If you have a special occasion to celebrate, Arabica should be your first port of call. There is no major world cuisine that’s so reliably vegan as Middle Eastern food – traditional dishes don’t contain eggs and very rarely use dairy, so if you avoid the meat dishes, you have a rich variety to choose from.
Favourites include baba ghanoush, falafel, and a whole host of velvety dips, vibrant salads, and handmade breads.
Coal Office celebrates the vibrant flavours of modern Jerusalem from a sleek and sexy space overlooking Coal Drops Yard. Most of the dishes in their menu contain meat, but you can easily create a delectable meat-free meal from their new winter menu. In particular, a dish from their small plates menu, Hatzil Til, a grilled aubergine served with tahini and a salsa of raspberries, tomato, chilli and dukka. With raspberries as a traditionally British ingredient combined with Israeli ingredients of aubergine and tahini, this dish perfectly reflects the bridge between Jerusalem and London.
Meanwhile, in the deli, try the tasty celeriac in a bun served with harissa and pickles, or order roasted aubergine and baked sweet potato and add the deli’s hummus: rich and creamy chickpeas served with roasted aubergine chunks, herbs and a hunk of fluffy pita bread.
Tucked into Coal Drops Yard is the cheerfully yellow-hued Hiden, a tiny pop-up that calls itself a Japanese speciality curry lab. Designed to comfort both body and mind, the vegan curry deserves to be savoured slowly.
It’s a stew-like, golden sauce of red lentils laced with a special blend of spices, served with rice and topped with sweet, in-house pickled shiso-daikon garnish.
There is a dedicated vegan menu here, and as this is Dishoom, you know each dish will be a thing of beauty. Kick off the day with a full vegan fry-up, Bombay-style, the vegan sausage naan roll, or a steaming bowl of date and banana porridge.
Later in the day, dig into hot, golden samosas, the house chaat, or chole puri. Add a heaped pile of smoky, aromatic, gunpowder potatoes for truly divine dining.
Being a Bavarian-inspired restaurant, the menu does tend to lean towards meat dishes, but there are a handful of vegan gems in there, too. This Crispy jalapeño “cream cheese” ball is served with crushed avocado &, served with beetroot, coriander, chilli, lime, potato Rösti
Beer + Burger
Not only has Burger + Beer created something pretty special with their vegan burger – a homemade chickpea and quinoa patty topped with pickled daikon, crispy shallots, red cabbage and vegan ranch dressing in an American glazed bun – but they offer a vegan alternative to every burger on their menu.
You can go to town on their line-up of salsas, which vary from mild, to quite spicy to hot. ‘Wild’ is only for show-offs, apparently. The vast majority of beers on the menu here are vegan too. They say that the vegan burger pairs delightfully with a Belgian Saison.
You are spoilt for choice at Sri Lankan eatery Hoppers – a good number of their rich, spicy and flavourful dishes are totally vegan. Try the plantain and moju cutlets from the short eats section, or the BBQ hispi cabbage and kiri hodi.
All Hoppers most popular dishes – kothu, hopper pancakes and karis – are available to order vegan. Try the street-food inspired kothu with jackfruit and mushroom, the light and crispy savoury string hopper pancakes, and the two vegan karis: one with Tamil aubergine, and the other with squash and spinach. As well as this, 9 out of the 10 delicious side dishes are vegan: order pillowy idlis, roti flatbread, and drumstick sambar to your heart’s content.
Drake & Morgan
The chefs at Drake and Morgan have experimented with a whole range of meat alternatives to create plant based versions of some menu favourites. For starters, there is a vegan tempura samphire, vegan ‘shrimp lollipops with sweet chilli and soy, while for mains, you’ll find a Lost Shepherd’s Pie – made with vegan mince, lentils, and a cheese-like crust – and a mushroom-based burger.
They have a brilliant new vegan superfood sharing board too, which includes brand-new & un-beleafably vegan superstraccia cheese, hummus, kimchi, beetroot & artichoke salad, amongst other delicious things. Treat yourself to a cocktail to accompany your board!
The vegan options on The Lighterman menu are labelled ‘pb’ for plant-based, rather than the usual ‘vg’. Under that symbol, they have a farmers board, stacked with cauliflower fritters, pickled veg, wild mushroom tartlets and dip, designed to share. There’s a dreamy vegan version of the Lighterman flatbreads, topped with vegetables, pickled pearl onions and vegan feta.
Otherwise, choose from a handful of superfood-packed salads, a chickpea burger, or the roasted vegetable tart.
Caravan also uses the pb symbol on its menu. It is scattered across just a handful of dishes, although thankfully, Caravan’s love of well-travelled food means that each of the veg-fuelled dishes packs a punch.
There’s a vegan sourdough pizza with charred vegetables, nettle macadamia ‘cheese’, mint pesto, rocket and chilli flakes, and one of the best-loved grain bowls is plant-based too, piled high with burnt stem broccoli, sweet potato, spiced black bean salsa, green chutney, coconut yoghurt and drizzled with curry leaf oil. If you fancy grazing over a number of small plates, the chilli salt tofu, spiced cauliflower and the edamame are all solid choices.
