And just like that, Veganuary is back, promising a month of lion mane mushrooms, Linda McCartney sausages and vats of hummus.
Should you choose to swap the comfort of a home-cooked Quorn nugget for eating out, Foodism has your back – because there's nothing worse than going out for dinner with your pals and being stuck with a drab stuffed pepper.
London unsurprisingly has a lot of great spots to satisfy meatless appetites, including some with menus designed specifically for veganuary. And don't you worry, we've sifted through the leathery portabello mushrooms and drab nut roasts, so you don't have to.
From wood-fired vegan tasting menus and oyster mushroom shawarmas to plant-based pasta and veg-packed curries – these are the best vegan restaurants to try this Veganuary.
Best vegan restaurants to try this Veganuary
Acme Fire Cult
Abbot Street, E8 2LX
While a wood-fired restaurant may not initially scream vegan, Acme Fire Cult tends to tip these stereotypes on their heads, with plenty of flame-kissed veg on the menu throughout the year. Plus, it has launched a five-course Veganuary menu cooked on the restaurant's outdoor grill this January. The menu features lip-smacking dishes like coal roast leeks with pistachio romesco, tandoori celeriac with cashew cream, and chocolate ganache with boozy prunes – plus diners can enjoy fully vegan beers brewed on-site at neighbouring 40FT Brewery to wash it down with.
Navigating the parmesan, egg and guanciale-filled world of pasta can be difficult with vegan oars, but Pastaio makes it a breeze with its dedicated year-round vegan menu, serving up plant-based takes on Italian antipasti, pasta and puds. Plus, this Veganuary, it’s teamed up with vegan cooking legend Meera Sodha to offer guests a limited-edition dish of kimchi, tomato and sesame spaghetti that promises to put some fire into a dreary January evening.
5 Princes Street, W1B 2LQ
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Billing itself as a mostly vegan kitchen, Tendril is a go-to throughout the year for a meat-free meal, but is the perfect spot for first-timers who want to get a feel for the breadth and variety a vegan diet can offer. The ‘discovery’ tasting menu will serve to convince even the most steadfast of carnivores, plus to celebrate Veganuary, it's opening for brunch every Saturday and Sunday from midday.
105 Upper Street, N1 1QN
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Ask any Londoner their favourite Chinese restaurant, and it’s likely Xi’an Impression will be thrown into the mix. Recognising the opportunity to offer up the cult favourites and punchy flavours for an entirely plant-based audience, Tofu Vegan was born – transforming dishes from the original without any skerrick of an animal product, and a hell of a lot of bean curd and tofu to boot. And yet, nothing feels like a sad replica of its meat or fish containing sibling, but rather a just as delicious cousin.
You’ll never find meat on the menu at Bubala, and you probably won’t miss it either. The Middle Eastern restaurant is entirely vegetarian, and largely vegan, too, with a number of dishes on the menu being entirely plant-based. Eschewing processed and often environmentally-questionable meat alternatives, Bubala instead highlights seasonal and high-quality vegetables, like Chinese cabbage with preserved lime and cardamom and charred oyster mushroom skewers with tamari, coriander seed and agave – a dish so moreish and gratifying that it would win out against many carnivorous alternatives.
66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA
Fungus fanatic? Head down to The Aubrey and try its mushroom menu this January. The eight-dish feast features seven vegan plates (and one vegetarian) all focussed around mushrooms – including crispy shimeji tempura, portabello and mushroom duxelles sando, shiitake, portobello and king oyster mushroom fried rice. A spread this good doesn’t leave mush-room for dessert, but you must give the erengi niwa a whirl – made from chocolate, black truffle umeshu, black sesame paste, green apple purée and matcha powder.
470 Kingsland Road, E8 4AE
Although the Klipschorn speakers, killer cocktails and natural wine put Brilliant Corners on the map, it's a great spot to get your vegan fix. There's an entirely plant-based version of the Japanese izakaya-inspired set menu featuring six courses, including king oyster mushroom with edamame purée and shichimi, aubergine, beetroot, kombu and courgette tartare and an unmissable miso aubergine. As with any visit to Brilliant Corners, come for the food and stay for a boogie.
