As we’re reaching the end of summer (or what was supposed to be the summer months)… it’s time for a bit of reflection on the good times I’ve had exploring the London restaurant scene.
This summer I officially became vegan. It took me a few months (and a few slip ups) to make the transition from vegetarian to vegan which I did by gradually cutting out eggs and dairy from my diet. There was a loootttt of temptation along the way and it was (and sometimes still is) a HUGE test of my willpower. I am forever thinking about my next meal and enjoy the taste of cheese, desserts and milk chocolate so much… but my love for animals and the planet outweighs this and remains strong.
I finally got there and without blowing my own trumpet, I’m actually pretty proud of myself because as we’ll as lot of people telling me I wouldn’t be able to, I myself didn’t think I’d actually get there!
I’m particularly pleased (and slightly surprised) that my London restaurant dining adventures haven’t been inhibited by becoming vegan. There is a growing awareness about the unethical aspects and negative environmental impact of dairy and meat production which has lead to increasingly more vegan foods becoming readily accessible. It’s been easier than I thought it would be to find vegan options on restaurant menus in London and if there isn’t anything, restaurants have been great at accommodating to dietary requirements and adapting dishes.
Here is a round up of six dishes I loved this summer:
Darjeeling Express: Hyderabad Baghre Baigan… and shout out to the Papri Chaat too (Sorry, I couldn’t just pick one)
This newbie restaurant in Kingly Court (Carnaby) serves divine, home style Indian food made by a team of talented girlbosses in the kitchen. The Hyderabadi Baghare Baigan is aubergine cooked in a spicy tangy sauce with ground coconut and sesame seeds – oh my, this was so tasty! The papri chaat was also delicious, the Indian street food delight was the perfect mix of savoury and sweet. Read my full review of Darjeeling Express here.
Petare: Chip Butty
I tried this at Kerbs Vegan Rumble where street food traders battled it out to create the ultimate vegan dish. This was the winner and the title is very well deserved! Read my full review of the event here.
Pret a Manger: Mint chana chaat vegan special wrap
This was the chefs special wrap in July and I may as well have worked for Prets marketing team with the number of people I told to try it! I absolutely love how vegan friendly Pret is. From the soups to the salads, they are always taking care of the veggies!
Farmstand: Vegan special – Aubergine, Tahini Dressing, Pomegranate Seeds & Pine Nuts and two sides
I work around the corner from here and am so thankful a friend at work introduced me to this place. It’s quickly become one my favourite lunch spots. My regular is the vegan special – aubergine with sides of sweet potato and broccoli.
Nando’s: Quinoa or Mediterranean salad with a veggie fillet
Who doesn’t love Nandos!? Surprisingly the restaurant famous for its peri peri chicken is an absolute treat for vegans with so many options to choose from. The veggie burger patty (veggie fillet) and most of the sides are vegan so you won’t feel limited for options here! Remember to ask for the salads without feta.
Jamavar: Dhungar Dal – char-smoked, tempered yellow lentils with ginger & tomato
I will always appreciate a good daal and as it’s usually one of my fave main dishes at Indian restaurants. I tend to base my judgement of an Indian restaurants food highly on this. Jamavar got it spot on! The usually underrated yellow daal was delicious and bursting with flavour.