London is Paris’ vegan-friendly healthy cousin. While Parisians consider black coffee and a cigarette perfectly fine for breakfast, London is all about acacia bowls and green juices. Or at least, that’s what I gathered from the places we visited. Two out of the three restaurants we went to were raw vegan and the other place I was lucky enough to try out was Vx aka Vegan Cross, where I sampled a very not-raw yummy cheese quesadilla (oh, the dripping, melty yumminess of vegan cheese) and a delicious chocolate blueberry cupcake. There are so many other vegan places to try out in London that I wish I had been there for an entire month – with a pot of gold! And don’t even get me started on Whole Foods Market. People of the first world, you should be so grateful!
Wild Food Cafe is situated in Covent Garden and opens at 12pm sharp – make sure you’re waiting at the door if you want to grab a table straight away – there was already a queue forming when we got there at 11:50am. The service was fantastic and the food arrived in very good time for a place so packed with customers. My salad was delicious and jammed full of the good stuff! I could easily have had another one – but then I am just a big pig. Andrew had the burger (of course – which I’m not completely sure was raw, I probably should have taken a photo! Whoops) and proclaimed it to be really tasty and filling. I just had to have a slice of the blueberry cheesecake because you don’t really find vegan cakes of any sort in SA pretty much ever, and I wanted to weigh it up against the one I have made before. It was really yummy – not too sweet and very moreish and kind of similar in taste to the one of my own creation. I should totally open a vegan restaurant. Ha! Nama in Notting Hill reminded me a lot of the amazing Raw and Roxy in Cape Town’s Woodstock region and so of course I loved it! Their sushi rolls in particular were fabulous and they also offer great tapas, raw pastas and all kinds of desserts. I had the basil pesto pasta (surprise, surprise) and Andrew had the tapas platter which was just exploding with flavours of all sorts. Nama also offers courses in raw food cooking as well as catering for functions and events. Just imagine hosting a big vegan birthday party – and not having to do all the cooking! Heaven.
It felt so much easier to be a little plant muncher in London and I must admit that it was a bit of a comedown to come home (kudos to the freaking fantastic vegan meals on British Airways though – I was so impressed!) to only one great vegan salad option at Woolworths (good lord, that grain and lentil salad is a lifesaver) and one or two vegetarian or vegan options, if you’re lucky, on many a restaurant menu around the country. I have faith though that we will very soon be catching up to international standards as more and more awareness around food starts happening in South Africa. I have already noticed – in my nine short months of being vegan – the change in perception of a plant-based lifestyle and the eagerness of people to find out more about it. There is so much opportunity here in SA for both vegan products and eateries and I predict a big boom over the next two years or so. You heard it here first – get on it.
Thank you to my lovely fellow veggie friend Andrea for taking me out and about – can’t wait for our next adventure!