Friday is finally here, and the weekend is almost upon us. Time for eating, drinking and generally forgetting the worries and woes of the week gone by. If you’re eating out this weekend, you may know that it’s not always easy eating out as a vegan (especially, if like me, you also have to avoid wheat). So, as promised in my last post, I’d like to talk about some of my favourite veggie/vegan friendly restaurants. Quite a few of them are purely vegetarian, but I’ll try and find a few where herbivores and carnivores can eat together in harmony! Most of them will be in London, as I haven’t had the pleasure of perusing loads around the rest of the UK and Worldwide as yet. But I’ll do my best to mention some of those with popular reviews.
You may have noticed that we prefer to eat organic food wherever possible. When eating out, this is not always an option, and I will therefore be including restaurants which do not offer organic food. Beggars, choosers and all that! I do also hold a preference for independent restaurants, yet if a chain deserves a mention with regards to its offerings of vegan food, I will give them praise where it’s due.
I’m going to start with one that ticks all of the boxes… being both organic and vegetarian. Amico Bio, who have restaurants in Holborn and Barbican.
Amico Bio is family owned, and really has an edge over pretty much everywhere else in my opinion. The one in Barbican, where we’ve been to, is a lovely, traditional style restaurant, and it’s so comfy and cosy to sit in. You’ll be served in a calm, chilled out manner, with all kinds of lovely organic, vegetarian dishes to choose from. There are a good number of dishes which are vegan (and many of the non-vegan dishes can be adapted to be vegan) and plenty to choose from if you’re avoiding gluten. I must mention the olives in here, as they are absolutely to die for. I eat a lot of olives, in a lot of different restaurants, and these are just something else.
I’m always impressed by a restaurant which makes the menu easy to understand for those with dietary preferences, or allergies. There’s nothing worse than having to ask for someone to come and explain the whole menu to you. So, it’s an absolute pleasure to look at the menu and immediately understand what’s vegan, what can be made vegan, and what’s gluten free. No stress, no hassle and no confusion or chances for error and misunderstanding.
From rice-milk mozzarella, to vegetable kebabs, and everything in between. You certainly don’t have to miss out on tastes and flavours (and it won’t break the purse strings). The myth that vegan/vegetarian food is boring is certainly blown out of the water at Amico Bio. Imagine my delight when I was even able to eat chocolate cake (both vegan and gluten free) when we last visited. I must tell you, it took lots of effort not to drool over the ever-changing and varied menu.
Another lovely restaurant, and one which we had heard much about lately (mainly due to its huge popularity with celebrities) is Tibits. Located just off of Regent’s Street, and with another completely vegetarian menu, but one with a bit of a difference. You pay for your food by what it weighs (be careful here, spuds are quite heavy)! I’ll talk more about this in another blog, but I really hate food waste, and I think this style of dining really cuts out the problem. Not a morsel of food did I see left on any plate, on any table. Fantastic. And the choice is great – it’s a big buffet in the centre of the restaurant, where you go up and help yourself. Boxes ticked include a fabulous range of gluten free and vegan options, and clearly marked to boot. My hubby nearly had a little dance in the middle of the restaurant when he saw vegan sticky toffee pudding, and so much more as the dessert options!
Anyway, I did promise to give you some options where meat-eaters and veggies can eat side by side. And this one comes from a surprising place. Pizza Express have gone upwards in my estimations. Yes, they are a chain, but they have introduced a fabulous vegan pizza, the pianta. How exciting. And they are everywhere across the UK. I’ve tried it (on the gluten free base) and it’s absolutely delish. And it’s not just a pizza with some cheese taken off, someone really put some thought into it. There are mushrooms and artichokes, to offer lots of texture and flavour. And the spicy sauce is just delightful. You can, of course, order any of the other vegetarian pizzas without the cheese (as the bases are vegan too) but it’s great not to have to ask sometimes! You can also now take along a pack of vegan cheese (sealed) and they’ll pop it onto the pizza for you!
There are lots of other lovely restaurants, including Sagar (for Indian food), The Gate and good ranges for vegetarians (limited for vegans) in the likes of Carluccio’s. And that’s just in London. Glasgow is actually the best place to eat in the UK if you’re a vegan now. I’ve heard that Mono is particularly good, but I’ll hopefully get to try for myself in the near future. And further South, you’d be looking towards Brighton where you have Heather Mills’s VBites of course!
So, if you know where to look, there are places to be found. I’ll keep eating out (ah it’s a hard life) just to keep you updated on more of the wonderful places to eat in London, as well as other areas in the UK and hopefully in Europe (will have to put the lastminute.com page up as a hint for hubby). Thanks for reading, I hope you’ll find somewhere super to eat. Please let me know of any fab finds. I’d love to hear about them.
Have a wonderful weekend!