading UK scientists, chefs and farmers more than two years in a lab and over 100 test-kitchen recipes to perfectly recreate a meat patty for the finished Moving Mountains B12 burger. Its other ingredients include peas, potatoes, soy, coconut oil and mushrooms.
Another problem with vegan eating can be the need to have it readily available at a moment’s notice, while restaurants (think Pret) are doing their best to introduce more and more vegan options there’s no comparison to carnivorous options. This is where we welcome the award-winning, fast-casual restaurant by CHLOE whose first international restaurant is in Covent Garden. The menu includes burgers, sandwiches, fresh pastas, daily-baked sweets (Sweets by CHLOE), dairy-free ice cream (Chill by CHLOE), mac’n’cheese and much more.
Spice It Up
Vegan street food extraordinaires, Club Mexicana, now reside permanently at The Spread Eagle in Hackney (London’s first vegan pub) to serve its delicious Mexican food. Diners can enjoy Club Mexicana’s signature Tacos like Jackfruit carnitas, and Baja tofish plus newer options of ‘Beef’ Barbacoa and ‘Pork’ Al Pastor. “Meatier” dishes (excuse the pun) include the Californian-style Burritos stuffed with Beer Battered Tofish and Chips, and the MFC (Mexican Fried Chick’’n) Torta served with lashings of pickles and chipotle mayonnaise.