Vegan Explorations in the UK

In addition to spending my days off shopping at vintage boutiques I also spend a lot of time searching for and indulging in good food. And mainly at vegan/vegetarian restaurants.

Vegan and raw food is a very "trendy LA/NYC" movement that I thought would be isolated to the coastal states in the US. After a surprisingly nice selection on my Air New Zealand flight (tofu for dinner and lentil cake for breakfast!), I braced myself for a long and boring three weeks of crudite and fruit. I didn't think I could find any restaurant or cafe that could satisfy my vegan cravings. But how wrong I was! Excluding such cities as Sheffield, Manchester, and Newcastle (where I didn't get a chance to really explore), I've been able to cater to my obscure tastes. 

My favorites in LA are Flore and Cafe Gratitude, and they set a high bar for quality vegan fare. Here are a few restaurants I've found to be quite wonderful:

Egg Cafe in Liverpool
You wouldn't be able to find Egg Cafe unless you were on the hunt for it. Located off the main shopping strip in Liverpool, Egg Cafe is three stories up an old warehouse-like building. The wooden chairs and tables give the restaurant an old rustic feel. I ordered the vegan burger patty which came with a green salad, quinoa, and pita. The portions here are quite large and I couldn't finish the single entree on my own:

Food for Thought  in Covent Gardens
After a long day of exploring Brick Lane and Covent Gardens, I used trusty ol' Yelp to help me find this quaint establishment. They had a wide selection of vegan entrees and delicious sides, but by the time I got to it at 7:30PM, mostly everything except the minestrone soup and tofu stir fry were sold out.  The soup was filling and delicious, and the pumpkin side salad was perfectly seasoned.


Inspiral Cafe at Camden Market
Inspiral Cafe is deli style: the different entree and salad selections are displayed in a glass case, you order and receive the food, you pay at the cash register. I ordered a White Russian cocktail and a small 3 salad bowl with root vegetables, sea vegetables and curried quinoa. My buddy Ismael the video content director ordered a passion fruit cheesecake while Arturo the wardrobe assistant ordered the vegan lasagna. My cocktail wasn't too good, but the food was spot on. 

Inspiral Cafe at Camden Market in London
Bumpkin near the V&A Museum
Arturo, Ismael, and I visited the V&A Museum and afterwards, in the spirit of Halloween, had more drinks at Janet's Bar. We weren't satisfied from our elderberry cocktails and vodka sodas and walked down the street to a friendly and classy looking restaurant, Bumpkin. Bumpkin features traditional English food including Bangers and Mash and Fish and Chips made from local and fresh ingredients. I ordered the beet salad and it was totally edible. I also had the Werewolf Cocktail which incorporated seasonal ingredients like pumpkin and cinnamon.
"A Taste of Seasonal Britain"
Werewolf Cocktail with Kobacha pumpkin
Vitao in Soho, London
On my last day off in London, after a very festive Halloween night with the dancers at Club Mahiki in Soho, I took a visit to Oxford Circus and Picadilly Circus. There were a few vegan options that came up on my Yelp, but I was most drawn to Vitao. For lunch, the restaurant offers a buffet setup. You are given either a small, medium, or large plate with which you can only fill up once. There are many Indian inspired dishes as well as fresh original creations. I ordered take out for dinner and much preferred the raw enchilada to the buffet, although both meals were wonderful:

Small plate was about the size of my two hands

Cornucopia in Dublin, Ireland
Just before our show in Dublin yesterday I went for a nice jog to Phoenix Park. It gave me an opportunity to check out some local attractions along the way including the Jameson Distillery and the Guinness Factory. Afterwards, I took a stroll through Temple Bar and found Cornucopia, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant. Similar to Inspiral and Egg Cafe, Cornucopia had a glass case showing all the different foods. The line wrapped around the restaurant and the indoor seating was nearly bursting out of capacity. They gave HUGE portions of their fresh fare, and it was a perfect pre-show meal:
Split pea soup, green juice, spelt bread, and 3 side salads
If you are as enamored with vegan food as I am, you should definitely check out these places if you are ever in the UK!