It’s January, meaning the thought of yet another decadent cheeseboard or multiple meat roast might just leave you gagging for the greens.
If so, maybe it’s time to turn January into Veganuary.
The New Year’s hottest food trend is encouraging foodies to ditch the animal products and go totally vegan for the first month of 2018, with restaurants across the capital rolling out plentiful plant-based fare to inspire vegan newbies.
So whether you’re looking to make a real change to how you eat or are just battling the post-Christmas bloat, get stuck into the meat-free menus popping up around the capital this month.
Yard Sale Pizza x Biff’s Jack Shack
Veganuary doesn’t mean you can’t indulge every once in a while. Yard Sale Pizza are teaming up with vegan junk food connoisseurs Biff’s Jack Shack to fly the flag for the naughtier side of meat-and-dairy-free living. From 15 January to February 11, Yard Sale Pizza will be serving a special vegan pizza (see above), topped with Biff’s crispy fried jackfruit (a fruit commonly used as a meat substitute), buffalo and blue “cheese” sauces, slaw, coriander and a “yoghurt” dressing.
Ella Mills, aka plant-based diet guru Deliciously Ella, broke records with her debut cookbook. If you don’t feel like cooking tonight, Mills also has you covered with her growing portfolio of London delis – two in the West End and The Kitchen Counter in Herne Hill. This Veganuary, you can pick up the latest additions to the menu in the form of two new Smoothie Bowls: the Acai Bowl (acai, banana, blueberries and almond milk, topped with granola, peanut butter and more banana) and the Green Smoothie Bowl (spinach, banana, strawberries and coconut milk, topped with granola, coconut chips and dried strawberries), as well as a new menu of nut milks and juice shots.
You can find a plethora of plant-based dishes, drinks and treats at this Notting Hill eatery the whole year round. Nutrition is the name of the game at Farmacy, so it will come as little surprise that you can tick off all of your five a day in a single sitting. Grabbing a Macro Bowl for lunch provides a meal packed with avocado, seaweed, sauerkraut, steamed greens and sweet potato, served with quinoa and a miso ginger dressing or, if you're still feeling festive, pick up their Winter Bowl with spiced rice, whipped squash, red cabbage, a celeriac remoulade, winter spiced activated seeds and solid serving of charred brussel sprouts.
You thought Japanese food was all raw fish? Not necessarily, and certainly not at YO! Sushi, where the restaurant chain will be adding three vegan dishes to its conveyor belt in celebration of Veganuary, each costing just £2.80. The additions include a green gyoza made with spinach and filled with vegetables, crispy cauliflower marinated in spices and topped with red chilli and a hot agedashi tofu dish with ponzu sauce, daikon, ginger and spring onions that contains just 86 kcal.
At Essence Cuisine, food is “fuel for life”. Since opening in September 2017, this Shoreditch spot has extolled the nutritional virtues of a plant-based diet through the expertise of founder Matthew Kenney, an LA chef and bestselling author. On January 15, the restaurant will be hosting a talk by nutritionist Jodie Abrahams, followed by a two-course meal of Essence Cuisine’s raw pad Thai followed by lime "cheesecake". Tickets are £35 per person and attendees will also get a goodie bag to take away. You can book tickets here.
Indian-inspired street food purveyor Rola Wala is famed for its flavour-packed naan rolls, but this January the Spitalfields restaurant is packing its latest offering with plant-powered protein. The Rebel Spice Bowl offers vegan, gluten-free black bean noodles as a replacement for the naan base, onto which hungry customers can pile vegan toppings, including Keralan chickpeas, red channa dal or sweet potato saagwala.
Vegan goes international in Kensal Rise at Comptoir V, a vegan restaurant that takes inspiration from the best meat-free dishes found around the world. From January 3, the restaurant will be running a special "Meet Feast" four-course tasting menu providing a meat- and dairy-free take on some non-vegan favourites, including tempura "shrimp", barbecue mushroom "ribs", vegan mac and cheese and an Oreo "cheesecake". Throughout January, diners can take on a timed "hot wings" eating contest to win a three-course meal at the restaurant and curious vegans can also take part in a Q&A with head chef Michael Ninvalle on January 10.
Four Hundred Rabbits x Pip & Nut
If you go nuts for pizza, you'll be pleased to hear that you can pick up a peanut butter pizza at Four Hundred Rabbits' two London restaurants this Veganuary in collaboration with nut-butter producers Pip & Nut. Its sourdough base is topped with squash pesto, roasted beetroot, chickpeas, crispy onions, celery and sultanas, all sprinkled over a good lashing of Pip & Nut’s Crunchy Maple Peanut Butter.