Ah, London. It’s a juxtaposition of the old and the new, traditional and modern, classic and contemporary. It’s a multi-cultural, bustling metropolis where whatever you’re looking for can be found. Food is no exception, and this past weekend I explored some of its vegan offerings. If you’re in London anytime soon, I’ve got you covered on where to venture.
To start things off, we head West to bohemian, trendy Notting Hill. Famous for Portobello Road Market and its annual carnival, Notting Hill is a destination not to be missed if you’re traveling to London. But in addition to the excellent market stalls selling the most unique antique finds and the drool-worthy houses you might find yourself wandering past and trying to peak in, Notting Hill has some great places to eat. One of those is Farmacy. A clever name play on the combined ideas of good health and organic food, Farmacy is a trendy, clean-eating hub. Specializing in gluten-free, vegan, and raw cuisine with many nut-free offerings also thrown in for good measure, Farmacy is where you want to go for the optimal healthy lunch.
I popped in around noon and was met with smiley waiters who offered me some refreshing cucumber water to quench my thirst. I was seeking a table for one, and they positioned me in a location of my choosing with a great view of the whole place. I had read mixed reviews before visiting and was awaiting the supposed tribe of pretentious, modelesque men and women that apparently crowded the joint on the daily. But no, instead I was met with normal humans–just like me–simply there to grab a healthy bite. It was all good.
I opted for the Farmacy Burger. I was hungry, and I always feel like you can judge a place pretty well based on the burger they churn out. This one was exquisite. I mean, really.
If North London is your jam, Loving Hut is where it’s at. Perhaps you’re on your way back from Hampstead Heath or Alexandra Palace and in need of a bite to eat? This incredible, all-vegan Chinese restaurant oozes casual vibes, excellent service, and delicious, affordable food. I couldn’t believe it–I could eat everything on the menu for this style of cuisine that typically wouldn’t have much available to a plant-based consumer. The food was quick, beautifully presented, and ridiculously tasty.
We ordered steamed vegetable dumplings for starters and shredded crispy “beef” and sesame “chicken” for mains. I cannot tell you how delicious these were. Please, just go experience it for yourself. You can thank me later.
Over to colorful and cool East London for our next pick. East London is the place to see and be seen. With Shoreditch High Street’s trendy shops and the vibrant Brick Lane Market, East London reminds me of my home city of Bristol in many ways. It’s full of epic street art, buskers, and fashionable creatures. But when hunger strikes, Mooshies is the place to go. It’s a small, all-vegan burger joint with some great sides to offer.
I opted for the “What’s Your Beef?” burger–a solid vegan take on the traditional beef burger with all the trimmings. The vegan American cheese was such an incredibly accurate mimic–I can’t even. We also got guacamole with plantain chips and the chickpea bites with a sweet chili sauce. Totally mouthwatering and delicious.
Wild Food Cafe
I must say, one of my favorite places to wander around in London is beautiful Covent Garden. It’s filled with boutique stores (The Charlotte Tilbury–I just can’t *heart-eyed emoji*), markets, street performers, and great dining. Of all of these, I highly recommend a trip to the Wild Food Cafe in Neal’s Yard. This hidden gem is like a sanctuary in the city, and it serves a 100% plant-based menu. It’s a bit tricky to find as it’s based in a tiny courtyard within a busy triangle of shops, but ask around and someone will point you in the right direction.
This was where my body took me for an afternoon treat. The below smoothie had me in love at first sight.
So perhaps on your next trip to London, you’ll consider some of these offerings. You won’t be disappointed by any of them. But it’s also worth mentioning Planet Organic in case you’re after some food to-go, DIY-ing it at an Air BnB, or wanting a quick snack while you wander. This is a chain with several stores around the city, and it stocks an array of healthy, organic, vegan brands. It’s kind of like Whole Foods. They also have a great refill section if you are all about the zero-waste life.
Have you been to London? Where was your favorite place to eat?
Also by Kat: 6 Months a Vegan: What I’ve Learned So Far
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Photo: Kat Kennedy and The Model’s Office