The 2nd part (of three) detailing my London Vegan Foodie Adventure!
Wasn’t feeling all too great (the start of some sort of cold brewing), so stayed put after the hotel breakfast, which now consisted of vegan bacon, vegan sausages, beans, and toast – thanks to a shopping trip and an obliging hotel chef.
Determined not to let the sniffles descend into anything too savage, I left for lunch after spending the morning doing some admin in my hotel room.
Friday 23rd Lunch – Essence Cuisine, Shoreditch
Don’t try to see Essence Cuisine as cold and clinical, but rather as hip and trendy. Regardless, their food is insanely good! They’ve created a “free-from” menu that really doesn’t disappoint.
I then spent the rest of the day in my hotel room (sad, I know) before meeting a friend who had just arrived in London. We went to watch Pippin at the Southwark Playhouse (excellent!) and in the quest to find something to eat stumbled across an indoor food market.
Friday 23rd Dinner – Mercato Metropolitano, Southwark
This place was EPIC, and just the thing to retreat from the cold of the London “spring”. I say “spring” because it had literally been snowing a week ago.
Saturday morning was pretty shitty (killer Man Flu), and I spent all day in bed, only getting up to go watch Caroline, or Change at the Hampstead theatre at 3pm. After that, I headed to Marylebone for some dinner and Five Guys Named Moe – which I only lasted the first three songs, got up and left. Fail.
Saturday 24th Dinner – The Gate, Marylebone
I’d been to The Gate before, and while it’s definitely a tad pricey, this vegan and vegetarian restaurant never disappoints. It is probably the best plant-based restaurant in London (or at the very least, the most well-known). Because I’d felt ill all day and hadn’t eaten, I decided to pig out a bit. Then I felt ill in a different way. Lose/lose situation.
I started off by downing a freshly-squeezed carrot, apple and ginger juice in the hopes that it would help aid my killer Man Flu.
I headed through to the Marble Arch Theatre to watch Five Guys Named Moe, I am ashamed to admit I left after three songs. It was just not my vibe. I had a crap seat, and I my cough and snotty nose was getting the better of me. I wasn’t in the mood to sit through a two-hour show.
So, home I went to sleep off the bug.
I decided not to have breakfast at the hotel the next morning and set out instead for the famous Brixton Vegan Market only to find out (after traveling for nearly an hour) that it only consisted of three vendors and was next to a very meat-heavy farmer’s market. Fail. Luckily we were close to another interesting location:
Sunday 25th Brunch – Pop Brixton, Brixton
Pop Brixton is a community project and home of independent retailers that was formed when disused land was turned into a creative space for local and independent businesses. Think of it as a plot of land full of start-ups consisting of food, retail, design, and social enterprises. There’s even a community farm, and “The People’s Fridge” (see below).
Sunday 25th Pre-Show Snack – The Gallery Cafe, Bethnal Green
The show we were going to see was close to The Gallery Cafe (that I’d been to the week before for breakfast), so I decided to SHARE a red velvet cupcake and hummingbird cake with one of my fellow theatre travelers. Sadly, the hummingbird cake had banana it is, so I ended up only having half the red velvet cupcake. Just as well. The Universe is definitely telling me to cut out the crap, although – it was SOOO good!
Our next show was an immersive experience called The Grift, an epic two-hour clue solving a mystery by trying to screw over a conman by the name of Hammersmith. Yours truly ended up taking over (as usual) and led the team 11 players through some pretty epic clues through a hotel where the adventure took place. Afterwards, we rushed to the other side of London to watch a production of Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, one of his lesser-known works. I now appreciate why it is lesser known – although I am glad I saw it.
Sunday 25th Post-Show Snack – Cookies & Scream Bake Shop, Holloway Rd
I took the theatre group to Cookies & Scream and “forced” my veganism on them by buying them all Cookie Dough Shakes, whilst I had a Brownie Shake. I decided the brownie option was my new favourite!
As if I couldn’t make a poorer choice, I had fries from Five Guys for dinner – probably the worst place for vegans. I was with the group – so made do. Bad life choice.
Monday 26th Breakfast – Natural Kitchen, New Street Square
Natural Kitchen is far from vegan, but it’s 8 locations spread across London have some super healthy vegan options.
Decided to do a day trip out to Richmond with a friend. I had been once before and had an AMAZING time that involved quaint cobblestoned streets and gorgeous little stores, followed by a show performed by midgets at the Richmond Theatre. I’m not kidding. It was brilliant! This time around I wanted to check out Richmond Park as it is famed for its freely-wandering deer.
Monday 26th Lunch – Bhuti, Richmond
Bhuti is a one-stop health shop that has yoga, pilates, treatments, therapies, workshops, events, and of course an organic vegan cafe that is open seven days a week. Naturally – I had to try it: When in Richmond, and all that…
Monday 26th Snack – Hummingbird Bakery, Richmond
We grabbed a casual dinner at Pizza Express (not worth documenting) before heading to see what was the single worst production of Chicago I have ever witnessed starring Cuba Gooding Jr. What a waste of time. Went to bed that evening in a super shitty mood. Fortunately, some of the shows that followed made up for it – read on…
On Tuesday morning I said goodbye to the theatre group and checked into my AirBnB in Kensington (near Notting Hill station) before heading out for some lunch.
Tuesday 27th Lunch – Redemption, Notting Hill
Probably one of London’s healthiest restaurants, Redemption serves up food that is vegan (of course), sugar-free as well as wheat-free and has a bar that is alcohol-free. What could be healthier than that? And the music – LOVE LOVE LOVE!
Tuesday 27th Dinner – Wulf & Lamb, Chelsea
The folks at Wulf & Lamb have crafted a menu that satisfies your craving for junk food, without compromising on quality – so indulgence is encouraged! 100% vegan.
The hottest theatre ticket in (London) town has to be Hamilton, an American musical that has literally taken the world by storm, revolutionizing the way we look at musical theatre as an art form. I was fortunate enough to secure a ticket and sat mesmerized for two hours. It was, in one word, flawless.
Wednesday 28th Breakfast – Kin Cafe, Fitzrovia
What I love about Kin Cafe is that the dishes are changed daily – mostly vegetarian, with a strong vegan offering (and raw options too). You can tell the folks at Kin Cafe are fiercely passionate about what they do.
I spent the rest of the day chilling at my AirBnB, because, you know, eating can be exhausting, and then made my way to another immersive theatre show called Somnai. It was based on the idea of lucid dreaming, and by combining a tactile experience with virtual reality, it literally felt like I was on some sort of psychedelic trip. I flew with geese, stepped off cliffs, flew through space, was locked in a basement, terrorized by a bunny, chased by a shadow – all in the space of two hours, that literally felt like 5 seconds. What an incredible experience. One of the best things I have seen to date.
The following day (Thursday), I spent most of the day at “home”, catching up on work, but then headed out for a late lunch/dinner at The Diner in Islington.
Thursday 29th Dinner – The Diner, Islington
And to end off my second week, I watched a phenomenal production of The Mikado at the King’s Head Theatre: a cast of 8 accompanied by a pianist. BRILLIANT!
Stay tuned for Part 3.
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