Everyone’s least favourite portmanteau after Brexit is back again! The word may grate like fingernails on a blackboard, but otherwise there’s not much to dislike about Veganuary. Whether you’ve dedicated your January to telling people that you’ve ‘gone vegan’ or whether you’re wanting to dip in a toe and try a vegan meal, London’s the place to do it. So here are all the Veganuary hotspots…
London’s Ham Yard doesn’t sound like the natural first port of call on the Veganuary trail, but don’t be put off by the piggy moniker, Ham Yard Hotel has a new vegan menu specially for Vegan-tide. Showcasing a range of new dishes, starters and mains include roasted aubergine with red pepper sauce and rocket pesto and risotto tart with kalibos cabbage, roasted shallots and truffles. Pudding-wise, vegan chocolate sable with saffron orange confit served with a kumquat sorbet doesn’t sound half bad, nor does washing it down with a bottle of vegan wine.
Where: One Ham Yard, Soho, W1D 7DT
Over to Theo Randall at the InterContinental where the Michelin starred chef has been working up an Italian take on Veganuary. The rustic dishes are varied in all but their use of vegan ingredients, with the menu including antipasto di verdure, risotto di zucchini e pomodoro, Polenta grigliata and pear sorbet. In an effort to cater to all the fads, he’s even gone and included one or more gluten-free options per course, which is relatively unusual for veggie and vegan foods.
Where: InterContinental London Park Lane, One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, W1J 7QY
And why can’t one of London’s most renowned steakhouses get in on the Veganuary action? Yes, if you want a plate full of some of the most sumptuous animal parts, bleeding onto your plate and indelibly seared as one of the best meat-based meals in your memory, then Gillray’s is definitely the place to come. But for January the South Bank restaurant also needs to be on your list for vegan fine dining with their three-course vegan menu.
Where: Gillray's Steakhouse & Bar, Westminster Bridge Road, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Waterloo (0.3 miles)
If you thought that Scandinavian cooking was all about meatballs and rotting herring, then let Icelandic chef Aggi Sverrisson set you straight. The Michelin-starred restaurant on Marylebone’s Portman Square will celebrate Veganuary with a plant-based dining menu with both à la carte and tasting menu options.
Where: 34 Portman Street Marylebone, W1H 7BY
If there’s one country that knows all about vegetables it’s India, where a whopping 71% of the population is a vegetarian. So Indian Accent, in Mayfair, were always going to smash Veganuary. The Indian fine dining restaurant have a three and four course plant-based menu (or, if you’re really wanting to up the roughage, there’s a seven courser) and vegans and wannabe vegans can enjoy spiced pomelo and sago crisp; avocado chop with nutmeg mango chutney; green peas kofta coconut curry; and tofu masala with cauliflower and shishito pepper. The vegan pudding of spiced pear petha with salted caramel vegan ice cream sounds pretty divine too.
Where: Indian Accent, Albemarle Street, London, UK
Nearest station: Green Park (0.3 miles)
The spa at Baglioni specialises in Vegan and Cruelty-Free Massages (I could be in the market, my last massage was the definition of cruelty), and it’s their massage, using products by INSIUM, that has inspired the vegan menu at Brunello Bar and Restaurant. The fennel-heavy menu is best enjoyed with a bottle of Organic-Biodynamic Gavi Tenuta San Pietro wine to get the true Milanese feeling.
Where: 60 Hyde Park Gate, London, SW7 5BB
Nearest station: High Street Kensington (0.6 miles)
If all this chat about veganism has slightly freaked you out then why not ease your way in? And what better way than a meat-free cocktail? The Piano Works, West End (along with sister venue, Studio 88) have gone through their cocktail menu and given it a real plant-based makeover. Expect plenty of matcha, beetroot and coconut. Their vivid Matcha Martini is a blend of matcha tea, Bombay Sapphire gin, lime juice, chickpea water and fresh basil garnish, while their Golden Beat is a rich red cocktail made with Bacardi Carta Oro, beetroot juice, lemon juice, beetroot leaf and golden glitter garnish. The Espresso Martini has had a makeover, with Coco Espresso Martini being made from Belvedere vanilla vodka, coffee liqueur, espresso, coconut milk, coconut purée and dark chocolate flakes. Finally the Fig and Berry Sour is created from Bombay Sapphire, angostura bitters, lemon juice, chickpea water, fresh fig and raspberries.
