Japanese cuisine is notoriously full of vegetables, whether they are steam, pickled, raw or fried. And with a love for soy and miso, noodles and rice it can’t be too hard to make a delicious Japanese, plant-based meal, or can it? What about when it comes to sushi? It is all too fishy? Before you rule out sushi, take a look at our list of top 6 places to eat get your plant-based sushi fill in London.
1- Itadaki Zen, Clerkenwell
Billed as Europe’s first organic, vegan Japanese restaurant that takes waste seriously and encourages customers to do the same. Expect to find a range of plant-based sushi and other Japanese classics, like bento boxes, udon and tempura. The menu also offers a range of gluten free menu options and takes its health focus further by adding brown rice flour to increase the fibre content in its traditional sushi rice. We also like their fried dishes, like the tempura, include seaweed to assist with digestion. We’re not sure of the science behind this one, but we love both tempura and seaweed, so we’re sold.
2- Uchi, Hackney
A brilliant example of Japanese food, perhaps where you’d least expect to find it. From a residential Hackney street, step into an oasis of Zen, the calm and sleek interior design is understated, showing cool, creative flair. The attention to detail embodies the approach to food here too. The menu is imaginative and responds individual dietary choices (vegetarian and vegan, naturally). The sushi goes beyond expectation and there are a number of plant-based options. Dishes like the miso aubergine and tempura broccoli competed for our affections, but anything you order is pretty delightful.
3- Saki, Crouch End
Its no-MSG policy and it’s friendly, local feel, make Saki a favourite Crouch End haunt. There are a several veg-based nigiri, such as the seaweed gunkan, tamago and inari, as well as all several hand rolls, some standard and others more exotic like the Green Goddess which contains kelp powder. A must try is the restaurant’s signature Rock n’ Roll hand roll featuring sweet potato tempura and Kewpie mayo (the cult-classic Japanese mayo, and no, it’s not vegan). There’s also a veggie sushi platter, a veggie bento box, as well as a tofu steak, croquettes, agedashi tofu and and gyoza on the menu, and all worth a try.
4- Sushinoen, Aldgate East
Named by Stylist Magazine as one of the best Japanese restaurant in London, Sushinoen is a more a casual, unpretentious sort of affair than you’d expect from somewhere just on the edge of the city. Whilst the plant-based sushi is more of your standard fare (think inari and cucumber rolls), there are also some seasonal vegetable rolls to tempt and if you don’t feel like sushi or want to supplement your sushi, there are several veg-based starters and veg versions of the ramen, yakisoba and yakiudon. And definitely make sure you leave some space for tempura fried ice cream.
5- Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, several across London
London’s go-to for Japanese/Danish (yes, you read that correctly) fusion food comes via one of Denmark’s most successful restaurant chains. Famed for its fresh sushi and yakitori-style sticks there are several inventive twists on standard plant-based sushi on offer. Try the fresh and crunchy snow pea and red onion or the avocado with miso aioli nigiri before moving on to the maki. The Green Maki, Garden Roll and the Mamma Mia are up for grabs, and ss for the ‘sticks’, choose from the grilled king oyster mushrooms with miso butter or the sweet potato with teriyaki. There’s also the Green Gate Salad if you want to up your greens. And, everything, to our delight, can be served with a side of kimchi.
6- M & D Japanese, Deptford
M&D is one of several unassuming gems gracing Deptford High Street with its very veg-friendly menu. You’ll find your usual avocado and cucumber rolls, but also others with tofu, sweet potato and pumpkin. There’s even a cucumber roll tempura which combines two classics in what we are certain is a delicious improvement on both. Also on the menu are other noodle, curry and rice dishes, with several inviting plant-based options. The space is small, but you have the option of dining in, takeaway or delivery. There is a so much variety here, that we’re certain this is one Friday night takeaway that will please everyone.