18 and vegetarian in London
November 26, 2020 10:12 AM   Subscribe

What do you think is the best, most vibrant vegetarian and/or vegan guide to eating out in London that a college student would like? So, not a book whose sensibility pretty much shouts being Gen-X- or Boomer oriented. Which is all my algorithm wants to show me. It doesn't have to be youth oriented exactly, just not assuming a middle aged tourist.

Prefer something available to order as a physical book. Thanks.
posted by nantucket to Food & Drink (12 answers total)
Is your college student visiting London soon or are they already there? How familiar with the landscape are they?

I found some decent looking guides at Foyle's with a quick search - I regularly went to their huge store in Soho and found really great guides.

These ones
Look like
they might
be good.

I did poke through that last one (the "Vegan London" with lots of pictures) and it looks a lot more like a magazine than a guide. I've eaten at a few of the restaurants and they were pretty good but also not very hard to find. You might have better luck with the others. But if your recipient is new to London it might be very useful.
posted by pazazygeek at 11:27 AM on November 26, 2020

Thank you! To be clear: They are going to be moving to London from the U.S.. So they now have just a little knowledge from previous travels but will soon be there full time.
posted by nantucket at 11:52 AM on November 26, 2020

Due to pandemic related lockdown restrictions the hospitality industry is suffering badly, especially in London, where a lot of places also rely heavily on footfall. In addition, there is Brexit. They will cause significant restaurant closures and probably result in anything that has made it into a print publication outdated by the time you give it to them.
posted by koahiatamadl at 12:31 PM on November 26, 2020 [10 favorites]

Last threadsit: We are similarly impacted here. I do know there will be closures. And I do want to buy this book anyway for a Xmas gift so please keep suggestions coming. (And pazazygeek -- thanks exactly, the Serena Lee is what I found on my own and doesn't quite fit the bill, while the others you link are exactly like what I'm looking for.)
posted by nantucket at 12:50 PM on November 26, 2020

I'm afraid I also don't have a direct recommendation for you, but a couple things to note:
1) The HappyCow app is great for this, and is a paid app (I think it's $5 or so). If the person you're talking about doesn't have it, it'd be a great thing to get for them.
2) London is now crazy veg/vegan friendly, to the point where having special guides might almost be irrelevant (assuming they're happy to eat veg dishes in non-veg restaurants). It's getting to the point where having at least a few vegan options is basically very much the rule rather than the exception.
posted by kickingtheground at 1:06 PM on November 26, 2020 [6 favorites]

There's Veggie & Vegan London: A Users Guide to Ethical Eating in the Capital?

There's also Breakfast London: Where Real Londoners Eat. It's not strictly vegan/vegetarian but does have vegan-friendly symbols to note relevant places.
posted by quadrant seasons at 1:50 PM on November 26, 2020

This sounds like a fun gift, but to be honest I'd recommend maybe getting a couple of vegan/vegetarian cookbooks (maybe by British chefs?) rather than a guide that will, as others have said, be out of date by the time they come to use it. If you choose ones with some options for budget meals as well it will be way more useful than sending a college student out to eat in the most expensive city in the world (speaking from personal experience!).
posted by fight or flight at 3:00 PM on November 26, 2020 [2 favorites]

I don’t know where and how one would pay for HappyCow (perhaps there is an official or inofficial iOS app that costs money?), but both the website and the Android app are free (and indeed very useful, not just in London).

As far as printed materials go, I think fight or flight’s suggestion of a cookbook is a better idea than a restaurant guide. Maybe one of Anna Jones’ for the London connection?
posted by wachhundfisch at 1:36 AM on November 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

It's getting to the point where having at least a few vegan options is basically very much the rule rather than the exception.

Yes, but many places still have quite uninspired veg options. Much to Mrs Fabius’s frustration mushroom risotto, butternut squash risotto, and boring pasta dishes are all too often the only veg choices. So getting a guide to good veg places sounds a good plan.
posted by fabius at 5:29 AM on November 27, 2020

The Mildreds Cookbook might be a decent compromise here; their restaurant is the kind of place I very much enjoyed being taken by older relatives when I was a younger vegetarian and the food there is good enough that I'd expect the recipes will be too.
posted by terretu at 8:35 AM on November 27, 2020

Thanks everyone, this is all lovely food for thought :)!
So to clarify even more: I am not worried about the student getting enough decent veg food to eat. (Their campus is totally beef-free and they can easily find veg fare.) So, while they might also like a cookbook, for this particular gift,
I'm interested in finding a vibrant restaurant guide book that shows something of what to look forward to after the pandemic, to celebrate their anticipation of living a vegan/vegetarian fun life in London as a student, hoping they'll page through it and get a sense of what neighborhoods will have different international cuisines, etc. I understand the restaurant landscape is bound to change.
Thanks again!
posted by nantucket at 3:06 PM on November 27, 2020

For someone new to life in London, I'd probably go with the "Vegan London" one that pazazygeek linked to. It's a huge doorstep of a book, and yes, the pandemic will have consequences for some of the places listed in it - but it's a book aimed at people who don't necessarily know the city, and it'll give your college student the chance to browse through and start to get a feel for the different areas and where they might like to explore. Here's a sample I found, so you can judge for yourself whether the tone would suit.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 9:50 AM on November 28, 2020

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