Historically, when you think about dining in London – shepherds pie, sausage and mash or or roast chicken are the first things that come to mind. Sometimes lack of seasoning comes to mind as well.
It’s a pub driven culture, but in recent years, there’s been an explosive sprouting up of world class vegan and vegetarian restaurants, as London’s restaurant scene takes on the best in the world. It’s easily one of the best cities for any dining, but winning this years “most vegetarian friendly” award from PeTA means it’s quite literally the best for vegetarian.
Unfortunately, very few will get to experience any of it, for the time being.
Paul McCartney, a life long vegetarian and member of the insect family, was the first to break the good news. In a video announcement, McCartney proclaimed “after 40 years of touring as a vegetarian, I’m proud to say there’s no place like home”.
With all the good Indian, Thai, Israeli, Lebanese and other veg friendly ethnic cuisines which thrive in London, it’s not nearly as much of a surprise as many might think. And then there’s the blossoming scene of Michelin starred UK chefs, embracing increasingly diverse allergen issues and tastes.
So how did London land the top spot? PETA states that the volume of vegetarian restaurants, the variety of meatless ethnic cuisine and the progressive labeling of vegetarian friendly options all contributed to the final tally. Even in meat heavy restaurants, it’s not at all uncommon to find a few vegetarian, or even vegan friendly dishes, and with the labeling of allergens it’s easy to keep track.
Sadly, the timing of the good news really couldn’t be worse for London’s dining scene. Hardly anyone around the world is allowed into the UK at the moment, and even if you are, restaurants are closed for all but delivery in most instances.
There’s typically an uptick in visitors whenever a city wins an award such as PETA’s “Most Vegetarian Friendly”, and while London hasn’t ever needed more general visitors, a group of people exploring and sharing their experience with London’s diverse vegetarian scene only helps to spread the buzz.
With strict social distancing rules in place, many restaurants are shut for the foreseeable future, and its unclear how many will be able to weather the storm, even as lovely veggies come into season. It’s fantastic for London to win such a coveted award against incredible international competition, but a real shame its many superb vegetarian dining establishments won’t get to relish in the afterglow, or the money tree that typically follows.
Still hungry? Check out GSTP’s list of the best cities for cheap delicious food…