The Guide

London’s Vegetarian Revolution

By Christine Ajudua  •    •  July 16, 2019

London’s Vegetarian Revolution

By Christine Ajudua  •  July 16, 2019


The capital of bangers and mash has quickly become a global hub for modern herbivores. Farmacy’s Camilla Fayed spills the (vegan-friendly) sauce on where to eat green.

Over the course of its nearly 2,000 years, notwithstanding Brexit, all kinds of tribes have flocked to Britain’s capital. But vegetarians? Not until now. Thanks to the likes of Camilla Fayed, London—historically a meat-and-potatoes kind of place—is becoming a hub for plant-based eating.

“I notice how ahead of the game London is when I travel, struggling to find plant-based restaurants that are buzzy and fun while still serving delicious food,” says the entrepreneur. Not long ago—after going vegan following the birth of her first child and experiencing “powerful, all-encompassing healing benefits”—Fayed had that problem here. So in 2016, she opened Notting Hill’s Farmacy. On the menu: plant-based comfort foods (mac ‘n’ “cheese;” seasonal pizzettas; “nice cream” brownie sundaes) featuring organic ingredients from its biodynamic kitchen garden in Kent, plus natural wines and “High” Tea (think CBD chocolates and hemp-leaf infusion).

The concept has grown. Having published an eponymous cookbook last year, Fayed is set to take Farmacy abroad, starting this September with a six-month pop-up in New York. She’s also venturing into lifestyle: after partnering on a wellness summit at Goop’s new London store, the restaurant just unveiled an organic-cotton clothing collection with Mother of Pearl (a local womenswear label focused on sustainability) to benefit the Meat Free Monday environmental campaign.

Meanwhile, more and more vegan-friendly spots are cropping up around town. Fayed gives us the dish on her favorites.

Cook Daily

“King Cook speaks to a new generation, making street food vegan-friendly in his own way,” says Fayed. The young local chef has turned his cultish pop-up into a permanent restaurant in London Fields, with dishes reflecting his multi-cultural hometown, from jerk “chickn” to a Full English breakfast with “baecon,” and a tofu “egg” scramble. Fayed’s go-to? An udon noodle stir-fry with roasted chili oil and mock char siu crumbles.

 

 

Mildreds Soho

Since starting in Soho circa 1988, Mildred’s has become a London institution (there are now four locations). “They put vegetarian restaurants on the map,” according to Fayed. “The menu is incredibly extensive and offers internationally inspired, plant-based dishes”—like Roman-style artichoke crostini with aioli, or gyoza dumplings with shimeji mushrooms, bok choy, and plum gochugaru pepper flakes. “I love their emphasis on provenance, and you can see the quality of ingredients on the plate.

Rovi

“I’m such a fan of Yotam Ottolenghi; there is so much joy in his cooking and recipes.” In summer 2018, the Israeli-English chef unveiled this Fitzrovia restaurant, which is not exclusively vegetarian, but focuses on vegetables fermented and cooked over fire. “I was so happy to find so many vegan options,” says Fayed. “I would go back for a plateful of the celeriac shawarma alone.”

Wild Food Café

“Neal’s Yard is one of my favorite foodie destinations, and you’ll often find me in the Wild Food Café with my friends.” A veritable community has grown around its raw-food vegan kitchen, cooking classes, and wellness retreats, hence the recently opened outpost in Islington. Come fall, the owners will also publish a cookbook: Wild: Plant-based Recipes to Nourish your Wild Essence. “They produce food that is nourishing and fun, causing minimal disruption to nature.”

The Details

Farmacy: 74-76 Westbourne Grove; +44 20-7221-0705

Cook Daily: Arch 358 Westgate Street; +44 74-9856-3168

Mildreds Soho: 45 Lexington Street; +44 20-7494-1634

Rovi: 59 Wells Street; +44 20-3963-8270

Wild Food Café: 1st Floor, 14 Neal’s Yard; +44 20-7419-2014

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Written By: Christine Ajudua

7.16.19

Locations: London

See more: Food & Drink

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