A vegetarian way of life is the only epicurean existence I’ve ever known (and will likely ever know).
As such, all the reviews & features extensively chronicled in this foodie’s diaries are written from a bonafide veggie perspective; albeit rarely pandering to the clichés of all-vegetarian restaurants. After all, food is a social activity and given the company I keep, my dietary disposition has always been the exception rather than the norm.
Thankfully, there’s much more than meats the eye at restaurants catering to even the most carnivorous of my friends… And with “flexitarianism” on the rise in recent times, there’s a never-before-seen spotlight on vegetables & vegan substitutes, elevating them from humble to haute status.
Here are my favourite vegetarian-friendly restaurants in London (updated regularly)!
Darcie Green, Paddington Central
Housed in a colourful barge (designed by the artist Sir Peter Blake, no less!), dinner at this quirky, Aussie-inspired restaurant from the Daisy Green Collection is a vegetarian’s dream come true.
Highlights include devilishly deep-fried halloumi fries and a Bombay-worthy “bhel” salad to start, followed by celeriac steak and a meatily-piled jackfruit curry (that’s close to pulled pork in texture!), dished up with turmeric rice and coconut sambal. From a Mars bar cheesecake ball to a champagne jelly-topped crème brulee – afters command an appetite of their own here!
Darcie & May, Sheldon Square, London W2 6DS
Bombay Bustle, Mayfair
While Indian restaurants are innately veggie-friendly places, the recently-opened Bombay Bustle ups the ante considerably with a richly-varied menu that pays tribute to the cosmopolitan way of life in the Maximum City. Get stuck into a skilful rendition of Bombay’s scintillatingly-spicy street eats and curries (including a lustworthy chole baturey); not to mention their trio of dosas (fermented rice pancakes) which are the finest I’ve had this side of South India… Read the full review, here; and/or about the best Indian restaurants in London, here.
Bombay Bustle, 29 Maddox St, Mayfair, London W1S 2PA
The Duck and Rice, Soho
A quintessential British pub meets authentic Chinese cooking at The Duck and Rice.
Cantonese roast duck might be the name of the game at this striking Soho-based restaurant by Alan Yau; but there’s a soulful selection for vegetarians too, spanning the likes of black pepper mock chicken (don’t knock it, until you’ve tried it) and a deeply-restorative Japanese aubergine & tofu claypot. All the dishes are generously-rich and well-suited to the cosily snug surrounds!
The Duck & Rice, 90 Berwick Street Soho, London W1F 0QB
More on London’s best dim sum for vegetarians, here.
Nobu Old Park Lane, Mayfair
This fine-dining Japanese might be synonymous with black cod miso and rock shrimp tempura, but the star billing really goes to their epic “tofu steak” (pan-seared with an anticucho sauce for a spicy kick) and impossibly-tender, melt-in-your-mouth slivers of aubergine coated in a sweet-and-sticky miso sauce… Read more on London’s best Japanese restaurants for vegetarians, including top picks for veggie sushi, here.
Nobu Old Park Lane, Metropolitan by COMO, 19 Old Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1K 1LB
The Palomar, Soho
The electric dining counter at The Palomar is the place to experience the food of modern day Jerusalem in London.
The effusively energetic kitchen team are particularly accommodating about tweaking dishes to cater to vegetarians, such as with their recent spin on the “Octo-hummus” (involving josperised aubergine, chickpea msabacha & burnt aubergine). From homemade labneh and lusty dips, to a decadently-comforting polenta and more – there’s plenty to be getting on with on their menu too! Read the full review, here; and/ or explore more vegetarian-friendly trendy spots in Chinatown, here.
The Palomar, 34 Rupert St, London W1D 6DN
Patty & Bun
Surprised to see this burger joint make this list? It is after all famed for its iconic Ari Gold Cheeseburger…
Well if you didn’t already know, Patty & Bun offer a formidable alternative with their Portobello ‘Dig It’ Mushroom Burger. That’s a gloriously-greasy mushroom fritter enhanced with garlic parsley butter, melted Parmesan cheese and lashings of tarragon mayo; sandwiched between glazed brioche bread. What’s more, you can now make any of their burgers veggie by replacing the meat with a deep-fried cheese fritter… Sounds like quite the party in a bun!
Patty & Bun, various locations.
Under head chef Sanjay’s adroit direction, this sassy Peruvian restaurant has always been welcoming to our lot with its gutsily-seasoned salads, small plates and cazuelas – iron pots piled high with the likes of potatoes and wild mushrooms, or layered with cauliflower and baby artichokes. And with the introduction of a dedicated vegan menu in early 2018, there’s reason more than ever to visit/ revisit!
Coya, 118 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7NW
The Frog by Adam Handling, Covent Garden
The vegetarian tasting menu at Adam Handling’s new restaurant in Covent Garden is an enjoyably-entertaining affair, proceeding with a parade of pretty-as-a-picture plates that play on complex techniques to compose a riot of flavours and textures.
High-level pleasures include a finely-sliced celeriac enfolding julienned apple, chewy chunks of dates and the delightfully messy yolk of a duck egg – with heaps of black truffle shaved on top! Full review, here.
Frog by Adam Handling, 34-35 Southampton St, London WC2E 7HF
The Hind’s Head by Heston Blumenthal
This historic (15th century) restaurant in Bray (a short train journey from London), is helmed by a chef who needs no introduction. The tasting menu is a reinforcing testament of the magic of Heston Blumenthal, championing classic British cooking centred on an intrinsic understanding (and delivery) of culinary comfort. Vegetarians are taken rather seriously too, with a dedicated menu manifesting in substantive dishes, reflecting seasonal influences.
Hind’s Head, High St, Bray SL6 2AB
Of course, a foodie’s job is never done – so be sure to check back for my latest recommendations & discoveries!
And if you’re still hungry for more, you could always browse all my reviews & features, here.
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