When I became a vegetarian a few years ago I thought I was going to struggle not eating meat, especially since I’m Italian and my family pretty much had some type of meat or fish with every meal. Even though I knew it would be difficult I did it because I could not advocate for animal right and protecting the environment when eating meat was the main cause for those problems; I would have been a hypocrite fighting for those issues while inhaling a burger or a steak. I also gave up meat for my health, it still baffles me that there’s still so many people who consume a ridiculous amount of meat on a weekly basis, especially those who have no idea what it does to the body, the risk of cancer and heart disease alone sky rockets if you’re eating a huge amount of meat on a weekly basis. Now this isn’t a post about me ranting about the meat industry and promoting being vegetarian or vegan but rather about some of my fav veggie spots in the London. One of my biggest concerns when I gave meat and fish was eating out and socializing, for some reason I had it stuck in my head that I would be forced to eat bread/pasta at every restaurant and give up burger and fries forever! Thankfully London has so many veggie and vegan restaurants that I probably wouldn’t be able to try them all these are just few of my fav spots.Farmacy – 74 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5SH
A friend who has been a vegetarian since she was 7 and started being vegan when she was 17 first introduced me to this veggie/vegan restaurant; needless to say she knew what she was talking about. Firstly, the restaurant was gorgeous inside, I mean fine dining nice, it was no hipster café, which is what I was expecting… horrible I know but at this time I was still new to the veggie scene. The meal at Farmacy literally took my breath away; I couldn’t believe how great the food was without using any animal products. My go to dishes for brunch are the house pancakes, which are made with buckwheat flour served with fresh fruit, coconut ‘yoghurt’ chia berry jam and maple syrup and the Eggs Florentine. My go to lunch or dinner dishes would have to be the sweet potato falafels and the Mexican bowl, which has coriander rice, romaine, guacamole, frijoles, tomato ceviche, salsa and sour cream topped with purple potato mash, corn chips and chipotle mayo, my mouth is watering just thinking of this ‘Earth bowl.’ Not only is all the food animal cruelty free and helping the planet but it’s also delicious.
Take a look at the menu here – farmacylondon.com
Black Cat Café – 76 Clarence Rd, London E5 8HB
This self-proclaimed bohemian vegan café is one my favourite veggie spots in Hackney, and it’s not only because I love the name! I found this spot by doing what I do best…looking up food on Instagram; after seeing all the delicious food pictures being posted I knew I needed to try Black Cat! As soon as you walk into the café you feel a sense of calm and you smell the delicious food, what I was surprised to learn when I got there was that the menu is constantly changing which is great because it feels like every time you drop by you’re vising the restaurant for the first time! One of my biggest worries was giving up burgers and fries when I became veggie but Black Cat has me covered since one my fav dish would have to be the bean burger.
Lele’s – 50 Lower Clapton Rd, E5 0RN
I only recently discovered this hidden gem in Hackney and it was a complete by accident, I was going for my usual stroll and I saw coffee and delicious salad through the window and I needed to walk in. At Lele’s they want to satisfy everyone so their menu is vegetarian and vegan with options for gluten free eaters as well; I also love the fact that they are dog lovers and all dogs are welcomed which makes this café even better because I could have an amazing salad and be with dogs all day! When I drop by Lele’s I always got for the salads, which have never failed me; who ever said you can’t make friends with salad clearly did not have a salad from Lele’s!
Take a look at the menu here https://www.leleslondon.com/menu
I don’t want to end on a rant but if you are a meat eater my only piece of advice would be to know what’s in your food and if you know all the information and you still want to eat meat then power to you, but keep in mind there are plenty of veggie/vegan options for us veggies out there. London is one of the best cities in the world when it come to veggie/vegan options and restaurants and I never feel like I’m missing out on anything. Every time I chose not eat meat or fish I know I’m saving a life and also playing my part in saving the planet, what I tell myself is that it’s not about the grand over the top gestures but the little acts of kindness that keep the world spinning. If everyone simply decreased their meat and fish consumption the world would be a happier and healthier place.