I have a list of vegan / vegan friendly eateries that I'd like to visit around London. In a quandary that isn't really a quandary at all, I may not be able to visit everywhere unless I make visiting cafes a full-time job. If anyone knows of such a position...do let me know. In the mean time, here are some snapshots of recent eats while out and about.
|Caramel pecan cupcake from Ruby's of London|
The main theme of this post is 'casual'. There are also three cupcakes / muffins (!). All items were bought to take away, generally consumed in a park with either a book or Mr Bite for company.
First up, Beatroot Cafe. Tucked away in the heart of Soho, this casual cafe offers a fully vegetarian menu with many vegan items. Each day there are 10 hot dishes plus a range of salads to choose from, which are packaged up in a small (£4.70), medium (£6.20) or large (£7.20) container. The containers are made from recycled paper, and the take away cutlery is all wooden too. The prices aren't super cheap, but they are reasonable value for what you get, and certainly cheaper than many salad bars.
|Small Beatroot Cafe selection|
I chose a small container with a mix of tofu stir fry, beetroot and sesame salad, and carrot and roasted pumpkin seed salad (hidden in the above photo). The selection was fresh and flavourful, and I liked being able to try a few dishes rather than just one. The main limitations of this place is that, in most cases, the dishes are ones I could make myself, and there is limited on site seating. If you want a nutrition-packed lunch when you're out and about, it is a perfect option. If you want a leisurely meal with creative and hard to replicate dishes, it probably won't be such a good fit.
Beatroot Cafe also offers a good selection of smoothies, juices, muffins and slices. I took a chocolate and walnut muffin away to enjoy at home, and enjoy it I did.
|Beatroot Cafe walnut and chocolate muffin|
Staying with baked goods, Lujuria Vegana is a Spanish vegan patisserie. They have an amazing range of desserts and confectionary items. Whole Foods is a UK stockist, and I picked up this blueberry muffin-cupcake from the Piccadilly Whole Foods store (£3). I have labelled it a 'muffin-cupcake' because it really provides the best of both products - the base is dense, berry packed and entirely muffin like, while the icing belongs to a cupcake.
This icing was actually quite spectacular, being thick and almost mousse-like in texture. It felt like two desserts in one product, which is something I'm happy to get behind! The muffin base was also lovely, with lemon flavours complementing the blueberries.
|Amazing mousse-like icing!|
As the top photo revealed, there is another cupcake in this post. Ruby's of London provides a local option for vegan baked goods and cakes, with the products available to order online or for purchase at Greenwich Market on weekends.
|Ruby's of London - Greenwich Market stall|
The products sell out quite quickly, with the above picture snapped around 2pm. There were still plenty of choices, but clearly buyers had depleted supplies earlier in the day. I bought a caramel pecan cupcake (£2.50), and whilst this particular item wasn't gluten free, many of Ruby's products are.
The cupcake provided a (late) lunch dessert, with the main course being a vegan falafel from another Greenwich market stall - known simply as Falafel Al Hooriya. The stall offers medium (£4) or large (£5) falafel wraps, which are fully vegan and include pickled beetroot and gherkin as well as standard salads, chilli sauce (optional) and tahini sauce.
|Blurry falafel construction|
Honestly, this was the best commercial falafel - or indeed wrap - I can remember having. I may have been swayed by hunger (lunch being late and having done a long run earlier in the day!), but it was utterly delicious. In fact, it was so good that I'm afraid the caramel pecan cupcake couldn't compare. I probably need to try Ruby's again when I haven't just enjoyed a generous and delicious savoury lunch, but in the meantime, I can whole heartedly recommend the falafel stall at Greenwich market.
The challenge now will be resisting the urge to keep re-trying old favourites, so I can discover some of the other places on my list!
Beatroot Cafe is located at 92 Berwick Street, Soho, London. It is open from 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday, and 11am to 9pm on Saturdays. The phone number is 0207 437 8591 and the website is http://beatroot.org.uk/home.html .
Lujuria Vegana products are stocked in Whole Foods, among other places. The website (enjoy browsing!) is http://www.lujuriavegana.com/en/ .
Ruby's of London caters for online orders, and you can buy products directly through Greenwich Markets on weekends. The website is http://www.rubysoflondon.com/ .
Greenwich Market falafels can be found on weekends (and possibly on other days) and information is available at http://www.kerbfood.com/traders/falafel-al-hooriya/ .
Have you enjoyed street or market food lately?