More London (Vegan) Food Recommendations

If you’ve been following my Instagram posts and stories, you’ll have seen that the past few days I was back to doing what I do best: eating my way through London like the hungriest of hungry caterpillars. My schedule for those 5 days was literally a list of people to catch up with, and places to eat at (luckily food and friends can easily be combined ;)).

While it’s always tempting to return to old favorites, I wanted to try some new places; and I am happy to say that they are all worth recommending. [For a much longer list of recommendations for plant-based food in London, check out my Ultimate Guide].

 

Cupcakes & Shhht

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This super cute fully vegan (and mostly gluten-free) cafe at The Artworks near Elephant & Castle is a must-visit for anyone looking for a relaxed breakfast and latte, tasty treat or crazy freakshake. I got there at 9 am and, as the first person there, snagged the cozy little outside seating area. Very much torn between the pancakes, pink waffles and peanut butter & jelly freakshake (!!), I ended up choosing the first (I can rarely resist pancakes). They were served with sliced bananas, berries, cinnamon, lots of luscious maple syrup and Oatley cream – every bite the ultimate comforting treat! I thoroughly enjoyed these with my rice milk matcha latte. And, never one to miss an opportunity for vegan dessert, I got a little chocolate cupcake with matcha frosting, to share with friends later. (We weren’t really able to taste the matcha, but it was wonderfully chocolatey and the perfect spongey texture).

Note – They also have a stall in Camden where you can get your hands on their goodies.

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Itadaki Zen

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Vegan authentic Japanese cuisine? Yes please! Shocking disclosure: I knew about this place for over a year, and even walked past it numerous times without noticing it (?!), and only just made it there. But let’s not dwell on the past. Just learn from my mistake and go there as soon as you can! My friend and I ordered up a feast – including various sushi rolls (not a boring cucumber roll in sight, may I just say), seaweed, miso soup and delicious adzuki bean and sesame puddings for dessert. It was a real treat, all in traditional Japanese style (don’t just take my word for it – my Japanese friend also gave it the thumb’s up 😉 ). Just don’t forget to make a reservation, at least on a Saturday evening.

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Vegan Express

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This place was a find by my lovely friend Leila (@_lifeofleila) who suggested we try it before getting ready for the HBC Health Blog Awards last Thursday. I’m so glad she did, as – located in an area I probably wouldn’t have passed through otherwise (near Tooting Broadway) – I  might have missed out on the biggest muffin ever 😀 But first things first: The menu is full of incredible-sounding savory dishes, from the black bean and broccoli burger, sweet and savory buckwheat waffles and a host of pizzas, to tea-smoked aubergine, grilled tandoori tofu and the wonderfully fresh and flavorsome quinoa, avocado, green bean and spinach salad I had. I have to admit though, that my attention was immediately grabbed by the display of mega-muffins, whose incredibly tall tops made them look like mushrooms that had just sprouted out of a fairytale. I ended up going for the double chocolate one for dessert. It was a teeny tad on the dry side, but very satisfying! (Is it just me, or are ‘proper’/not-super-dense vegan muffins hard to come by?).

 

Pop Brixton

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I only found out about this place thanks to the fabulous Kym (@brixtonfoodfiend) who – you may have guessed it – lives in that South London district. It reminded me of Box Park in Shoreditch (which I also recommend; in particular Cook Daily), and I love the indoor-outdoor, quirky and colorful feel to it all. Luckily I was spared the dilemma of choosing, by following the recommendations of local vegan foodie Kym. Accordingly, I went for the tofu ramen (ask for the egg-less noodles for a vegan option) and veggie dumplings from Koi Ramen Bar – both incredible! The dumplings were a dream – with a wonderfully crisp and golden bottom, and the ramen full of flavor. I messily slurped up every last noodle and every drop of delicious broth.

There are lots of other tempting options, including a Ghanaian place that was unfortunately closed (tip: don’t go on a Sunday).

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Boys ‘n’ Berry

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This is another one suggested by Leila, and as soon as I saw vegan pancakes on the menu I was more than eager to try it. However, long story short, the pancakes turned out not to be vegan after all. In a series of unfortunate events, not unlike something from a Greek tragedy, the online menu turned out to have been wrongly labeled (‘vg’ is actually vegetarian, and ‘v’ vegan), and my friend who kindly called to double check (strong suspicions were aroused in light of the eggs labeled as ‘vg’), was given wrong information by a member of staff. Hungry and eager for pancakes, it was a devastating blow to discover the mix-up on arrival. I have to say I am not at all impressed with the wrong labeling of the menu, the badly informed member of staff and the lack of a seemingly sincere apology. Also not impressed with how the mistake has not been rectified on the website. (Ok, I couldn’t keep it short, but it’s just too cruel to falsely promise a vegan pancake option!).

But why am I still recommending this place? The quinoa porridge (perfectly sweet, with berries and almond butter) and oat milk matcha latte I had were absolutely delicious, and I genuinely enjoyed both. Definitely going to try and recreate the former at home. My friends were also very pleased with their shakshuka And, as the place has a nice, trendy vibe, it’s definitely worth a mention.