Where: 47 Whitcomb Street, Off Wardour Street, Soho, WC2H 7DH / 113-117 Farringdon Road, Farringdon, EC1R 3BX
Balthazar has hit the nail bang on the head when it comes to Veganuary offerings with its grilled vegetable sandwich; a delicious combination of mushroom and smoked aubergine ‘caviar’ in a gourmet potato and onion bun. Give us caviar any day, but wrapped up in a vegan bun? Ooft, now you’re talking! To top it all off (and pay homage to the sweet tooth) delve into Balthazar’s new vegan version of the famous chocolate bounty bar and thank us later!
Where: 4-6 Russell Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5HZ
Have you been to the new Sushisamba in Covent Garden? If you’ve not then use Veganuary as an excuse, in fact find any excuse, it’ll be worth it. Or keep it old school in The City. Either way, the vegan menu this month includes Edamame beans served with volcanic salt and lime and their Moqueca Mista, which is chimichurri rice served in creamy coconut milk with a sprinkling of lime and served with seasonal vegetables.
Where: 35 The Market Building, Covent Garden, WC2E 8RF
Alyn Williams runs one of London’s best kitchens at The Westbury and his meals are always a treat. Genuinely, I can’t recommend enough! And Williams has turned his wizarding skills to Veganuary this month, which means he’ll be serving up a great selection of winter fruits and vegetables available. The Veganuary menu begins with an earthy beetroot tartare with radish, followed by roasted cauliflower steak and seaweed. After Hen of the Woods with a mushroom broth, move onto celeriac pasta with black truffle and roasted kohlrabi, hispi roll and a lemongrass velouté. Pudding is equally mouth-watering, with blood orange with jam and jelly and a combo of rhubarb and custard with marjoram.
Where: Bond Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 2YF, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Oxford Circus (0.4 miles)
Craving a burger but damn, it’s Veganuary? Fear not: it’s all about Halo Burger at POP Brixton. Halo Burger is completely dedicated to the ‘Beyond Burger’ (that’s literally all they sell) and the thing about it is… it’s 100% plant-based. But, it looks, cooks and TASTES like an actual beef burger. Mental.
Where: 49 Brixton Station Road, Brixton, SW9 8PQ
Kennington Tandoori, the upscale-ish South London Indian, are getting into the spirit of Veganuary with their own vegan offerings. They’re cooking sweetcorn and mushroom Tak-a-Tin (stir fried in a wok with onion and tomato), or Amritsar chickpea masala, cooked in Indian tea with onions and tomato. Alternatively tuck into spinach and fenugreek pakoras – lightly spiced crisp parcels of fresh fenugreek and spinach with a tamarind dressing. All of this can be washed down with generous helpings of vegan wine.
Where: 313 Kenninton Road, Kennington, SE11 4QE
Mews of Mayfair, one of our favourite cocktail and wine bars also boasts its own pizzeria. Pizza Co serve up some of Mayfair’s best pizzas and now they’ve gone vegan for the season with The Salute Menu (which means ‘healthy menu’ in Italian) and includes various Veganuary offerings, like globe artichoke, sprouting broccoli, black rice and walnut pesto. The menu, specially designed to promote foods with proven restorative properties should be pretty healthy too!
Where: 10 Lancashire Court New Bond Street W1S 1EY
Nearest station: Bond Street (0.3 miles)
Bone Daddies have launched their Veganuary specials across all their ramen bars throughout the month and if you like ramen, and you’re Veganuary-ing, then you’ll want to be involved. Spot ramens like their mushroom broth ramen for some of the best far-eastern Veganuary fodder this month.
Where: Various, accross London