Are London’s best vegetarian restaurants necessary?
For all their singularity, vegetarian food is now so mainstream that most London restaurants offer good vegetarian options — and even entire menus; vegetarians find it easier than ever to dine out with omnivore friends. That mainstreaming sits alongside the sharp rise of veganism, which leads to a sharp rise in vegan restaurants, which are not the same as vegetarian restaurants and often more attuned to — or entirely controlled by — current meat-free trends.
These two things actually explain why vegetarian restaurants are so important. First, mainstream restaurants may unwittingly use ingredients with hidden meat or fish in dishes, such as cheeses with animal rennet, gelatine, lard, chicken stock, fish sauce and so on. Vegetable dishes may be cooked in the same pan as meat, as any vegetarian eating chips that taste vaguely of chicken knows.
Additionally, fellow diners may unthinkingly dip their forks and chopsticks into shared dishes when eating out with vegetarians. And while omnivores are able to eat meat-free small plates from a shared menu, vegetarians cannot eat their counterparts, which can lead to awkward situations. And many vegetarians don’t want the processed nut cheeses, non-dairy milks, egg substitutes and meat substitutes of vegan restaurants.
This round-up of London’s best vegetarian restaurants is centred first and foremost on places that serve good food; even the few here that have ‘wellness’ or sustainability at their heart shine with superb cooking. Restaurants that focus on single cuisines have been deliberately left out, otherwise the list would just be dominated by Indian restaurants and falafel joints.Read More