There is a growing demand in London for high quality vegetarian and vegan restaurants. As a personal trainer in London I’ve had several vegetarian clients, and here are some of their recommendations:
Farmacy Restaurant, Notting Hill, London W2
Located at 74 Westbourne Grove, W2 5SH, Farmacy Restaurant is a plant-based up-market vegetarian restaurant founded by Camilla Fayed. All their food is grown on their biodynamic farm in Kent, or locally sourced. Biodynamic means sustainable holistic farming which respects the seasons and works in tune with nature’s seasonal cycles.
Camilla Fayed is daughter of Mohamed Al-Fayed, the billionaire who sold Harrods to the Qatari Royal Family in 2010 for £1.5 billion.
The menu is mouth-watering, and includes dishes such as the mushroom, walnut & beetroot burger, artichoke pizza with olives and capers and macadamia cheese, lemon cheesecake, and a range of soups and salads. The most tempting for me is the Truffle Ramen: kombu-miso broth with ramen noodles, roasted tofu, red chillies, spring onions and shitake mushrooms.
Govinda’s Pure Vegetarian Restaurant, Soho, London W1
Location: 10 Soho Street, London W1D 3DL
Founded by the Hari Krishna Temple in 1979, Govinda’s is London’s oldest vegetarian and vegan restaurant. Here you’ll find traditional Indian food such as lentil soup and a wide range of vegetarian curries. All the ingredients are ethically sourced.
Rasa, Stoke Newington, London N16
Location: 55 Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16 0AR.
This restaurant serves Keralan vegetarian and vegan food. Kerala is a state in India on the south-western coast.
Starters include Medhu Vadai (urad bean and chilli dumplings) and a selection of Dosas (thin pancakes made with the fermented batter of ground black lentils and rice, popular in southern Indian cuisine). Mains include Thakkali Curry (freshly chopped tomatoes, yoghurt, ginger, onions, spices).
I knew a personal trainer in Chelsea who was a vegetarian and he was a big fan of London’s vegetarian restaurants. He had several vegetarian clients who valued his nutritional knowledge of how to avoid the pitfalls of a vegetarian diet (too much sugar and carbs, not enough iron, not enough B vitamins) and how to optimise vegetarian sources of protein in the right combinations to create complete protein.
Mildreds, Kings Cross, London N1
Location: 200 Pentonville Road, London N1 9JP
This popular vegetarian restaurant in north London also has branches in Dalston, Covent Garden, Camden and Soho. Try the black bean burgers, or if you like spicy, the sweet potato curry. The dish that caught my eye was the pulled oyster mushrooms with chilli mayo and mushroom pate.
For an alcohol-free drink with a difference, there’s a creative range of mocktails with ingredients such as cardomom soda, cold brew green tea, kumquat juice and coconut juice.
Bubala Soho, London W1
Location: 15 Poland Street, London W1F 8QE
This Middle Eastern vegetarian restaurant has a range of dishes my step-mum, a former dietitian who worked in Beirut, would have relished.
The menu includes freshly made hummus, mushroom kebabs, falafel, baba ghanoush. These dishes are spiced up with ingredients such as sesame, seaweed, pomegranate, ginger, garlic and chilli.
The Gate, Islington, London EC1
Location: 370 St John Street, London EC1V 4NN (near Angel Tube Station)
One of my personal training clients in Islington lived a few minutes walk away from this popular vegetarian restaurant opposite Sadler’s Wells theatre. I found the acoustics of this restaurant quite noisy due to the hard floors and minimalist decor, but the food was fantastic.
The most popular dishes include artichoke tempura and aubergine schnitzel.
(Dominic Londesborough is a personal trainer in London and an online nutrition coach)