This month is no longer January – the month of endless frost and rain, of pinching the pennies and grumbling into work – it is now Veganuary, an altogether sunnier month (metaphorically; we can’t control the weather). Veganuary is a month full of bright vegetables you’ve never thought to try before; a month of thinking a little more carefully about what you eat and of diving into a dining adventure.
So what does Veganuary entail? Quite simply, it’s a month of eating vegan, which means cutting out animal-based products. It’s a great way to detox after over indulging in Christmas festivities, but it is also a wonderful way of understanding a little more about what is in your food and how it produced.
If you’re thinking, you can’t possibly go a whole month vegan then perhaps it might interest you to know that there are plenty of ‘accidentally-vegan’ foodstuffs out there. Oreos, bagels, crumpets, Skittles and party rings are amongst those on the cards for vegans, so you don’t have to give up treats altogether or make your own desserts every day.
You can find lots of information, recipes, tips and tricks on the Veganuary website. But we think that if you’re going to take on this awesome way of eating, the best way of getting inspiration and really learning about veg, is to eat out at the right places.
So, we have rounded up a few of the UK’s finest restaurants serving vegetarian and vegan menus, so you can get stuck in…
1847 in Manchester, Bristol, Brighton, Birmingham – Vegetarian and vegan
If you haven’t heard of 1847 (where have you been), let me fill you in on, quite possibly, the biggest thing to hit the vegan dining scene. Winner of the best vegetarian restaurant outside London in 2014 and ever growing, 1847 is named after the year the vegetarian society was first formed. The menu is entirely vegetarian with so many vegan options, you’ll be pleasingly spoilt for choice. My favourite at the moment is their beet bourguignon; a cockle-warming take on the traditional stew with a medley of gorgeous, fresh beets and served with sautéed potatoes. With branches in Manchester, Bristol, Brighton and Birmingham there’s plenty of this restaurant to go round.
Foodilic in Brighton & London – Vegetarian & Vegan
The focus at Foodilic is great quality, healthy food: they serve a range of organic salads and hot vegetarian dishes for you to enjoy in their quirky and fun restaurants. Foodilic is also famed for its ‘Feuillete’ – freshly made pastries with a range of sweet and savoury fillings. We highly recommend their range of super-smoothies, ‘Pop-eye power pack’ is a popular choice with spinach, banana, apple and lime. The perfect location for a catch up with friends and there are two different venues to choose from in Brighton.
The Gardeners Arms in Oxford – Vegetarian & Vegan
A traditional, olde worlde British pub, to be discovered in the arty Jericho area of Oxford, The Gardeners Arms is everything you could want from a cosy pub and completely vegetarian. What I love about this gem is the vast selection of vegan wines on offer. So often this element of veganism is passed over and it’s refreshing to see it considered. A glass of vegan vino with a poetry reading or outside in the sunshine sounds blissful.
The Scrumpy Willow & the Singing Kettle in South Shields – Vegetarian and Vegan
What a name, and what a menu. Vegans and veggies are singing this restaurant’s praises from the rooftops. A boutique veggie and vegan restaurant by night and café by day, The Scrumpy Willow is top of the tree for cakes, vegan full English breakfasts and sandwiches with a side order of live music. In the evening the main meals are glorious: griddled polenta with caramelised onion and mushroom sauce followed by vegan cheesecake? Yes please. Inside is quirky and lovable and there’s always something going on to accompany the fab food here.
Roots and Fruits in Leeds – Vegetarian and Vegan
Roots and Fruits is a Leeds institution; its been going for over 20 years, serving predominantly plant-based delights. You’ll find a cracking vegan cheese sauce here meaning the Whole Bowl is on the cards! Not only that but you’ll find the likes of vegan marshmallows (oh, yes), chocolate and a selection of vegan cakes all on offer here. In fact, Roots and Fruits is one of those vegan dining destinations that simply must go on your bucket list. It’s worth noting that vegetarian society members get 15 per cent off their bill here!
The Gate in London – Vegetarian and Vegan
Have you ever eaten an aubergine schnitzel, truffled vegan eggs or a filled courgette flower? If you’ve been to The Gate you may well have, and this is the calibre of the vegan offering at one of London’s favourite vegetarian restaurant. Adrian and Michael Daniels are the creative brothers behind this veggie paradise and their passion for vegetarian cuisine runs deep, going back to their childhood. These modest lads claim they just cook what they like to eat, but the rave reviews and awards that have been pouring just highlight how special this restaurant is.
The Green Kitchen in St Albans — Vegetarian and Vegan
This is St Albans only veggie café and these guys not only serve up fabulous veggie and vegan food, they have made a commitment to work as green as possible. The interior is cosy and quirky as a result of up-cycling furniture and making use of the greenest, most eco-friendly methods of decking out what is an adorable café worthy of a visit this month. This is a fab venue for a great vegan all-day breakfast and if you’ve been hankering for a vegan sausage roll, this is the place to get it.
Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen in Bath – Vegetarian and Vegan
Tucked away down a pretty, cobbled street in historic Bath sits a darling little restaurant, welcoming you in with soft candlelight and a relaxed atmosphere. For somewhere to really let the cares of every day go and indulge in amazing food, this has got to be it. It’s a romantic venue so if you’re planning a date or special occasion this month I would highly recommend booking a spot here – and ordering the vegan chocolate torte for dessert to share, it’s divine.
Café Kino in Bristol – Vegan
Café Kino is Bristol’s own all-vegan independent café. That means that lasagne, cottage pie and their famous stacked-high burgers are all on the menu and you don’t have to worry about asking for the ingredients list. There’s a chilled out atmosphere and it’s a great place to catch up with friends, or even take up drawing with a life-drawing class.
Terre a Terre in Brighton – Vegetarian and Vegan
Another institution on our veggie culinary map, Terre a Terre has been serving diners for over 20 years. When it comes to clean cuisine and ethical business practice, Terre a Terre has been blazing the trail for decades. The food served is exquisite always pushing the boundaries. This is a brilliant place to pick up presents too, as they have their own range of chutneys, nibbles, jams and other edibles that feature on their menu, all made in-house by the chef.