Over the weekend, The Guardian published a relevant and timely article on the unstoppable rise of veganism. Whether it’s for climate change reasons, personal preference or for wellbeing, more people are swaying towards eating a mainly or completely plant-based diet to the point where big businesses including McDonald’s and Pret-a-Manger are updating their menus to accommodate the group of people seeking these foods. But this way of life started long before these big companies found it thanks to a group of forward-thinking, health focussed and quality driven chefs and entrepreneurs. We’ve picked five interesting and innovative food outlets that have been plugging the plant-based life long before the ‘trend’ rolled around.
West Hollywood, USA
A plant-based, Mexican soul food outlet located in the sunny California. If you haven’t heard of this plant-based eatery yet you must have been hiding under a rock. First established in 2009 in San Francisco, the West Hollywood outpost opened in 2014 to service the LA crowd and hasn’t stopped pumping out dishes since. With an extensive and vibrant menu, the focus is on using vegan ingredients only and ensuring they are all sourced from local farmers during the right season.
Covent Garden, London + other locations including the original in New York
By CHLOE. has taken the world by storm. First opening in New York, the concept has travelled across the Atlantic and landed in London with the Covent Garden outlet just opened and one set to do the same in One Tower Bridge. Why so much success? By CHLOE. aims to share delicious, wholesome, plant-based food that fuels and energies without compromising flavour, taste or satisfaction. Their chef-driven vegan menu features locally-sourced ingredients in their most natural form to create inspired dishes, made 100% by the kitchen team daily. The company claims “we are committed to maintaining a sustainable and vegan lifestyle and actively contribute towards lowering our carbon footprint and preserving our planet’s water supply through our animal-free menu, mindful ingredient sourcing and eco-friendly packaging”
Little Bird Organics
Auckland, New Zealand
With one of the owners growing up in a family who pioneered the organic movement in New Zealand, opening Little Bird Organics was a no brainer. The concept has grown leaps and bounds since then and all through the success of creating vibrant, healthy and plant-based dishes that are 100% raw. From chickpea ‘egg’ omelettes to portobello benedict, the menu is exciting and intriguing given there is not a animal-based product in sight. With multiple ‘unbakeries’ around the city and a number of accolades to their name, Little Bird is now expanding into the product world, creating plant-based and raw packaged products which will reach a broader market.
Open since 1898, this is the longest standing vegetarian and vegan eatery in the world according to the Guinness World Records. Their motto is “appreciate, simplify and delight” which they live by by creating authentic, Swiss inspired dishes that are served in a buffet style setting to allow customers to pick and choose their dishes as they please and pay by weight. Provenance is a key value for Hiltl so they aim to source 75% of their ingredients from local regions and their entire wine list is vegan to match their aim to be as sustainable and responsible as possible.
Hiltl Restaurant and Buffet image via Best of Swiss Gastro
Smith and Deli
Located in Future Food’s town, this is one of the most playful and delicious vegan eateries we have found even after travelling the globe. Their focus is on re-inventing hearty, delicious and wholesome sandwiches, wraps and bagels that would traditionally be made with meat. You can order a reuben, a curried egg sandwich, salmon bagels and BLT’s which taste like the real deal but only use vegan alternatives. The shop also serves as a deli store where you can buy daily made pies, lasagna slices, pasta dishes as well as any condiments, sweet treats and extras that you will definitely be made to need as soon as you step inside. The deli is the little sister to Smith and Daughters, the much-loved vegan fine-dining restaurant that is never not fully booked.