Last month, my friend Emily and I spent a weekend in London as we had tickets to a Ben Howard gig at Alexandra Palace. As the gig was due to finish late on the Friday – and Ally Pally is literally in the middle of nowhere – we decided to book a hotel to allow us a full day in London on the Saturday. We both love food and discovering new places, and because we aren’t in London that often, we always end up spending all our money checking out new eateries. This Saturday was no exception, and we accidentally ended up on a mini vegan food crawl!
Being massively hungover following our gig, the only sensible suggestion for breakfast was a fry-up. We hopped on the tube at Victoria and set off for Camden market. Opposite the market is a small vegan and vegetarian cafe called ‘Inspiral Cafe’ which overlooks the river. As well as offering a selection of lunch and dinner options, Inspiral is known for its breakfasts, and has even been awarded ‘Best Vegan Breakfast of the Year’. A fry-up is great, but a healthy fry-up is even better.. make it vegan and you are on to a winner! Inspiral’s breakfast menu contains a ‘full vegan bake up’, which is what we both opted for. Homemade sausages, potatoes, tomatoes, tofu scramble, mushrooms, beans and salad garnish… YUM! I washed mine down with a Berry Bliss smoothie made from avocado (doesn’t taste as weird as it sounds), blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, acai, bananas and dates.
Making the most of being in Camden, we trawled through the market in an attempt to walk off our breakfast food babies. As well as a plethora of shops selling anything from vintage goods, to beauty products, there are also a bunch of food stalls. There are hundreds of amazing food options; from pizzas and wraps, to Ethiopian curries. One stall offers a cracking falafel wrap with all the extras; best falafals I’ve ever had and the wraps are as big as my head! Although bursting at the seams from breakfast, Emily was on a mission to find a vegan bakery she’d heard about. It didn’t take us long to find it, and she was soon stocking up on vegan cakes! The bakery is called ‘Cookies and Scream‘ and everything is vegan AND gluten free. There was a good selection of cakes and bakes and the glorious smell of cookies baking wafted over the counter as everything is cooked within the stall. Emily managed a gooey chocolate and marshmallow slice (with a little help) and we bought a brownie for later.
After wandering around aimlessly for a couple of hours enjoying the sunshine, it was soon time for lunch. Emily recommended a vegetarian/ vegan buffet style restaurant that she’d been to before and was desperate for me to try all of their goodies, so that was our next stop! The restaurant is called ‘Tibits‘ and originates from Switzerland; the London venue is their only UK destination so far. Found just off Regent Street, a short walk from Piccadilly and Oxford Circus, Tibits has a huge selection of vegan and vegetarian options. Unlike a standard all-you-can-eat buffet, you fill your plate and weigh it at the tills, with the price worked out by weight. Sadly this means it is ridiculously expensive!! I know to expect a little more with London prices, but I was careful not to load my plate up too much (or with anything too heavy!) and mine still came to £15!! I had mostly salad with a little cous cous, tofu, ‘beef’ stew and one jalapeno popper…See the pic below. It’s a great place for a treat as the selection is really varied and there were loads of options I hadn’t tried before BUT if I’d have got exactly what I wanted, it would probably have cost about £30! 😛
Sorry about the sloppy plateful! It was only after I’d loaded up my plate that I realised I should probably have made it look a little more presentable…
Following lunch, we decided to head to Brixton so that Emily could buy some vegan cupcakes for her sister’s upcoming birthday. The tube would be been quicker, but Emily has a bizarre affection for exploring London by bus, so the decision was made to take the long, but scenic route! This was admittedly my first London bus experience… Despite having been to London many times before, I had always stuck with what I know best – the tube. The thought of being on a bus, not knowing the route or whether I was heading in the right direction was all too terrifying! Emily ensured me she knew the way, so I was able to sit back and enjoy the view. It’s actually a lot nicer travelling by bus, rather than being jammed on to a sweaty tube, so I’d recommend giving it a go – you have to sit on the front seats upstairs though.. obviously!
Unfortunately our bus driver gave up on life halfway along and pulled in to a stop to let everyone off. With no reason as to why we were all now having to get off, we did as we were told and stood patiently waiting for the next one to come along. Thirty minutes later, we reluctantly decided that we may as well walk the remainder of the journey and set off on a thirty minute hike for cupcakes!
We soon arrived at ‘Ms Cupcake‘ – a vegan bakery specialising in cupcakes. I was fit to burst after the insane amount of food we’d consumed, but couldn’t leave without trying one, so bought myself an Oreo cupcake to have later. Emily went all out, buying TWELVE cupcakes, assuring me that they were ‘for her sister’… sure!
After our wonderfully food-filled day exploring London, we parted ways as I left to stay another night with a friend in Richmond. When I arrived, my friend excitedly announced ‘We’re having Chinese for dinner!’ and was disheartened to see my response was more BLEUGHH than YAAY! However, I’m a trooper and I powered on through, somehow managing to polish off a Chinese too. Unintentionally, it turned out that the restaurant we ordered from (Good Earth) had a great veggie selection and my ‘chicken’ with cashews was incredible! So much so, that the meat-eaters happily wolfed down my leftovers, despite previously making jokes about my meat-free choice…