February 15, 2023
There has never been a shortage of sensible reasons to adopt a wholly or partly vegan diet. Many people do it for their health (a plant-based diet can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as reduce the likelihood of certain diseases and disorders), for moral reasons (by eating vegan, you save the lives of approximately 30 animals per year), and even to help save the environment (factory farming is responsible for a significant share of deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and water shortages).
All those solid reasons and more were important in the past because let’s face it, vegan food was never going to win anyone over on taste appeal alone. To habitual meat-eaters, plant-based meals seemed a sad simulacrum of real food; strangely ‘off’ in shape, colour, aroma and texture, and unable to deliver that primal satiated fullness that comes with a few mouthfuls of animal protein.
If you are one of the many induced by this year’s ‘Veganuary’ to give vegan cooking a try, it’s likely you already know that the bland old days are long behind us. Today, you don’t need to talk yourself into eating vegan – the food is good enough to crave on its terms. And as London is bursting with vegan eateries (more than a hundred and counting), you no longer need to go out of your way to find it. In fact, the growing popularity of vegan eating means that even familiar non-vegan restaurants are routinely serving up a variety of plant-based options.
Plant-based in unusual places
Case in point: The Wellington and The Rochester hotel by Blue Orchid. Should you be booking hotels in London UK, it may be reassuring to know that these ‘sister’ establishments – both overlooking leafy Vincent Square at the heart of Westminster – have plenty to offer when the vegan mood strikes.
Their premier in-house eatery, The Wellington Restaurant, offers no less than 13 vegetarian and vegan choices on its menu, including such delights as asparagus and champagne risotto, pizza Margherita, zucchini fritti, and to finish things off, apple crumbles or a chocolate brownie.
There’s even more plant-based variety at Cento Alla Torre, the acclaimed Italian restaurant at Tower Suites, one of the other Blue Orchid 5 star hotels in London. Melanzane alla Parmigiana, Spaghettini alla Checca and Pizza Fiorentina are just a few of the vegetarian temptations here. Opt for a cocktail at the famous alfresco Skyline London, and there’s yet more choice, including veggie burgers. If you like, you can also complement the stunning views of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge with a perfectly mixed mocktail.
Vegan all the way
For the full contemporary plant-based experience, however, nothing beats London’s finest dedicated vegan restaurants. One of them, the Vegan Brasserie, is just a minute or two away from the aforementioned Wellington and Rochester hotels, and recently introduced an innovative new menu that’s ready to treat those tastebuds to a whole new sensation.
The Vegan Brasserie prides itself on using only the finest natural ingredients in creative ways to make food that is, quite simply, tasty. In other words, you needn’t be a vegan or vegetarian to enjoy their menu – it’s just good food, with no excuses. Some of the more standout choices here include classic vegan slider burgers, crispy cauliflower tacos, pepperoni pizza, and caramelised biscuit cheesecake. Of course, there’s also an impressive list of vegan wines to help wash it all down. Visit here for more details.
But you don’t have to be vegan or even vegetarian to include this cuisine in your diet. Vegan menus are no longer deemed a pleasure–free zone. So if you are planning a London visit, here are a handful of vegan venues in the capital.
63 New Bond Street (with Fenwick) W1
Alexis Gauthier is a plant-based pioneer on the London food scene, and a celebrated chef. Here he serves up seasonal ingredients and a fine vegan menu drawn from international cuisine (includes burgers and salads). Dishes “as good for the soul as they are for the planet.”
5th Floor 240 Regent St (entrance Argyll St) W1
Vegan brunch is available at weekends, 12 pm–2.45 pm. Fresh produce, contemporary Japanese cuisine.
21 Romilly Street W1
Michelin-starred chef Alexis Gauthier is vegan himself. Innovative menus including a 9-course vegan tasting menu for the curious. Faux Gras: fine dining in Soho.
2 to 4 Hans Crescent SW1
Purple potato croquette, homemade basil mayo, “sexy tofu”.
45 Lexington Street W1
Long-standing, veggie–vegan, but mostly vegan with lots of plant-based foods. Asian, South/Central American and Middle Eastern flavours, plus burgers. British classics as well as fusion. From mushroom pie to Indian curry.
Temple of Seitan (if only for the name)
43 Parkway Camden NW1
Vegan fast food. Fried chicken that is seitan (wheat meat). Also, mac’n’cheese and crispy seitan that subs for bacon.
1 Vane Street SW1
One of London’s latest vegan restaurants is located in the Wellington Hotel London. Carefully sourced plant-based ingredients. The aim is to provide expertly prepared and tasty vegan dishes for vegans, flexitarians, health-conscious foodies, and anyone in need of delicious, healthy food.
33 New Oxford St (at the Old Crown Pub) WC1
Take-out, Fast food, Asian/Middle Eastern
Plant-based street food from around the world
The Vurger Co, Shoreditch
Unit 9 Richmix Cygnet Street E1
Among many offerings: is the Auberger (aubergine, gherkin and cabbage). And mac’n’cheese. Banana bagel too.
What the Pitta
53 Brick Lane E1
Vegan doner kebabs and Turkish pizza. Fast food.
More to boost the body and mind
If there is one theme that unites modern vegan cuisine and Blue Orchid’s trio of hotels, it’s that of feeling good. Is there any other reason to stay at one of the best hotels in London? The Wellington, The Rochester and Tower Suites maximise that feel-good factor with a rare combination of comfort, ease, in-house amenities, and locations that put you right at the heart of one of the world’s most exciting cities.
The Rochester and The Wellington, for example, offer guests unusually spacious, comfortable accommodations featuring such niceties as high-speed Wi-Fi and LCD TV. In addition to the highly regarded Wellington Restaurant, guests can linger over expertly mixed cocktails at the serene Wellington Alfresco, overlooking the picturesque serenity of Vincent Square. Some of the UK’s most treasured galleries, sights and events are all within easy walking distance, including Tate Britain, Buckingham Palace, Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey. The world-class shops and museums of Kensington are only a little further – about 15 minutes by taxi.
Meanwhile Tower Suites – located virtually on the border with the City of London – has one of the world’s most recognisable icons literally as its neighbour, namely the ancient Tower of London. Many of the hotel’s suite-style rooms – all equipped with Wi-Fi and LCD TV – offer excellent views of it as well as the Thames, Tower Bridge and The Shard. Guests also have access to a range of acclaimed in-house amenities, such as the Adamo Spa and London Fitness Studio.
The revitalising effect of a spa or gym session might come in handy, for the list of things to explore around Tower Suites is exhausting. Besides the Tower and Tower Bridge, there’s HMS Belfast moored on the Thames, Leadenhall Market, St Paul’s Cathedral and Borough Market. A taxi ride of 30 minutes or less can take you to the wonderous sight of Piccadilly Circus, the cool cafes, galleries and theatres of Soho, and the unique shopping and entertainment possibilities of Covent Garden.
Whether you’re up for exploring the new frontiers of vegan cuisine, the sights, sounds and heritage of London, or are simply in the mood to luxuriously get away from it all, Blue Orchid Hotels are not only ideal for the task – they offer amazing value as well, with a selection of special packages tailored to a wide variety of needs.
A few examples:
That’s just scratching the surface. To explore more Blue Orchid Hotel deals in London, please visit this link.