Dining out in the hustle and bustle of Brick Lane can be disorientating, the lure of the hawkers, the lights, the people; so much stimulus, that it can seem almost impossible to choose a place to eat and not end up with diner’s remorse. So we thought we’d lend a helping hand and point you in the direction of some of the vegan restaurants that we like to eat when we’re out and about in the area.
You don’t need to go far from Shoreditch High Street Station to find this one. Inside Boxpark is Cook Daily, a great place for grabbing a vegan-friendly bite to eat. Here, the process is simple; walk up to the counter, order one of their tasty bowls (Le Garden, Jungle Curry or The Jerk are our favourite ones), you get your number and sit at one of the communal tables up front. While waiting you have two options: make friends with the neighbours and chat about what’s going on around the area, or play Street Fighter (yes, we’re talking about the retro game that most of us at VO played as kids, long before smartphones were invented). Within minutes your order is up and let us assure you, you’ll be pleased!
This place gets it right, with consistently great food with a risk-adverse vibe (read: no grime music and no challenging staff). The winning concept is imperial Bombay dining as seen through a Wes Anderson lens. And it’s fun!
Provenance is big here, and they are very veggie conscious. There is lots of choice for plant-eaters, all of which are excellent examples of Indian cuisine. The house black daal, bowl of greens, mattar paneer are our personal favourites. Veggie dishes have their own menu section, but can also be found in the main meals for meat-eaters to also consider. Vegan options are highlighted along with gluten-free choices so no-one needs to feel like that ‘difficult’ customer. Dishoom has the idea of options for every down to a T!
Again, you can stumble across the road from of the station and into this one (mind the buses though). Lyle’s is one of London’s paragons of cool, delivering contemporary fine-dining, by people setting the standards in food. Co-owner and Head Chef James Lowe is a St John Bread & Wine alumni, and the vibe both with the food and the décor is reminiscent. The stripped back, clean and serene interior is matched with meticulous ensembles of excellent ingredients, beautifully presented. The kitchen are committed to seasonal, local ingredients and supporting UK producers. We were delighted with the vegetarian menu which gave us a gastronomic experience worthy of the hype.
Just thinking of Som Saa makes our mouths water – it is one of the best places to have Thai in town. What was a pop-up was crowd-funded into a brilliant restaurant serving old school Thai with flair. There are plenty and plentiful vegetarian options and especially good for spice lovers (see the papaya salad and the som tam thai). The delicious grilled aubergine can be adapted for vegans and there’s always a veggie curry to satisfy.
If the heart of Brick Lane is where you want to be and you fancy a burger, get your fix at Mooshies, a vegan burger bar with a healthier slant and thankfully no fake meat in sight. Try the Pulled Mooshie burger or the What’s Ur Beef? if you fancy a more traditional burger. We were most impressed with the Filet-OM-Phish and loved the Japanese twists. We’re looking forward to our return visit to try out the festive burger, The Nutcracker. And don’t forget to add ALL the sides, you can’t have a burger without fries--we couldn’t decide between the sweet potato fries, fries or the cheesy fries, so we had all 3. We had to admit defeat before pudding, but the brownie made us consider the merits of elasticated waistbands. Next time, brownie, next time.