Vegan and vegetarian-friendly places to eat
A raw food vegan restaurant near High Street Kensington
Saf used to have a ‘proper’ restaurant over by Old Street. I ate there once. The food was nice, but it wasn’t really my kind of place. For one, the portions were tiny. For another, the waiter would explain every dish to you before you were allowed to eat it. Drizzle this, dip that, sprinkle these. I know I’m a bit of a philistine, but I believe if you pay £60 for two (excluding drinks) you shouldn’t be peckish when you leave.
So when a friend told me she had a voucher to use for Saf, I was lukewarm. I kept warning her about the tiny portions. And then my starter arrived, and it was bigger than the main courses I’d had at my previous visit. The main course itself was similarly generous. So that, at least, no longer seems to be an issue.
Maybe I was still crabby about my previous experiences, but my biggest issue was the atmosphere. It’s nicely decorated, and they’ve done what they can. But the upstairs floor is open-plan, and the restaurant is just behind some person-height partitions. It reminded me of a service station food court. A very nice service station, mind; tastefully decorated, fitted out beautifully. But it didn’t really feel like a restaurant to me. And as a result, I’d have felt a bit exploited if we’d paid full price. This is irrational; the prices are on par with other restaurants in London. And yet I do.
Anyway. I had an aubergine stack for a starter, which was delicious. My friend had cashew nut cheese with flax crackers and mango salsa. For a main course I had a Thai curry, and my friend had summer vegetable skewers. Again, they were both winners. My friend described the cabbage that came with the skewers as ‘very Japanese’, which is a high compliment in her book.
Dessert took the form of a vegan tiramisu for me - an interesting novelty, but this was one place where the presentation fell down. Then again, if you can present a tiramisu well you’re a better man than I am. My friend had a chocolate roulade with cherry sorbet. The roulade was a bit dry, but the sorbet was a knockout - utterly bursting with flavour.
So, I would cautiously recommend Saf. It’s not a great place for dates, and I don’t think it’s going to become anyone’s favourite place. But west London isn’t exactly blessed with vegan restaurants, and it’s very convenient if you want to pick up some treats from the Whole Foods downstairs.
Nopudding London was built entirely by Alex Pounds. It's designed as a more geography-centric guide of places to eat. Most veggie listings start with a table of text, but I'm normally trying to answer the question "Where can I get a good meal near _____?". Textual listings aren't very good at that.
I'm only adding places I've visited, as I'm more interested in making personal recommendations than being comprehensive. There are some other places elsewhere in the world, too, if you go looking for them...