As chosen by our office team to celebrate National Vegetarian Week 2014. We have snuck in a ‘non-vegetarian’ restaurant at the end – but we think they are worthy to appear in this list! We’d love to hear your own suggestions so please feel free to comment with links!
1. Mildreds, Soho, London
Soho institution, Mildreds, established in 1988, serves internationally inspired vegetarian food which is made daily on the premises. Catering for vegetarians, yet popular with omnivores, Mildreds offers friendly informal service in a lively atmosphere coupled with excellent value for money.They use organic ingredients where possible and endeavor to source small businesses for their supplies. Now located at Lexington Street (not Greek Street) they have a beautiful wood paneled dining room featuring a fine selection of Victoria erotica! For more details go to www.mildreds.co.uk/
2. Vanilla Black, Tooks Court, London EC4
This sublime menu features Yellow Pea Soup and Marmite Dumplings and Brie Ice Cream with Poached Blackberries – and that’s just for starters! The cooking is refined and adventurous and although more expensive than your usual ‘Veg Cafe’ it really is in a different league. The interior is sophisticated and urbane and non-veggies will definitely be impressed. For more details go to www.vanillablack.co.uk/
3. The Gate, Islington/Hammersmith, London
With two locations in Islington and Hammersmith, The Gate makes vegetarian food fun and avoids all the cliches of veg eating. The food has both Indian and Arabic influences along with a twist of French and Italian. Dishes include Smoked Tofu and Spring Mint Vegetable Roll and Teriyaki Aubergine. Both sites are light and airy with huge windows and wooden floors. Menus also include weekend brunch and mezze platters. For more info go to http://thegaterestaurants.com/
4. Terre a Terre, Brighton
This award-winning vegetarian restaurant has long been a favourite of DR’s. The menu offers Fritter Zaatar – courgette, lemon zest, parsley, fennel seed zaatar dusted fritter, aubergine zhuganoush,pomegranate molasses and seeds, with a salsa salad of preserved lemon, pine nut and sweet currants and a cardamom tomato consommé on the side as a starter. If that doesn’t sound filling enough follow with a main course of Run Rarebit Run – toasty Sussex cheddar rarebit laced with Sheep’s Nose Cider and mustard grains crammed into hotpot spiced cornbread served with smoked yogurt and salt baked carrot, caraway pickled and puréed. Finished with tamari pumpkin seeds, cake crumbs and olive soil. Bet you feel healthier already?!Design Restaurants Member receive 10% reduction from total food bill when ordering from A La Carte lunch and dinner Monday to Thursday. Click here for details.
5. Greens, West Didsbury, Manchester
Chef Simon Rimmer has been resident in trendy Didsbury since 1990 and is entirely self taught. Now a household name due to regular TV slots he still plays a major role in the kitchen, shamelessly ‘stealing from cultures across the world to develop dishes that are defined not by a negative absence of meat, but by the positive inclusion of fantastic ingredients and flavours that happen to be purely vegetarian’. The menu is excellently priced and offers Pumpkin, Feta and Pea salad; Roquefort, Pecan and Tarragon Cheesecake; and Jamaican Pepperpot Stew. The atmosphere is also as fresh and zingy as the food. For more details go to www.greensdidsbury.co.uk.
6. Saf, Kensington, London
Saf offers a gourmet approach to raw vegan food. They make cheese from cashew nuts and replace cream in dressings with tahini and wasabi; their healthy, innovative approach to cuisine earned them the Evening Standard’s Best Vegetarian Restaurant award in 2010. With a predominately asian theme, dishes include Sauerkraut Dumplings with spic plum sauce and cress, All day Breakfast of scrambled tofu, homemade baked beans, grilled tomato and vegan sausage and London’s Best Vegan Burger with chilli fig jam and guacamole. Wash this down with a raw fresh juice of spinach, romaine lettuce, parsley, celery and cucumber (Green Lantern). For more details go to www.safrestaurant.co.uk/.
7. David Bann, Edinburgh
This Edinburgh gem has been thriving for over decade and once again gets a great write up in The Good Food Guide. Although he has not brought back his popular bean burger he does have a Spiced Aduki Bean and Cashew Nut Pie. The menu is exciting and eclectic mixing global food from all over. Mushroom Strudel with mash is paired with Mediterranean Veg and Beetroot is matched with Apple and Dunsyre Blue Pudding. Great atmosphere together with good service. For more info go to www.davidbann.com/
8. RAW at La Suite West, Bayswater, London
The previous incarnation of this restaurant was extremely healthy but the newly launched RAW takes it to a new level. Group Head Chef Victor Garvey and his team have designed a menu to provide some of the best that nature can offer, with a selection of vegan friendly, dairy free and raw dishes. Challenge yourself with Daikon Raviloi (almond, dates, carrot and pesto) or Sea Vegetable Salad (beetroot with miso dressing). Look out for the R which denotes RAW dishes – not heated above 42c – bang on your detox diet! Design Restaurants Members dine complimentary all meal periods. Click here for details.
9. Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen, Bath
Bath it has to be said is a little disappointing when it comes to destination dining. Although Wilts has a few great restaurants dotted within hotels, Bath doesn’t really have anything to get too excited about. This fairly new Veggie restaurant is therefore a complete treat. Previously run for 26 years as Demuth, the owner Rachel Demuth sold to a dynamic young team (previously staff). After a face lift and subtle change in direction the new menu is now teeming with innovation and new ideas. The menu offers Truffled Broccoli and Curried Cauliflower Fritter and the detail in each dish is intense. If all you are looking for is a Butternut Risotto than this isn’t for you but if you like to challenge your taste buds – step up! For more details go to www.acornvegetariankitchen.co.uk/
10. Benares, Mayfair, London
Not a vegetarian restaurant but serving incredible food that has been recognized by Michelin with a large vegetarian selection – we think enough to appear in this list. Chef Atul Kochar is revered for his masterful use of spicing and as we know most veggies can usually find something to eat in an Indian restaurant as they uniquely celebrate veg on its own – not always as a side dish. Tandoor Grilled Paneer with Stuffed Baby Pepper and Pan-Fried Baby Spinach cake appears as an Al a carte starter. How about a main of Beetroot Dumplings Laced with 24 Carat Gold, Classic Cardamon and Cashew Nut Sauce with Berry Pulao? This is Michelin star vegetarian cooking – the finest you will find in the UK. For more details click here.
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