Whether it’s a traditional pub roast, fine dining experience or something a little more exotic you’re after this Christmas, London’s festive vegan offerings are looking better than ever.
With so many new plant-based restaurants and menus launching, it can be a dizzying choice, so we’ve picked our top pet-free yet stylish holiday feasts.
These include the live-fire barbecue concept at Acme Fire Cult in Dalston, a five-course Italian tasting menu at Mallow, the best of French cuisine at Refuel Your Soul in Hoxton, and Peruvian-Chinese fusion at Pacahamama East.
While they are wildly different in cuisine and setting, what ties all of these Christmas menus together is their impressive imagination and delicious food, truly fitting for Christmas. Have a beautiful.
Refuel your soul
An all-vegan French bistro serving a delicious festive menu and fantastic cocktails in a cozy rock ‘n’ roll haven – what’s not to love? Head chef and owner Nabila Slama brings the best of French fine dining and hospitality to east London, and the impressive Christmas menu is available in four or six courses. Everything here is made from scratch—and, despite the names, entirely meat-free—from the pan-seared foie gras to the blue cheese atop asparagus to start. The main course is a choice between a turkey supreme roll with chestnut mousse, truffle cream and dauphinois gratin or a salmon and spinach wellington served with grilled chard and sprouts. To finish a Christmas log of chocolate and smoked blood orange with Cointreau and chantilly cream. Refuel radiates quality and warmth, all set to a soundtrack of excellent alternative rock that should make guests come for the food and stay for the party.
227-229 Hoxton Street, N1 5LG, linktr.ee/refuelyoursoullondon
In an elegant Soho townhouse, Gauthier takes vegan fine dining to a whole new level. Celebrity chef Alexis Gauthier held a Michelin star for 12 years and made waves in the restaurant scene when he went vegan and later removed all animal products from his menus. Applying classic cooking techniques to a new form of French gastronomy, the restaurant achieves all the flavours, textures and richness you’d expect from a refined eight-course French tasting menu, without meat or dairy. Served with exceptional professionalism and knowledge in an intimate setting, this menu offers a taste of luxury previously lacking in vegan cuisine. With a fully matched wine list available to accompany your meal, this is a perfect choice for anyone looking for an indulgent and memorable Christmas gift. On a personal note, Gauthier’s food is the best he’s ever had after more than a decade of plant-based dieting.
21 Romilly Street, W1D 5AF, gauthiersoho.co.uk
Dishoom’s Christmas party offers the best of Bombay comfort food with a festive twist. With many Dishoom favorites, like the Vegan Pau Bhaji and Chaap Pineapple Tikka to start, the main event here is the No-turkey Raan served with all the trimmings, including spicy chilli sprouts. Served with a choice of breads, rice and salads, this is a meal that fills every inch of the table and is best enjoyed with a cheerful group. For the pudding, a sweet basmati kheer, similar to a British rice pudding, but with much more flavor and a crunchy caramelized top. With its ever-vibrant atmosphere, there’s a reason Dishoom remains a London favourite.
7 Boundary Street, E2 7JE, Dishoom.com
Run by the team behind Mildreds, you might assume Mallow is the slightly more upscale sibling. Launched just over a year ago, Mallow is located in the heart of Borough Market offering a relaxing respite from the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping. With high ceilings, bright windows, and a botanical theme, Mallow is a beautiful space, already making a big name for itself on the vegan dining scene. This Christmas promises a five-course Italian feast meant to be shared between a minimum of four guests. To start is an imaginative selection of small plates, from the classic focaccia with a citrus twist, to porcini chestnut croquettes and leeks vinaigrette with a blue cheese mousse. Next up is Mallow’s take on a sage-crusted roll – plant-based chicken in shortcrust pastry with winter greens and a sun-reddened tomato pine nut filling, served on a saffron cream sauce. It looks wonderfully festive with a comforting nod to tradition while offering some unique flavors. Served with a selection of vegetable side dishes and polenta, it’s one for those with a big appetite. Afterwards there is a nice white chocolate tiramisu, followed – of course – by a digestive.
