Plant-based diets are gaining in popularity, with one in eight Brits now choosing to follow a vegan or vegetarian diet.
We’re becoming increasingly aware of the impact our diets have on the Earth, and restaurants across the UK are including more plant-based choices on their menus – even fast-food chains such as McDonald’s are getting in on the game with the launch of their first vegan burger.
When dining out, vegans are no longer forced to choose from dull tofu dishes or limp salads that were often an afterthought on the menu – there is now an assortment of awesome eateries that focus on delicious dishes designed for those who prefer a plant-based diet.
We’ve been taking a look at the variety of vegan options available – and have brought them together to highlight the very best vegan restaurants in the UK.
The Green Loft, Northampton
Set in on the top floor of a collection of eateries known as Chilli Village, The Green Loft is a botanical paradise – with rustic décor, plenty of greenery and an extensive menu that has been curated with vegan diners in mind.
The menu is incredibly varied with a choice of ten main courses, including a choice of three vegan burgers – beetroot, spicy bean of the chef’s Glory Quarter Pounder – all served with vegan bacon, vegan cheese, chips and salad.
Friday night is traditionally ‘Fish and Chip Friday’ and The Green Loft delivers a hearty portion of the nation’s favourite dish – with a plant-based twist. The vegan fish fillet is encased in a beer and vodka tempura batter and served with chunky chips and fabulous mushy peas.
Feast on beetroot borani with dill and pomegranate molasses and oyster mushroom skewers marinated in tamari, agave and coriander seeds, at Bubala, a Middle Eastern food hub that caters for vegan and vegetarian diners.
Located in Spitalfields, Bubala also serves a quirky ‘Bubala Knows Best’ menu, which delivers a set menu for £35 per head, that allows you to sample the very best dishes created by the chefs. Dine on Violino pumpkin and braised dandelion, or fried aubergine served with date syrup and zhoug – a hot sauce of peppers, coriander and garlic that has its roots in Yemeni cuisine.
For the perfect vegan eating experience, book a table at the Michelin-starred Simpsons, which offers a plant-based menu alongside its full menu. Chef Leo Kattou has appeared on Masterchef: The Professionals and has designed a vegan tasting menu that is a true taste sensation.
Sample a six-course menu that includes heritage beetroot served with sunflower seeds, horseradish, sorrel and watercress, followed by cauliflower risotto with crispy onions and black garlic – and complete your dining experience with a chocolate and black cherry delice served with cherry sorbet.
The tasting menu requires a 24-hour notice period and costs £115 per person, which is excellent value for this outstanding vegan dining experience.
Go Falafel, Manchester
Go Falafel, as its name suggests, focuses on a favourite Middle Eastern dish. The team use recipes which spans back generations to deliver falafel based dishes that make the most of seasonal ingredients.
The menu is as simple as the food is delicious, with a choice of falafel wraps, hummus platters and a flavoursome Lunch Box that contains a selection of their fresh salads, four pieces of falafel and chunks of flatbread.
Rice-stuffed vine leaves and a bulgar wheat Tabouleh are also on the menu, which was designed by founder Rajab Shamallakh, who started the chain. Go Falafel also has eateries in Liverpool and London, to share Rajab’s love of the flavours – and nutritional values – of Middle Eastern food.
Dishroom, Edinburgh, London and Manchester
Dishroom is an independent chain of restaurants that celebrates Bombay-style cuisine. The restaurants pay homage to old Irani cafes in both their décor and dishes. The ethically-minded eaterie also donates a meal to a child who would otherwise go hungry for every meal served – which is just one good reason to pay a visit to Dishroom.
The all-day plant-based menu includes the hearty Vegan Bombay Breakfast, with tofu akuri, plant-based sausages and vegan black pudding, accompanied by grilled field mushrooms, masala beans, tomatoes and home-made vegan buns.
Dessert lovers are in for an exceptional treat – a must-try dish is the Kala Khatta Gola Ice, which is a serving of ice flakes, steeped in kokum fruit syrup, lime, blueberries, chilli and black salt. Sounds bizarre – but you’ll be hooked from the first spoonful!
The Small Holding, Kent
Nestled in the glorious countryside in the village of Cranbrook, The Small Holding is a new addition to the Good Food Guide for 2021.
The food is served from farm to plate and all ingredients that are not produced on the farm are grown locally, or foraged from the surrounding hedgerows.
The extensive menus change daily according to what is in season. There are plant-based versions of The Small Holding’s 10-course Full Acre tasting menus, plus a vegan three-course lunch option for £20.
While you are deciding from the daily menu, you can nibble on The Small Holding’s homemade bread served with a vibrant yellow Kentish rapeseed oil.
Salt House Tapas, Liverpool
If thoughts of tapas conjure up images of chorizo and seafood – then think again. Salt House Tapas have created a vegan twist on traditional tapas with 11 tempting dishes to choose from.
The Salt House’s homemade hummus with maple caramelised onions and pomegranate and mint pesto, served with crisp bread is one of the best dishes on the tapa menu, alongside a sauteed wild mushroom croute with ponzu (a zingy Asian-style) citrus sauce dressing.
The ethical restaurant is keen to give back to the community too, supporting local charities and Action Against Hunger – and have raised over £25,000 for these worthy causes. Great vegan food and a company that believes in doing good – what more could plant-based diners ask for!