Casa and Plaza Pastor
Both Plaza Pastor and and it’s little sister Casa Pastor have fantastic vegan options. Choose from Refriequeso Tostadas – heritage white corn tostadas topped with refried beans, vegan feta, caramelised onion, crispy shallots and coriander, or the incredibly refreshing Jicama Aguachile – jicama, chayote, radish, avocado and ancho-marinated oyster mushrooms in cucumber chilli and lime marinade served with tostadas. There’s a gorgeous spiced roasted butternut squash sharing plate served with warm tortillas too, and fresh pineapple and hibiscus granita to finish it all off.
If you’re serious about your vegan intentions, you need to consider details like drinks. Many wines aren’t vegan due to the fining process, which often uses egg white or gelatine, but The Drop has got your back with a carefully curated selection of delicious vegan wines. There’s a Chianti Rufina, a Cabernet Blend from Chateaux Larose Perganson, the Macchiona 2013 Barbera Blend, the Cora Xarel-Lo blend, and the Kamptal Gruner Veltliner to choose from, all of which are certified Organic. There’s also the V1 Chardonnay and Huntsman Shiraz.
There are some delectable snacks to nibble while you imbibe too – choose from truffle crisps, Marcona almonds, Petit Lucques olives, or, a seasonal dip from Natoora served with sourdough crackers.
The popular Italian eatery has dressed some of its delicious pasta dishes with vegan ingredients. Tuck into buckwheat tagliolini with vegan lemon butter, or vegan truffle butter, or choose the Mafaldine al Grano Saraceno con Salsa di Funghi, a ribbon-shaped pasta in a dreamy mushroom sauce, followed by a vegan pisatachio, chocolate or lemon sorbet.
The Lina Stores Deli is a haven for vegans, too, with daily salads like fregola and squash with lemon and hazelnut, Roasted broccoli with chilli and sunflower seeds, or borlotti beans with roasted kale, Calabrian chilli and Tropea onion to choose from.
Going vegan doesn’t mean missing out on fine dining and decadent European fare. At elegant wine bar Porte Noire, there’s a slew of superb options for your delectation. There’s a warming chestnut and celeriac soup, a lovely light endive salad, mushroom fricassee or roasted pumpkin to choose from, but we’d recommend going all out and treating yourself to the Pumpkin with tamarind glaze, peanut sambal, green curry ice cream. Never let it be said that vegans miss out on the good stuff.
Foodie favourite hicce sits in a lofty space above Wolf & Badger in Coal Drops Yard. The incredible menu changes seasonally and features British dishes, heavily influenced by both Nordic and Japanese cooking, and the (standalone) vegan menu is no different.
There are pickled jars of fermented vegetables seasoned with a variety of herbs and more to start, and a selection of vegetable boards alongside the traditional cheese and meat boards. Mains will vary according to the season, but you can expect delicious combinations such as Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts and Kohlrabi and sides like beetroot with chilli honey.
It’s a slight misconception that Spanish food is always meaty – there are plenty of fantastic, naturally vegan dishes on the menu. At London’s favourite Tapas restaurant Barrafina, the para picar menu includes marinated olives, Marcona almonds, pimientos de padrón and the mouthwatering Pan con tomate, all of which are designed to be shared between two. There are also seasonal fruit sorbets for desert.
The relaxed wine bar on King’s Boulevard pairs high-quality wines with rustic, seasonal dishes.
For vegans, dishes include the vegan platter which comes piled high with marinated artichokes, roast datterini tomatoes, cannellini beans, peperonata, vegan ricotta, and escabeche courgettes. There’s even a vegan version of Vinoteca’s signature dish, the steak bavette. The meat-free dish is grilled and marinated, and served with horseradish and chips.
Parrillan is the sister restaurant to Barrafina, and probably the nicest place to enjoy al fresco dining in London – its concealed glass roof keeps the air warm whatever the weather, and luscious vegetation, surrounding treetops and canal side views all contribute to a Mediterranean atmosphere.
Like Barrafina, the para picar menu has several delicious options – marinated olives, Marcona almonds, pan con tomate and pimientos de padrón, all of which are designed to be shared. From the Parilla (grill) that the restaurant takes its name, there’s vegetable parrillada, a pumpkin and lentil stew, which is new to the winter menu, and a Green Salad as a side.
This Pancras Square eatery offers a slice contemporary Korean cooking, packed with tantalising authentic flavour.
For vegans, most of the dishes come with tofu as an alternative. Treat yourself to dolsot bibimbap, a heart mixture of sticky rice, vegetables, tofu, red chilli paste and sesame oil served sizzling hot in a stone pot. Or, try the dumplings – steamed or panfried, the homemade dumplings are served with a light soy dipping sauce and heaped with veggies. On a cold day, nothing hits the spot quite like a bowl of dwen jang jjigae, spinach, tofu and vegetables in a traditional soybean and kelp broth.
Many of the side dishes and snacks here are vegan as standard, too, with kimchee, beansprouts, crispy seaweed, mixed grain and sticky rice.
New kid on the block Gas Station is an indoor-outdoor venue set over two floors. Its star attraction is the delightful canal-side beer garden, packed with foliage and heated all year round.
Seafood is the speciality here, but there are some well-considered vegan dishes on their snack menu. For a larger meal, you have the option of a black bean burger and fries, which comes served with coriander slaw and sriracha mayo.
Come here often?
We’ll keep updating this list as the vegan scene in Kings Cross evolves, so be sure to check back to find the latest ‘must-tries’. You can find the full listing of restaurants, bars, and cafés in the area here.