1 Cathedral Street, Borough Market, mallowlondon. com
Acme Fire Cult
A live fire barbecue restaurant seems like an unlikely choice for a vegan Christmas lunch, but for those in need of a place that impresses even carnivorous friends, Acme Fire Cult is a fantastic choice with an impressive sense of innovation. Tucked away in Dalston’s Bootyard, the idea is to cook low-waste food over an open fire. While the restaurant serves meats from regenerative farms, vegetables take center stage. Cooked on the grill, with inventive sauces and spices from around the world, festive holiday menus are meant to be shared amongst a group, although the vegan main of smoked celeriac with mushroom seaweed and coconut bean miso can be ordered individually . This comes with a selection of vegan small plates including charcoal roasted leeks served on a pistachio romero and charred beets with salsa verde. The pudding is a chocolate ganache with burnt orange marmalade. Couple this with the fact that Acme is linked to the brilliant 40FT brewery and has all the makings of a wonderful Christmas party.
Abbot Street, London E8 3DP, acmefirecult.com
Van Gogh cafe
A non-profit social enterprise, serving spectacular food, Cafe Van Gogh is the perfect place to eat as much as possible in the name of supporting the local community. Served with a glass of mulled wine, its Christmas menu begins with a house scone with oyster mushroom rillettes, celeriac remoulade and dill pickles. For main course there’s a pithivier parsnip purée of smoked tofu, leeks and blue cheese served with buttered savoy cabbage and port and chestnut sauce, as welcoming a dish as Cafe Van Gogh itself. For dessert it’s a decadent chocolate parfait, hazelnuts and honeycomb. Decorated with a Van Gogh mural covering the ceiling, a beautiful spiral staircase and friendly staff, Cafe Van Gogh is a hidden gem on Brixton Hill.
88 Brixton Road, SW9, cafevangogh.co.uk
The eagle explained
A classic cozy pub, with a 100% vegan menu and a shrine to Prince – the Spread Eagle has it all. The festive menu here is one to write home about, starting with a choice of fried shambert, cauliflower fritters, Jerusalem artichoke soup or an incredibly ‘meaty’ faux gras served with toast and pickles. There are also four options for the main but for me the Beet Wellington served with all the trimmings is the star. Next, get the classic sticky toffee pudding. As well as the food there’s a fabulous cocktail menu, while the pub also serves mulled wine, vegan eggnog and a decadent, boozy hot chocolate.
224 Homerton High Street, E9, thespreadeaglelondon.co.uk
The Gate deftly balances a touch of luxury and a little experimentation with a relaxed environment where diners are definitely feeling the holiday spirit. Available at all three of its London locations, The Gate’s Christmas menu offers familiar festive dishes with a more inventive than home-cooked twist. To start, choose between a three-onion tart, chestnut, parsnip and cranberry terrine or an impressive wild mushroom risotto pie. As a main course, there is a tempting aubergine schnitzel, a Christmas roll or the classic Wellington. Everything served at The Gate is exquisitely presented and at £36 for three courses it looks a lot more expensive than it is. For an amazing dessert, choose the dark chocolate sphere served with pear puree, chocolate mousse and hazelnut crumble.
22-24 Seymour Place, V1H 7NL, thegaterestaurants.com
A London vegan stalwart, Mildreds now has five locations across the capital, all offering a 100% plant-based menu. Throughout December, guests can choose from a two- or three-course traditional Christmas meal, each with a vegan twist. A cauliflower mac and cheese baubles served with a plum ketchup or a wild mushroom parfait with port jelly kick things off, both of which feel appropriately festive and warming. The main is a traditional turkey roulade served with all the roast side dishes, or a chicken burger stuffed with bubbles and squeaks, cranberry sauce and piglets in blankets. Be warned, the portions are huge, but the food is too good not to finish, so be prepared to go home. If you can make it to dessert, festive silliness awaits you along with a festive menu of cocktails. Whether booking with a large group more suited to a private room or a couple looking for a cozy table for two, Mildreds is a fantastic festive option.
45 Lexington Street, Carnaby, www.mildreds.co.uk
Pachamama East offers a unique blend of Peruvian and Chinese cuisines in its phenomenal festive vegan tasting menu. Drawing inspiration from both food cultures, whilst using the very best of British produce, the result is an original dining experience served up in a vibrant, modern space in east London. From mushroom ceviche to caramelized eggplant and bok choy salad, a wide range of vegetables are the main event here. Accompanied by tender mapo tofu and cheung fen noodles, the menu is diverse in flavours, textures and cooking techniques. Finished with fresh pineapple and tamarind anticucho, this is a brilliant alternative to yet another December roast dinner.
73 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3HU, www.pachamamalondon.com