A lot more fun than dry January, Veganuary is January’s other new year challenge. It officially started in 2014 as a way to encourage, promote, and educate the general public about the benefits of a vegan diet and, since it’s launch, participation in the yearly event has more than doubled each year.
This isn’t all that surprising; in addition to wanting to kick off the new year with a healthy eating goal, climate breakdown is a key factor in more and more people making changes to their diet to help the planet, eat well, and discover creative and interesting ways to cook, without leaning on dairy and meat.
Vegan cooking is an art and for those of us who are used to making meat or dairy the key focus of a meal, is an eye-opening avenue to discover new cooking methods, new ingredients, and your favourite new dishes. But, if you’re starting out new and in need of some inspiration, visiting a vegan restaurant, or one with a plant-based menu, can be a good way to start the process, see how the pros do it, and get inspired in your own kitchen.
Unbeatable location, insane views, creative menu.
Known for their inspired interpretations of Mexican dishes, the Madera philosophy lends itself perfectly to a plant-based menu. While they offer a non-plant-based menu as well, you could order exclusively from the other and not miss the meat or the dairy for a second. Centrally located and on the 15th floor, the views of London are expansive and in a prime spot for sunrise; making you feel like you’re in Richard Curtis’s London. Couple this with the Tulum-esque decor and interiors and you’ve got yourself a brunch, lunch, or dinner spot you’ll be gramming about for days.
For the most important meal of the day, some classics like avocado toast are available, we recommend trying something new like scrambled tofu. The texture and heavy protein content make for a meal not dissimilar to meat but with more interesting flavours and without the heavy feeling that comes with it. Our favourites include the Soyrizo bowl and breakfast enchiladas.
Prices start at £9 for a breakfast main.
It’s rare to find a restaurant that caters to vegetarians, vegans, and those who are gluten-free so extensively that each has their own menu. Enter Rüya.
An Anatolian restaurant in the heart of Mayfair, inspired by second generation restaurateur Umut Özkanca’s Istanbul heritage. Rüya offers a taste of sophisticated, contemporary dishes from the various Anatolian regions With Chef Patron Colin Clague at the helm, diners can experience a menu with an array of Anatolian classics, many of which are traditionally vegan, such as Isli Patlican (aubergine puree with walnuts, crispy coated aubergine chips), Karpuz Peynir (burnt watermelon, tomato and pine nuts) and Guvec (clay pot vegetables with tomato and red pepper sauce).
If you’re also participating in Dry January, they have a range of detox cocktails made with fresh, and refreshing, ingredients to accompany the meal.
An entirely plant-based menu means you can walk in and order freely. And no matter what you order, it’s gonna be good.
Located just off Sloane Square in London’s Royal Borough, Wulf & Lamb is worth the trek if you’re not situated west. A favourite amongst TOPMAN and Topshop staff, favourites include the Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Roasted Wedges with rosemary and thyme, and the Truffle Pasta.
One major obstacle for a lot of people looking to switch to a plant-based diet (or at least making it more of a habit) is that they think their whole life menu is going to change. If you’re looking to see how vegan food is done in a way that you recognise, this is where you need to go.
All mains are in the £12 – £15 range and sides from about £4.95.
Image credit: @misformirrors