Here’s the thing. I’m a lifelong vegan and it’s fair to say 2019 has seen a huge surge in people jumping on board, eating a plant based diet, and huge organisations are offering up vegan alternatives. This is all great but the restaurant department seems to be lagging behind a little. Sure, when I was growing up I’d have to adapt a dish to make it vegan friendly or just simply order a bunch of sides if nothing else made the cut, and yes, nowadays restaurants do usually have a vegan option on their menu, which is great. Now that it’s Christmas though, these same places haven’t adapted their festive menus, usually offering a salad or pasta as their “Christmas” dinner, which isn’t fair, nice or festive at all. So in an attempt to regain my own sanity, and help a few vegans out along the way, we’ve rustled up the best of London’s veggie scene, Christmas style.
The Best Vegan Alternatives At Meat Restos
One restaurant that’s undoubtedly steering away from limp looking salads this Christmas is Roast. The clue’s in their name so I wasn’t really shocked to find out they were serving up two (yes, two!) vegan alternatives this Christmas. For those looking for a fiery roast that’ll no doubt fuel you through your work party, opt for the cauliflower and chestnut roast served with rosemary roasties, sautéed Brussels sprouts, vegan stuffing and a lashings of vegan gravy. Or, if you’re not one for a roasted feast, dive into their black truffle and chestnut pearl barley risotto with Brussel sprout leaves and sage. Plus, there’s even a chocolate brownie and coconut trifle to enjoy for dessert. Roast, you’ve scored serious brownie points.
Vegans, have yourself a merry little Christmas with The Lighterman and their impressive festive set menu. Coming in at a healthy £50, you can guarantee your veggie belly will be left satisfied after their three course offering. Nestled on Granary Square, you’ll be tucking into roasted harrier butternut squash served with chestnut, crispy kale and winter truffle; a Jerusalem artichoke and wild mushroom tart (toppled with more roasted chestnuts); and caramelised pear crumble with homemade spiced almond custard. Sounds dreamy to me.
For some proper British grub Bull and Gate has you covered. Whether you’re still roaming for somewhere to feast on Christmas Day, you’re eager to book in for a last minute Friendmas, or you’re just all about the pastry, their butternut squash, chestnut mushroom and spinach wellington with Jerusalem artichoke purée and sprouting broccoli is as sublime as it sounds. Think hearty portions at this iconic Kentish Town pub.
You’ll be going quackers over Duck & Waffle’s festive offering. This Christmas get your vegan fairytale wish granted as you dive into the wellington nut roast of dreams. And, don’t go think you’ll have to surrender your trusty Christmas trimmings as Duck & Waffle have gone all out with the veggie friendly fare.
Feast in style this Christmas courtesy of Texture. Chef Agnar Sverrisson has cleverly created a unique Michelin Star dining experience perfect for meat eaters and vegans alike. While your friends are diving into either Texture’s fish tasting menu or their festive tasting menu, you can dive into your very own vegan tasting offering. Expect new season English baby beets with pesto, ‘snow’, walnuts and leaves; a medley of celeriac textures from broth to puree, baked to pickled; and a whole lot more.
Three courses of dreamy vegan cuisine? Yes please! Say holla to Oldroyd, the first solo resto from former Chef Director of the Polpo Group, Tom Oldroyd. And like all great restaurants, this swish one is offering a festive set menu with a vegetarian and vegan offering too! Start your evening off with a glass of mulled wine before chomping on the jerusalem artichoke velouté and artichoke crisps, arbequina olive oil and fresh chestnut. For main, you’ll be lapping up every last mouthful of the spiced and roast cauliflower, trompettes de la mort, Puy lentils and red wine jus, served alongside confit garlic roast potatoes (delish!), parsnips and sprouts. And to satisfy your sweet tooth, red wine & star anise poached pear toppled with hazelnuts. Where do I sign up?
The Best Vegan Restaurant Christmas Dinners
Love it or hate it, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a boozy Christmas pud. And, Tell Your Friends have outdone themselves with their vegan friendly version. The plant based restaurant, founded by former Made in Chelsea stars Lucy and Tiffany Watson, has pulled out all of the stops this Christmas with their xmas pud that’s served with brandy butter and vanilla custard (ugh!). Another added extra? Every set menu purchased, the restaurant will be giving £1 back to Animal Rescue Kefalonia, where Lucy adopted her little kitten.
Since opening The Gate in Hammersmith in 1989, London’s vegetarian dining scene has become ever more vibrant and dynamic. But one menu that’s twinkling it’s way to the top still is The Gate. From their chestnut and caramelised parsnip terrine to their mushroom and leek wellington with cep reduction, new potatoes and sautéed spinach, there’s not doubt everyone around the table will be left thriving for the trivia questions that follow all good parties…
To roast or not to roast, that is the question. Whichever way you fall this Christmas make sure you head over to Wild Food Café in Islington to sample their festive offerings. From their Santa Baby (spinach) pizza to their wild unrest, coconut ‘turkey’ with cacao nibs (trust us on this one, it works!) and all the trimmings, it’s seriously good.
Vegetarian pioneers Diane Thomas and Jane Muir set up Mildreds back in 1988, and since the establishment has risen in strength. This Christmas sample their festive vegan eggnog, served hot or cold, made with Maker’s Mark or Disaronno, salted caramel espresso Martini or chai hot toddy, before diving into their ‘creative’ festive dishes. Think vegan chick’n pastille with jewelled cous cous, cranberry and rose harissa and their vegan triple chocolate tart with dark chocolate base is to die for.