The worst thing about being vegan is going out to omni restaurants and getting stuck with the same old thing – either a falafel salad or pasta with tomato sauce. Although in the past year or so, most restaurants have been experimenting more with vegan food and attempting to cater for us, which we appreciate because it means we can go out with our omni friends and have more than 1 or 2 options. Even though this is great for us, nothing is better than going to an all vegan restaurant and being able to choose and eat anything you want. It’s overwhelming.
I go out to eat a lot and I luckily have a lot of vegan friends, a vegetarian sister and also an omni boyfriend who loves to go to vegan places, so I get to visit a lot of vegan restaurants. I’m going to share my top 5 vegan places I have been to in London and Essex (that’s where I’m based) that I think everyone should go to.
1. The Oaktree Bistro, Leigh-On-Sea
This place is probably my favourite vegan restaurant, it has incredible food including a ‘beef’ burger and ‘chicken’ burger, as well as curries, noodles and lots more. They offer a range of breakfasts including a full english, and tea and coffee with a variety of milks. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant is fairly small but has a beautiful lit outside area to eat. They offer vegan wines and the most amazing ‘ferrero rocher’ chocolate cake as well as a warm brownie, crumble and an amazing sundae!
2. The Railway Hotel, Southend-On-Sea
I came here solely because I had heard such great things about their vegan ‘fish and chips’. My omni boyfriend who’s favourite food is fish and chips said it tasted pretty much the same and he loved it as much as I did. The place is a fully vegan pub which often holds events and live music. They also serve a full english vegan breakfast, Sunday roasts and pizzas on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
3. Loving Hut, Archway, London
One thing I miss a lot since being vegan is ordering Chinese food. It’s too difficult calling up and asking whether they have eggless noodles, or whether their prawn crackers actually have prawn in them (some don’t), and whether they can have veggie fried rice without egg. It can be a lot of hassle. So when I saw JME, a grime artist from London who also happens to be vegan, tweeting about all this Chinese food he’s gotten from Loving Hut, I had to check it out. I was lucky enough for my sister to move in to a flat very close to this place so I went with my parents and we all loved it.
It was heavy on meat substitutes so great for omnivores, but I don’t particularly like the taste of meat so it also has tofu and vegetable dishes. The range of food here is incredible and you’re bound to find something you like. The wall was covered in pictures of famous vegetarians and vegans with quotes and the restaurant has a great peaceful vibe about it.
4. Temple of Seitan, London
This vegan fast food company does lots of pop-ups around London which is where I got these goodies at VegFest London two years ago. They opened the first vegan ‘chicken shop’ in Hackney which became a massive hit and have another one open in Camden. I’m not a huge fan of greasy fried food, but it tasted so, so good and not grotty like how I remember fried chicken to taste. I have heard so many good things from omnivores about how close to chicken this is, plus it’s so unique you definitely need to try it. I am super excited to go visit one of the actual restaurants in London this year. They also do wraps, mac and cheese, hot wings and so many other amazing vegan foods you wrongly thought you would have to give up when making this transition.
5. Mildreds, Kings Cross, London
I came here once a year ago with my best friend and revisited just last week with some old school friends. The vibe of this place is very hip and chilled out. There is a range of vegan food and it is just so tasty, definitely a must to go to. The place is always busy as you can’t book, but you can wait at the bar for a table and they have a range of vegan cocktails and mocktails, wines and beers so it’s not bad at all and the food is so worth it.
So those are my favourite vegan places so far. I aim to go around the UK more this year and visit lots more vegan places and make a much bigger list, but as I am based near London and in Essex for university, I thought I’d mention my favourite places close to home. Let me know your favourite vegan places in the UK and I will be sure to check them out!