Best of EC3: Vegan dining in the City
For those who prefer their food to be plant-based, Insider Engage has sought out the best of the vegan restaurants a stone’s throw from your office
Interest in veganism has increased dramatically in the past few years as more and more people have begun seeking out cheaper, healthier or more supposedly “moral” meals.
The Vegan Society estimates that there are more than 600,000 vegans in Great Britain – more than 1% of the population.
But it can still be tricky to find good vegan food in the City. Often even the best restaurants will only have one or two options – and there are only so many times you can pretend to enjoy a mushroom risotto while your companions dig into the chef’s carnivorous specialties.
Fortunately, there are mouth-watering meat-free eateries within reach of the Square Mile. Insider Engage has picked out five, along with a couple of takeaway options for those on the go.
Malibu Kitchen, The Ned
Imposing, lavish and overlooking the Bank of England, The Ned may not seem an immediate choice for vegans, but its Malibu Kitchen offers enough tasty meat and dairy-free dishes for even the most karma-conscious City type.
Open from 7am for avocado on toast or coconut yoghurt and Bircher muesli, it even has a range of wellness shots and brewed kombucha drinks.
A raw chocolate cake accompanied by a House Press shake also provides a perfect excuse for a quick catch up over elevenses.
While the other six restaurants within the exquisitely restored former Midland Bank building offer a traditional bill of fare, Malibu Kitchen seems to be seeking a more streetwise clientele.
From 3-5pm on weekdays, diners can enjoy an all-vegan, two-course menu with a glass of prosecco for £20, with Taco Tuesdays bringing a touch of spice to the Square Mile, accompanied by a house-mixed tequila cocktail.
Address: 27 Poultry, London EC2R 8AJ
Open: Closed until further notice
Farmer J/The Fancy Fork
Fans of wordplay will enjoy the “we give a fork” motto that runs through Farmer J’s outlets, designed to encapsulate a more direct relationship between its kitchens and suppliers.
The Leadenhall Street branch opens at 7am with hot and cold breakfast options as well as its build-your-own “fieldtray” menu.
For sit-down meals, chef Shuli Wimer – who spent five years at the Michelin star-rated River Café in Hammersmith – runs The Fancy Fork on King William Street. The menus reflect her Israeli roots, with elements of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine
The dedicated vegan menu is small but other non-vegan options can be adapted on request. There are detailed allergen guides for its menus available online to help navigate specialist diets.
Address: 107 Leadenhall St, London EC3A 4AA
While much more casual than Vanilla Black or The Fancy Fork, Spitalfields-based Genesis has a rich menu of options drawing on Asian, Mexican and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Current hours are 5pm to 10.30pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 4.20pm Sunday, and it has a smaller outlet in Old Spitalfields Market open from midday to 6pm, seven days a week. You’ll even get a free Genesis face mask.
Space is limited so be sure to make a reservation via Genesis’s unique animated website.
Address: 144 Commercial St, Spitalfields, London E1 6NU
Based on Old Street, Atis’ plant-based food ethos is not exclusively vegan, but it places a core emphasis on sustainability, with responsibly sourced meat and dairy featuring on the menus.
As one would expect from an openly “plant-powered” eatery, though, vegan dining features heavily throughout. Its menu features the “Keep It Lean” salad bowl, or “Spicy Raw Thai” for those wanting something with a bit more kick. Diners can also build their own salad or warm bowls from dozens of freshly prepared ingredients.
Atis’ founders also have a strong belief in ensuring their work has a wider positive impact beyond feeding their customers. The restaurant has partnered with an Islington food bank, The Arc Centre, to help feed vulnerable families hit by the economic downturn, as well as delivering meals to local NHS hospital workers.
The restaurant is reopening soon with limited capacity – keep an eye on the website for updates.
Address: 145 City Road, London, EC1V 1AZ
Open: Yes, but for Click and Collect only
If you’re willing and able to venture a little further afield, you will not be disappointed with a visit to Mildreds, a staple of the vegetarian dining landscape for more than 30 years with restaurants in Soho, Camden, King’s Cross and Dalston.
Mildreds’ menus are almost entirely vegan, from the Gyoza dumplings to the “Buffalo chick’n” and “Mock Duck Banh Mi” mains. If you still have space afterwards, be sure to try the “Yuzu Lemon Financier” featuring candied coconut and coconut cream. Desserts are made fresh by Dalston-based chef Sarah Wasserman.
The post-lockdown reopening has also come with a slight redesign of Mildreds’ inside and outside spaces, while it is also making available contact-free temperature checks for customers as they come in and PPE equipment for staff and diners.
Open: Yes - taking bookings for up to six
If you are grabbing a meal on the go – or don’t fancy the new world of restaurant dining just yet – there are several takeaway options catering for the vegan diet.
Finally, Abokado’s freshly made breakfast bagels and vegan sushi option are worth seeking out from its outlets at Cutlers Court or Throgmorton Street.
Whether grabbing a bite to eat during a busy day or entertaining clients for lunch or dinner, it is clear the vegan scene is alive and thriving in London.