Just *be warned* if you’re looking forward to a stack of plant-based pancakes – you’re at the wrong place. (For the perfect plant-based pancake fix go to Cupcakess & Shhht – see above – Farmacy or Redemption instead)

 

Pride Kitchen, Neal’s Yard

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Ok, this is not really a new place for me, as I’d been before and recommended it in my ultimate guide to London food spots. I’m mentioning it again because it’s had a menu change, and because the meal I had there was just so stunning that it deserves some extra love ❤ It’s a tiny, comfortable and fresh-feeling little place in the beautiful oasis that is Neal’s Yard (26 Grains and Wildfood Cafe nearby), with way too many delicious options on the menu to just go once. I went for the Green Feast – which truly was a feast, and also had some of my friend’s super tasty ‘carbonara’. As part of our dessert we shared a chocolate banana muffin, which was really yummy, and not too sweet. Oh and I almost forgot to mention the lattes! That would have been a crime. It was so hard deciding which to go for (raspberry rose latte anyone?), but I was incredibly happy with my fresh turmeric latte (the Golden Spice one is also turmeric, but with powdered instead of fresh), and also sipped some of the matcha latte with rose petals on top. Top marks for this place – it was an absolute treat from start to finish.

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Hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these places – It’s been wonderful reliving lots of delicious memories 😉 Let me know if you check them out, or if you have any recommendations of your own!

xoxo

Chickpea ‘Omelette’

I always love coming across new, exciting and – of course – yummy things to make. Best of all are those simple enough to easily become part of your regular food repertoire, but still special enough to make you excited every time 😉 I very much suspect this will be the case for me with this chickpea ‘omelette’ that I recently tried out for the first time, after hearing about it from my friend Amy.

Probably more of a farinata, if we’re being technical, this vegan ‘omelette’ is not only super simple, but also so satisfying, nourishing and filling. It’s also very adaptable, as you can flavor it any way you want and chuck in whatever ingredients you have lying around.

Here is my simple take on it, but feel free to let your imagination run wild! (I’m thinking a tahini drizzle, fresh coriander and pomegranate seeds for next time…)

 

Ingredients: (serves 1)

  • 80g chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup + 1-2 tbsp water
  • 1 heaped tsp ground flaxseeds
  • salt
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • dried chives
  • hot smoked paprika
  • assorted vegetables (I used zucchini, red and yellow peppers and some pumpkin)
  • Optional: hot smoked paprika, fresh rocket, more herbs, nutritional yeast (etc.)

 

Method:

  1. Whisk together the chickpea flour, water, ground flaxseeds and baking soda, and season with salt, cayenne pepper, chives (and any other herbs); set aside. The batter should be thickish, like pancake batter, but also runny enough so you it spreads around the pan.
  2. Thinly slice your veggies, add some oil to a non-stick frying pan and stir-fry them till just about cooked; tip out into a bowl. (Alternative: boil or steam).
  3. Add a bit more oil into the pan, and then pour in the chickpea flour mixture so that it forms a pancake. Turn down the heat and let cook for a few minutes (you’ll see the edges cooking through and bubbles starting to form).
  4. Add your veggies on top and let cook for longer. Cover the pan with a lid.
  5. Leave the omelette as is, and wait till the batter is fully cooked – you can then slide it off directly onto your plate, or fold it – or flip the omelette so it cooks quicker (which is what I did).
  6. Sprinkle some hot smoked paprika, more chives, nutritional yeast and fresh rocket on top. It’s also great with smashed avocado, and you can fold it to make yummy wraps.

Enjoy!

xoxo

 

Blackberry Vanilla Cake – The Zesty Lime

Hi guys 🙂

Today I’m sharing with you a recipe by my wonderful friend and gifted foodie Rebecca (you may know her gorgeous account: @thezestylime – if not, I highly recommend you check it out for stunning plant-based food porn!).

Rebecca was sweet enough to surprise me with a slice of this blackberry vanilla cake at my farewell dinner in London, and I was blown away by how delicious and satisfying it was. It’s not very surprising, therefore, that hers was the first cake I baked upon being reunited with an oven! (My student flat’s kitchen reflected the widespread prejudice that students only live off of ramen noodles and microwave pizza).

I’ve been back in Switzerland for two weeks, and have already made this cake twice – if that’s not love than I don’t know what is 😉 It’s definitely a keeper, and I can’t be more pleased to share it with you today:

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour blend
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 2 tbsp cold water)
  • 1 cup oat milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 3 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries (+ 1/2 cup)

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup coconut condensed milk
  • 3-5 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 ° celsuis.
  2. Make a flax egg by combining 1 tbsp milled flaxseed and 2 tbsp cold water in a small bowl. Stir together and let sit to thicken up.
  3. Sift flour into a large bowl, then add rest of dry ingredients- coconut sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir together well.
  4. Make a crater in the middle of the dry ingredients and whisk in the flax egg, non-dairy milk, vanilla, melted coconut oil, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar.
  5. Lightly grease a 7-9 inch pan (round or square, depending on which shape you prefer) with coconut oil and pour the cake batter in.
  6. Sprinkle the 2 cups blackberries into the batter, pushing some underneath so they will be baked through the cake and not just on the top. Save the 1/2 cup to sprinkle on top part way through baking if the batter rises to cover all the blackberries.
  7. Bake (1 hr 25 mins) on the middle rack of the oven. If using a spring form pan, place a baking tray underneath as it may leak. After approx. 55-60 mins check the cake, since baking times may vary depending on your oven and exact size of pan. Check every 10-15 mins until cake is fully baked.Remove cake from oven and cool for at least 30 mins. *Note* As oven temperatures can vary so much, I recommend checking earlier already – the cake only took 30 minutes to bake in my oven.
  8. For the topping combine the coconut condensed milk with the fresh lemon juice and combine. Set aside whilst cake cools. Then serve with lemon drizzle and fresh blackberries.

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Happy Baking!

And don’t forget to tag the lovely Rebecca (@thezestylime) if you post your blackberry cakes on social media! 🙂

xoxo