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10 best vegan and sustainable restaurants in Herts & Beds

If you've been thinking about reducing your meat intake to help the environment, try these local vegan and sustainable restaurants for size - they tick the eco-friendly box and deliver on taste, too.

Worried about the impacts of eating out on the planet? Don’t panic, you don’t need to give up going out, or eating meat entirely for that matter. More and more restaurants are putting animal welfare and the environment at the top of the agenda, but that doesn’t mean adopting a diet of rabbit food – these days there are some really creative and mouthwatering vegan and sustainable options around. But don’t take our word for it. Try these brilliant local finds.

Lussmanns, Hertford, St Albans, Harpenden, Hitchin and Berkhamsted (coming soon!)

While it’s predominantly a fish restaurant, this local restaurant group’s calling card is sustainability. In fact, founder, Andrei Lussmann is a pioneer of sustainable dining, championing local, organic produce and high-welfare farming as well as running his restaurants on green energy and recycling 100% of their waste. It’s no surprise that they have won awards for it. So if you do opt for the Pescetarian option you can do so safe in the knowledge that you’ll be eating only MSC-certified fish. Oh and there’s at least one vegan option on every menu, like a warming spiced chickpea and tomato hotpot. Yum!

Thompson, St Albans

There’s no need for vegans to miss out on the fine dining experience at this 3 AA Rosette restaurant, where Head Chef Phil Thompson has created a completely plant-based tasting menu (don’t worry – veggies and meat-eaters are catered for too with their own menus). Plus all dishes are created with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients from Phil’s black book of trusted suppliers. There are five and a seven course options (starting at £59 per head) with paired wines available (from £49 per head extra), and intriguing dishes like Thyme-infused mousse, charred turnip with black garlic and – get this – a sharing vegan cheeseboard! We’re in!

Vutie Beets, Letchworth Garden City

Founders of Vutie Beets, Paul and Harry, are dedicated to showcasing vegan food and creating a more sustainable community. After switching to a vegan supermarket during lockdown, it’s now back in its full café swing. The menu is small but perfectly formed. Pop in for breakfast or brunch and try the Spanish Scramble with crispy tempeh ‘chorizo’ on toasted sourdough or, for lunch, plump for the Black Bean Frijoles Nachos with coconut yogurt and cashew cheeze sauce. And to encourage people to be more active (and use the car less), they’re offering half price drinks to anyone who joins their Sunday runs and bike rides!

Nourish, Letchworth

Based at the Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living, this wholefood café is all about fresh, nutritionally balanced fare. Everything on the menu is veggie with a wide range of vegan options too (many being free-from things like gluten, refined sugars and dairy). Plus it works with the horticultural therapy charity, Growing People, which provides crops of herbs and vegetables to the café, with a ‘plot to plate’ ethos – certainly saves on the air miles! You’ll find breakfast, brunch and lunch options with dishes like Spinach Pancakes with Lime and Chilli Butter, and Nut and Hempseed Burger with Homemade Guac and Caramelised Onions in a vegan brioche bun.

Albero Lounge, Bedford and Rosso Lounge, Biggleswade

While not specifically a vegan restaurant group, these ‘lounges’ make a real point of catering for all dietary requirements, with a particularly impressive vegan menu. Albero Lounge is housed in an old school building on the banks of the river Great Ouse, while the red-tiled Rosso Lounge is just off Biggleswade’s Market Square. These quirky and laid-back café bars have not a measly one or two, but myriad plant-based options to take you through the whole day, from ‘bacon’ butties to burgers and hearty salad bowls.

Veg Heads, Hertford and Bishop’s Stortford

The veritable antithesis of rabbit food, this place claims to offer the best vegan junk food in the hood! Did you know there was such a thing?! They’re a pop-up and takeaway joint based at the Saracen’s Head pub in Hertford and Eat17 in Bishop’s Stortford (find out more about that in our round-up of local refill shops here). Burgers are, erm… colourful (there’s an electric blue one!) and playfully named – fancy a ‘No Harm in a Chikk’n Parm’, a ‘Big Fat American Brunchin’ or how about a ‘V-bab’ (geddit?)? Plus kiddos are catered for too. Sounds naughty but nice!

Chia Naturally Healthy, Hitchin

Describing itself as a ‘café with a conscience’, Chia Naturally Healthy advocates the benefits of a plant-based way of life on both your own health and the environement. Using natural, seasonal and organic ingredients, dishes are free from many allergens but full of flavour. The nourishing bowls and wholesome brunch options can be washed down with a superfood smoothie, nutritional drink (charcoal latte, anyone?), ‘mylkshake’, or immune-boosting shot – that should help you stave off those pesky winter bugs then!

The Vardo, Bedford

This plant-based café specialises in cakes and artisan cheese, showing that eating healthily and environmentally consciously can also be indulgent! You’ll also find brunch options, a salad bar and colourful bowl food. How about a peppered ‘steak’ pasty?

The Greengage Tree, Luton

Pro chefs Frederick and Sarah set up this Luton outpost to combat their frustrations with waste in the food industry. Veganism was the obvious choice for them so they went about creating an affordable meat-like plant-based burger… now they’ve gained a rep for serving the best vegan cheesburgers around – go check ’em out and let us know what you think! They’re also available for takeaway delivery or collection – beats a Macca’s drivethrough anyday. While burgers are clearly their thing, you’ll also find a decent brunch offering from ‘chicken’ waffles to scrambles tofu baps. Oh and all their packaging is biodegradble too – naturally!

Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments below.

Find more ideas here

EATSustainability Month

2 comments on “10 best vegan and sustainable restaurants in Herts & Beds”

  • Laura November 12, 2021

    Green Earth Cafe, St Paul’s Sq, Bedford

  • Hannah Woodward January 29, 2020

    Mudlarks in Hertford and Vutie Beets in Letchworth


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