This summer was pretty significant for me because I 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 a huge test of my willpower. I am forever thinking about my next meal and love cheese, desserts and milk chocolate… but my love for animals and the planet outweighs this and remains strong. The vegan diet is often considered restrictive but there is actually sooo much variety with vegan food. I’ve found great substitutes for my sweet fixes and overall I feel better and more energised.
I’m particularly pleased (and slightly surprised) that my London restaurant dining adventures haven’t been affected too much. 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. Yayyy! It’s been easier than I thought it would be to find vegan options on restaurant menus in London and if there aren’t any options, restaurants have been great at accommodating to dietary requirements and adapting dishes.
Here is a round up of six dishes I really enjoyed over the last few months:
Darjeeling Express: Hyderabad Baghre Baigan… and shout out to the Papri Chaat too (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 winning dish at Kerbs Vegan Rumble where street food traders battled it out to create the ultimate vegan dish. The winning 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 and vegans!
Farmstand: Vegan special – Aubergine, Tahini Dressing, Pomegranate Seeds & Pine Nuts and two sides
I am so pleased a friend 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. Delicious!
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 Daal – char-smoked, tempered yellow lentils with ginger & tomato
Daal is always an underrated side dish but for me, it is key at Indian restaurants. How much I enjoyed the daal contributes highly to my opinion of an Indian restaurant. Jamavar got it spot on! This yellow daal was delicious and bursting with flavour. FYI the black daal here is not vegan.