So you’ve moved to London, perhaps from another country, and you want to experience what it is to be ‘British’ – you want to try afternoon tea, fish and chips and visit all the big department stores to maybe get a few treats for when you (rarely) go back home to see your parents. But afternoon tea means milk and (even worse) cream, fish and chips means (obviously) fish, and treats usually means milk/gelatine/other animal product that makes you question if parents hate or love their children. So how can you enjoy all of this and STILL be vegan? Easy! We’ve collected a few places just to give you an idea, but it is by no means an exhaustive list – get in touch if you’ve found somewhere else we should highlight!
Fish and Chips
The vegan alternative is known as ‘ToFish and chips’, using (usually) battered tofu which is pressed, covered with nori for a sea-like taste, and then deep fried in batter. You can try and make your own from a number of easily-available recipes online (for example, here), or you can visit the famous Norman Coach and Horses in Soho and have someone else make it for you. It seems Black Cat in Hackney have also started to serve tofish and chips, as featured on their instagram here – if their other food is anything to go by, it will be insane. Let us know if you try it!
There are plenty of places in London to enjoy a vegan afternoon tea – even if they don’t specifically offer it, I’ve found that as long as you call in advance, they can accommodate pretty much any diet. I have always lived in London so I’ve done my rounds on the afternoon tea spots – my favourite is probably the Waldorf for a more relaxed, posh atmosphere, but the Savoy was perhaps the most decadent afternoon tea experience I’ve ever had. However, it didn’t come cheap at about £80/90 per person, and I’d say you miss out a bit being vegan – the sandwiches, whilst they tried, were a bit hit and miss, the main was basically a dollop of hummus and courgette (still good), but they did deliver on the scones with vegan cream and jam. Yum!
Most big stores you can navigate your way around and find vegan treats based on ingredients, but if you want a British staple, head to Fortnum and Mason near Piccadilly Circus. Although you can pick from pre-packaged chocolates, you can also pick your own on the right-hand side of the store. Their selection varies based on the time of year and their suppliers, but I have been able to get dark chocolate peanut butter cups near Christmas, and I bought dark chocolate truffles there in June of 2016. They do usually have something that is vegan, so it’s worth taking a look.
By Annie Wood, a third-year Law student at UCL and the current Campaigns Officer. If you’d like to write an article for us, just send us a message!