According to the British Turkey website, the UK consumes a mind-blowing 10 million or so turkeys over the Christmas period – and that’s as well as all the geese, ducks, cows and pigs whose meat is eaten in a traditional festive meal. Now that January is approaching, maybe it’s time to rein in our consumption of animal products and resolve to try a vegan diet. The Veganuary website provides lots of helpful information and recipes, and we’ve put together a list of some great places to eat a delicious, healthy and cruelty-free meal out.
Venues for Veganuary
In a tranquil side street near Bath’s much-visited Abbey and Roman baths, Acorn is a destination in its own right, not just for vegetarians and vegans but for anyone who enjoys sharing delicious dishes that have been lovingly prepared from fresh, local ingredients. The menu is designed for three to five plates per person, with optional wine pairings, allowing you to sample a variety of dishes. Acorn is listed in The Good Food Guide 2016 and was awarded Best Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant by the vegan charity Viva!
Thanks to Asparagasm’s creative vegan and gluten-free plates, smiley service and an inspiring cocktail list, you’ll be more than happy to eat your greens here. Health-food enthusiasts will delight in the imaginative superfood salads, fresh soups, stews and seasonal specials that adorn the tempting and ever-evolving menu. Asparagasm also organises a variety of events such as a five-course fine dining experience, nut mylk workshops and tapas nights.
Beau’s Kitchen is a wonderful wholefood store and vegetarian café, where a treasure trove of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and organic produce can be enjoyed. Healthy eating doesn’t mean deprivation, as one look around Beau’s Kitchen will show you. The shelves downstairs are stacked with a colourful array of quality artisan goodies, from organic fruit and veg to quality wine, while upstairs you’ll find the vegetarian café, where you can order delicious, guilt-free lunches.
Everything served at this diminutive Hertfordshire café is entirely vegan, from the milk in your morning coffee to the three courses in their monthly themed supper club. Breakfast is available all day and includes lots of gluten-free options, while lunch features super-healthy wraps, salads, nachos and meze. There’s also an impressive range of fresh juices and superfood smoothies and an appealing kids’ menu.
The Gardeners Arms is a vegetarian’s dream – a traditional English pub where every dish on the menu is meat-free. That’s not to say vegetarian and vegan diners shouldn’t bring their carnivorous companions along too, though; the dishes are so downright tasty that they’ll impress even the most devoted meat-eater. The bar stocks an excellent range of local ale and wine to accompany your vegetarian feast.
Founded in Hammersmith in 1989, The Gate proved so successful that further branches have been opened in Islington and Seymour Place. At all three you’ll find delicious seasonal vegetarian and vegan options galore, plus a large helping of creativity. The online menu can be filtered by dietary requirement or allergen and it includes an impressively international mix of dishes. There’s an alluring list of vegan and vegetarian wine and beer that features some organic and biodynamic options too.
This unassuming little café in St Albans is not only 100-per-cent vegetarian; it is now largely vegan too. It serves freshly cooked food to order, including falafels, homemade hummus, seasonal soups, pasta and salads, and a very popular all-day veggie breakfast. Cakes and sweet things are always available, none of which contain eggs or dairy. The Green Kitchen also prides itself on being environmentally friendly, with furniture and equipment sourced from local charities.
The Old School Vegetarian Restaurant is a hot spot for herbivores and has an ethos of serving real food made from organic produce, cooked and prepared using authentic and traditional methods. Cuba is the inspiration for the decor and, in large part, the menu, with an abundance of fresh salads, quesadillas, gourmet wraps, burgers and delicious sides available to choose from. Many of the menu items are vegan or are available as vegan options.
Much Indian food is, of course, vegetarian or vegan, but at the Vegetarian Food Studio it all is. This family-run eatery has won awards for its vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes hailing from various regions in India, and its popularity continues to grow year on year. All the dishes are wonderful value, and there is the option to bring your own alcohol. Take away is available and they are due to launch a lunchtime tiffin service too.
One of the first vegetarian restaurants to open in Brighton, Wai Kika Moo Kau is still going strong after more than 20 years. Today it also offers vegan options aplenty, with an entirely vegan dessert range, and can cater for pretty much every allergy under the sun, tailoring dishes to specific dietary needs. The menu features the likes of halloumi wraps, tapas platters, nachos and burritos, and you can even enjoy an organic vegan cider.