It’s been a while!
Since my last post, things have changed for me. In April 2018, I moved to London and began my first professional job at a legal publishing group. It’s been a very rich and varied experience so far, although it’s come with its twists, turns and bumps in the road.
Living in London is whatever you want to make of it. There is a huge diversity in arts, culture, music, sport, everything. In terms of food, there’s a multiplicity of abundance and more choice than you could want. And it goes without saying that vegan food in London is unparalleled anywhere else in the UK.
In my year and a half in this booming city, I’ve been steadily making my way through eveyrthing the vegan scene has to offer – which is akin to trying to paddle towards the end of a never-ending stream, as new places/options crop up. To ease myself back into this blog – which regretfully went on the backburner as I learned how to balance work with my other interests – I have compiled my current top five cafes/restaurants.
5. Biff’s Jack Shack
Biff’s has a special place in my heart. When I arrived in London, untarnished by the allures of vegan junk food, the jackfruit wings at Biff’s little spot in Boxpark, Shoreditch were the first ‘naughty’ option I tried. And I’ve been a convert to them since. Yes, it’s fruit, but it’s fried and fatty and flavourful. The texture has widely been compared to pulled pork, but it’s lighter and easier on the arteries. Biffs’ loaded fries are also a force to be reckoned with.
You can now find Biff’s wings at 100 selected pubs across the country – check their website.
4. Unity Diner
I’ve happy memories of Unity Diner in its orginal Hoxton location, before its recent move to Spitalfields (riding the waves of its own success). Unity Diner was co-founded by Ed Winters, aka Earthling Ed, a fantastic vegan activist – the most level-headed, calm and convincing spokesperson for the movement I’ve ever seen. All profits from the diner go to Surge, a animal rights campaigning group. Here, you can tuck into a wicked range of burgers, hot dogs and veganised classics such as tofish and chips and mac ‘n’ cheese. I’m looking forward to trying the new range of vegan-friendly cocktails on my next visit.
Oh, Tibits, I love you. Self-serve vegetarian and vegan food from all cuisines – think risotto, curry, pasta – piled on to plate with each and any accompaniment of your desire. Tibits is where you can pair beetroot salad with tofu, hummus and kimchi. I get very excited at Tibits, and it’s best to exercise a little self-control to keep the plate to a reasonable price. But it’s a haven for veggies.
The best vegan pizza spot in the country (along with its sister branch in Brighton). This is pizza, not just vegan pizza, at its finest – the award they won over non-vegan pizzas at the 2018 National Pizza Awards is testament to this. I’ve been here several times and plan on coming plenty more. Opt for the Pesto Manifesto – you’ve not tried pesto like this. There are gluten-free bases and even a raw pizza. (And if you’ve got a really impressive appetite, I dare you to order the Oreo pizza for dessert.)
1. Cafe Van Gogh, Brixton.
My current favourite cafe in London. Why do I love it? By description, it’s perfect: a non-profit social enterprise offering a fully vegan menu. It’s a small homely space in the grounds of a church, with Van Gogh prints on the walls and a starry night painted on the inside of the domed ceiling.
The food is really top-rate, with so much flavour and utilising lots of fresh and healthy ingredients. The mushroom bourguignon I had on my first visit was one of the tastiest vegan meals I’ve ever eaten, and their desserts are also superb.
If I haven’t convinced you – I guess you’ll have to try it for yourself.
More London vegan spots to come!