There's no more dismal metaphor than a cheeseless pizza, but thank the lord Crust Bros are making sure that isn't a thing this January. Their Veganuary special 'Veduja Really Like It' combines Stracciazza (a creamy, vegan take on traditional stracciatella from Purezza) with veduja, tomato, fresh basil and lemon zest to rival any meat feast. Crust us; it's a winner.
A feast of dim sum is probably the most effective antidote for the January blues, and now you can do it vegan-style at Baozilnn. With plenty of plant-based versions of the favourites, including vegan siu mai, tofu dumplings, jiaozi and fermented chilli buns, plus bigger dishes like veggie dan dan noodles and king oyster mushroom skewers, cutting out carcasses has never tasted so good. Head to spots in London Bridge or Soho to get your fix.
92-93 Chapel Market, N1 9EX
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We feel it is our duty to include Indian Veg on this list with a bit of a prior warning: just because it's all-you-can-eat doesn't mean you should eat everything you physically can. Equally, just because this restaurant is BYO, doesn't mean you should drink a whole bottle of corners shop sauvignon alongside funneling inhuman amounts of ridiculously good vegan curry down your throat because, well, you can see where a problem might be encountered (and the toilet bowl may become a little stained). Learn from our mistakes: take a couple of great beers, and indulge in what is a ridiculously good value buffet with some of the best vegan food in town. Oh, and should you be wavering from your vegan commitments, the decor (which features a range of articles, posters and general paraphernalia promoting a vegetarian diet) is sure to set you back on the right track.
27 Uxbridge Street, W8 7TQ
Akub serves up a bountiful vegan-friendly feast 365 days a year. The menu showcases plant-based Palestinian favourites like red lentil moutabal, dagga ghazzawieh (chopped tomatoes with green chilli, dill garlic and lemon), sheikh el mahshi (baby aubergines with pickled herbs and walnuts) and freekeh risotto with saffron and pine nuts – all mopped up with plenty of fluffy za'atar bread and nigella seed crackers of course. Plus, there’s lots on the menu to cater to meat and fish eaters alike, so take your pals here, and everyone's a winner.
Mildreds has been a haunt for plant-based palates for over 35 years – but this Veganuary, they've gone the extra mile with a curated Caribbean-inspired menu to celebrate. 'The Caribbean Edit', which is available on weekdays, includes delicious morsels like plantain tostones with lime sour cream and mango chow, trini corn soup, brown stew marinated chick'n skewers with rice and peas and a decadent coquito tres leche to finish. Can't get down for dinner? Stop by before 11 am to bag a vegan churro French toast and start your day with welly.
Sister to Mildreds, Mallow is the fancy sibling serving up four special pan-Asian plates for the month of Veganuary. All inspired by fireworks, the dishes include a mango passion golgappi with charcoal chaat masala, black sesame shiitake toast with charcoal brioche, a pumpkin khao soi served with fried plantain, and an ube parfait with pandan coconut anglaise to finish. Those doing dry or damp January can also raise a glass because there's a no-and-low cocktail selection, including Lapsang Michelada with Pentire adrift, sweet spice infusion, Lucky Saint and rare tea lapsang souchong; or the Coastal Spritz with Pentire aperitif and artisan skinny tonic. Cheers to that!
19-21 Blandford Street, W1U 3DJ
This January, legendary author and chef patron of Jikoni, Ravinder Bhogal, has introduced an updated Farm Fresh set-lunch menu. The vegetarian menu, with plenty of plant-based options, shines a light on the top-notch produce delivered from Jikoni’s biodynamic farm partner, Waltham Farm. From vegan showstoppers like aubergines with Sichuan caramel and sticky garlic rice, butternut squash pakoras and soy keema buns to flavour-packed puds like banana cake with peanut brittle and pear and saffron cake, this menu proves that plant-based plates are just as devourable.