Hey hey! It's time for a roundup post of my favourite people, plates and places in London for vegans in the summer. I've been freelance and mishing about the city for a full three months now, so it felt like a good excuse to make a huge batch of recommendations for anyone headed this way soon, or already living here and wanting a few new places to try. If you've got other tips, leave 'em below!
N.B. I’ve added as many Instagram and Twitter accounts as I can find as this is alwaaayysss (okay, usually always) the best place to check before headed off to see your new fave day makers. Don’t get caught out in some industrial park off an Edmonton ring road because someone needed a weekend off- no-one wants that! 💛💛💛
The past seven days (ish) have been a non-stop food fest! I kicked it off with a trip to Cook Daily in Shoreditch's Boxpark with my friend Phoebe. We both ordered the hard bowl and I went with a pea flower tea on the side. I know there's plenty of hype about King's cooking but this food was just stand-out. The wholemeal dumplings were RIDIC. If you haven't been yet, the entire menu is vegan and although it's a bit pricier than what I'd usually spend at a street food-style-set up, the staff are super friendly and it's so filling you aren't left wanting anything else.
@kingcookdaily for Twitter and Insta
I continued the food-athon with my first shifts at Club Mexicana this weekend. It was so much fun working the other side of the stand, and I feel like I learnt so much just from this weekend alone- and as a burrito GEEK that takes a lot. It was great to spend some time working for a vegan business that takes everything you believe in so seriously, and where you can actually eat something on the menu during your lunch break! Here's the nachos I went for at the end of my shift by Saturday. Club Mexicana will be at Street Feast down in Lewisham in August so come along, it's usually a bit of a meat fest and so it's great to have an entirely vegan stand there!
@ClubMexicana for Twitter and Insta
Finally, on Monday I was invited down to The Moveable Feast at London Bridge. TMF is an entirely vegetarian pop-up emporium. Imagine one large store space with lots of different street food traders and a communal area to eat and drink. If you’re a regular at Borough Market you’ll know it can be a tricky place to navigate as a vegan, and I love the fact that at TMF, I can walk in and chat to the stall holders, and they’re always happy to point out which things on their menu are vegan (usually the majority!).
One of the two new traders I got to meet on Monday were Horn OK Please, who serve moong dal dosa and bhel puri, but it’s the pani puri I’ve just realised they also serve, AKA MY FAVOURITE FOOD IN THE WORLD [Woah. Looks like I’d better head back to TMF]. I'd never tried dosas before despite always spotting them in restaurants (they're so huge they're usually hard to miss) and being intrigued.
I got talking to Sandhya about all things Indian street food (I forgot to discuss pani puri, what was I thinking??!) and she managed to make two dosas while explaining where their name comes from- Horn Please is what people would write on their vans to ask drivers to let them know when they are about to overtake, and OK stands for On Kerosene, warning drivers that their van is highly flammable. There’s some queue-friendly trivia if ever I heard it.
@horn_please for Twitter and Insta
Sara from Pomodoro E Basilico is the first vegan Italian I’ve ever met, so it was wonderful to chat to her about how her Mum discovered a vegan recipe for egg-style custard- (it’s staying a secret for now I’m afraid!) and her pudding of crispy apple chips and vanilla custard with chocolate sauce was incredible. Sara also runs the vegan pizza stand up in Camden so even if you’re north of the river there’s no excuse to go hungry.
@pomodoro_e_basilico and @PomoBasilico for Twitter
It was also wonderful to finally meet El, the woman behind TMF, as their opening night was so popular it was hard to make out anyone in the crowd. The whole place is a great first step in making London a friendlier place for vegans and vegetarians, and by having everyone under one roof, you're always likely to be able to try something different on your lunch hour, or swing by at the weekend for one of the supper clubs or brunches they hold. Such a lovely evening to be a part of, thank you for inviting us!
@feastonthemove for Twitter and Insta
As for some other tips, here’s what else I’ve been up to since the months turned from April to May and June to July…
Peckham mainstay buddy Alice told me about the wonderful world of VagaBundo a few months back, and although I’ve only managed one trip down, it was the best breakfast in London that I have had in a long, long while, and so refreshing to be handed a plateful of food you’re not that sure of and to just delve right in. Their brunch bar is sat way back behind the Bussey Building in Copeland Park, making it kinda tricky to find if you don’t know where you’re headed, but also perfect if you’re sick of waiting for LAWD KNOWS how long to eat fried bread at the weekend, as it's still off the beaten track (by about 3ft).
I went for a veganised refried beans with cassava pancake and jackfruit. The good folks at VagaBundo also do lots of things with Ali Baba Juice and are at Bold Tendencies this summer, AKA the best way to spend a Peckham eve. All in, these guys know how to a) run a social media account that’s actually funny b) mix a great Bloody Mary, so by my life standards, they’re already winning. Find an excuse to be in Peckham one weekend if you’re not waking up there already, and get to VagaBundo.
@os_vagabundos // @alibabajuice
Another plate of food I fell for was actually one I made (cringgggee) but you guys! It was something new and different for us! We happened upon some last minute tickets to Field Day thanks to Naomi and Mark living their best lives, so I decided to make a quick breakfast for Amelie who would join us for the Field Day pre-game.
One thing led to another and before I knew it I was researching Ital recipes on the way home and switching up the usual fry-up ideas for something fresher and unknown.
Admittedly this wasn’t the most authentic Ital breakfast ever made, but it was so much fun cooking with callaloo and tofu scramble ackee-style, that I hope to be perfecting these recipes a bit more over summer. Amelie bought piña coladas and ruined us all by 11am. That’s about the last thing anyone knows for sure.
Second to last-discovery was Leon’s Gobi, which is £3.50 for a box of delicious cauliflower curry with rice, and TBQFH is some of the cheapest food you’ll find Spitalfields/Shoreditch High Street way these days, so if you’re looking at a cheap option around those parts*, I’d say GER FER ITTT.
Found the recipe here!
*Anyone that wants to prove me wrong on this, please go ahead!
Finally, in picnic-related news, Amelie discovered bringing a bin bag full of ice and beer to a pre-gig dinner in an East London park might not work so well logistically, but the end results were bang on. Lentils and lettuce with salad dressing and a cold IPA. Now there’s a night.