Lunching-Healthy restaurant server aprons

London is a great place to dine out, because the sheer size of the British capital city is matched by its huge variety of restaurants. Serving all kinds of budgets and featuring cuisine from around the world, there really is something for everyone.

That increasingly includes vegetarian and vegan options, for the number of Britons enjoying a plant-based diet has grown significantly and there is no sign of this stopping. There will be plenty of restaurant server aprons in London that will never see a hint of meat on them.

If anyone wants to know the state of vegetarian dining in London, there is no better time than now, with the UK’s National Vegetarian Week taking place from May 15th-21st.

Marking the event, the London Evening Standard produced its own guide to the best vegetarian establishments in the capital, noting that: “Long gone are the days when a herbivore could go hungry in London,” as restaurants are not just offering meals for them but, in some cases, have gone exclusively down the plant-based road.

Among the places it tipped as best for vegetarians is Bubala, a Middle Eastern establishment in Spitalfields, with its hummus and char-grilled cabbage. 

Then there is Yard Sale Pizza, which has outlets across London. Lahpet, with its salads and noodles, has recently opened a West End branch after being established for a few years in the east at Bethnal Green.

For fans of Mexican food, Mestizo near Euston Station or the West End’s Club Mexicana are the places to go, while Fallow near Piccadilly Circus offers sustainable vegetarian fare that will provide a great meal before a night at one of the West End’s theatres. Rovi is another fine West End choice.

Mesi’s Kitchen and Tofu Vegan are great north London options, while south of the river there is Mr Bao in Peckham.

However, the paper notes, these and other restaurants in the list are far from the sum total of London’s vegetarian scene. Indeed, it noted that there have actually been some closures of vegetarian restaurants. 

This is not because vegetarianism is on the wane, even if some cynics might want to think so. Instead, it is a result of significant competition in the marketplace.

Moreover, it observed that some of this comes from a growing array of establishments that serve both meat and vegetarian dishes, which means some vegetarians will be as likely to choose a mainstream restaurant as an exclusively plant-based one.

As the Vegetarian Society notes, surveys have shown that 4.5 per cent of the UK population now has a vegetarian or vegan diet, amounting to over three million adults. 

In addition, 17 per cent of Britons ate less meat in 2019 than they did in 2008, while the value of the plant-based market in Britain is set to increase from £3.9 billion in 2019 to £6.6 billion in 2025.

The latter figure may be significant as it could be a sign that some people will happily eat a vegetarian meal even if not giving up meat altogether. If so, the London vegetarian food scene will go on thriving.
June 08, 2023 — Jake Blakey