10 of the best places to eat vegan
Going vegan for January or just fancy a bit of a health kick? We've rounded up the places across the counties to try plant-based eating for size.
Happy veganuary! Yep, it’s a thing (where have you been?), and if you’re ditching the meat and dairy this month in a bid to become a bit healthier or do your bit for the environment that doesn’t have to mean giving up eating out too. Here’s our pick of the best places to eat vegan in Herts & Beds, from fine dining to weekend brunch.
The Florist, Watford
Just as pretty as it sounds, The Florist is as much a sensory experience as it is a restaurant, where you’ll be surrounded in abundant floral flourishes as you eat. It only opened last year and just landed is their Vegan Vision menu. Everything on it is plant-based so there’s no need to pick through for the VGs with a fine tooth comb. It’s Asian/fusion in style with small plates like Bang Bang Cauliflower and Mushroom Satay Skewers to hearty Sri Lankan Curry, Tofu Sliders and Tacos, as well as desserts, smoothies and oat milk lattes. Yum!
Muddy Award-winning boutique hotel, D’Parys has 14 quirky bedrooms, but is also a bar and restaurant in its own right, with vintage décor and roaring log fires. We’re tempted by its vegan menu which includes a Warm Braised Fennel Salad, BBQ Jackfruit burger and Massaman Curry. There’s even an option to go for the Set Menu, with vegan options for all three courses.
This slick fine dining spot got a coveted mention in this year’s Michelin Guide and the kitchen is headed up by MasterChef: The Professionals finalist Scott Barnard – need we say more? As well as the Chef’s Table experience where you can enjoy the seven to nine-course tasting menus (there’s a veggie option available), they’ve recently extended their foodie offering to include a more casual dining room menu and yep, you guessed it, there’s one just for vegans. You’ll find delectable sounding small plates like Pearl Barley Risotto with Pickled Cauliflower, Jackfruit and Chipotle Tacos and a Tofu Chocolate Mousse.
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 if you’re bringing non-vegan guests). There are five and a seven course options (starting at £52 per head) with paired wines available (from £30 per head extra), and dishes featuring intriguing combos, like Herb Quinoa with Pickled Cucumber, Salt Baked Celeriac and Blackberries, and Roast Turnip with Smoked Almond and Quince.
Lussmans, Tring, Harpenden, Hitchin, Hertford and St Albans
Don’t be put off by the fact that this one calls itself a ‘sustainable fish and grill’. With five branches in Hertfordshire – the newest of which opened in Tring in 2017 – it caters well for vegans, too. Starters include Roast Butternut Salad and Spiced Aubergine Bruschetta, while there’s a Chickpea Hotpot and Cauliflower Couscous on the mains and even a couple of vegan puds – the coconut and date cheesecake sounds divine!
Nonna’s, Woburn Sands
Whether you’re after somewhere for a girls’ lunch, family gathering or romantic dinner, Nonna’s Mediterannean style restaurant ticks all the boxes – it’s cosy, welcoming and uses local produce too. What’s more it’s got a full vegan menu (available from 11 Jan) with some really clever dishes – no soggy salads in sight! I like the sound of the Dirty Vegan Pink Lady (olive tapenade, smoked carrot, vegan may and caramelised figs), and the sumac-spiced ‘schnitzel’.
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 all those naughty but nice things like gluten, refined sugars and dairy). It serves breakfast, brunch and lunch, with dishes like Spinach Pancakes with Lime and Chilli Butter, and Nut and Hempseed Burger with Homemade Guac and Caramelised Onions.
Made in Bedford, Bedford
This artisan-boutique-cum-café has all the eco creds. Pop in for a coffee and you’ll end up sticking around for some vegan pancakes or tofu scramble (all freshly prepared daily by the vegan chef), and leaving with some environmentally friendly beeswax wraps and a bamboo toothbrush!
Chia Naturally Healthy, Hitchin
Dedicated to the benefits of a plant-based way of life, this health-conscious café uses natural, seasonal and organic ingredients and while the dishes are free from many allergens they’re full of flavour. The nourishing bowls and wholesome brunch options sound just the ticket for a healthy kickstart, and why not wash it down with a superfood smoothie, nutritional drink (charcoal latte, anyone?), ‘mylkshake’, or immune-boosting shot?
Albero Lounge, Bedford
Housed in an old school building on the river bank this quirky and laid-back café bar makes a point of catering for all dietary requirements and has an impressive vegan menu, with not just one or two, but loads of plant-based options to take you through the whole day. You’ll be spoilt for choice, from vegan brunch and ‘bacon’ butties to vegan tapas, superbowls to sandwiches and burgers to burritos. Tuck in!
Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments below.