The British Restaurant Awards (BRA) has unveiled its 10 nominations for the “Best Vegan-Friendly Restaurant” category in the UK.
The prestigious awards, which is now in its fifth year, recognizes a variety of dining establishments. The BRA was launched in 2017 by NNMG Ltd, the group who started awards including World Fashion Awards and the National Film Awards UK. It’s set to take place on September 5 in London, with chefs, hospitality professionals, and well-known restaurateurs in attendance.
One of the categories recognizes vegan-friendly restaurants across the country. While they’re not all entirely plant-based, the eateries have all been nominated for their popular vegan menus or food options. The nominations cover a variety of cuisines and locations, and the public is able to vote for their winner here.
“With nominees spanning from London to Newcastle, Bristol to Manchester, and beyond, the event is a true testament to the nation’s gastronomic tapestry,” the BRA said in a statement on its website.
The best vegan-friendly restaurants in the UK
According to the BRA, the 10 eateries nominated for best vegan-friendly restaurant are as follows (NB: not all of these are fully vegan restaurants):
- Down the Hatch, Liverpool (vegetarian and plant-based): This restaurant offers a wide variety of comforting dishes, including burgers, loaded fries, risotto, and katsu curry. It features a range of vegan alternatives like seitan, plant-based chicken, and even vegan calamari
- Root, Bristol (not vegan): While there are non-vegan offerings on Root’s menu, it offers a number of vegetable-based dishes from local suppliers
- Somewhere in Brum, Birmingham (vegetarian and plant-based): This restaurant offers a number of vegan options alongside some vegetarian dishes
- Stem + Glory, Cambridge (plant-based): Stem + Glory offers a range of different cuisines and dishes, all of which are entirely vegan. Examples include Bang Bang Broccoli, Fillet of “Seabass,” and Tempeh Tikka Masala
- Bubala, London (vegetarian and plant-based): While it does feature some veggie dishes, Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant Bubala does offer an extensive vegan menu
- Twelve Eatery, Bournemouth (plant-based): Twelve is a hugely popular restaurant that was previously voted the fifth best in the world for vegan food. Menu options include dairy-free Breaded Camembert and a ‘Rib-Eye’ Steak
- No.Twelve, Nottingham (plant-based): This vegan restaurant describes itself as “casual fine dining,” and offers a seven-course tasting menu alongside it’s a la carte menu
- Késarum, Southampton (plant-based): This Indian restaurant offers a range of vegan meat alternatives in its dishes. Examples include Paneer Tikka, Masor (Fish)’ Teng, as well as Chicken Tikka Jhaalfrézi
- Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen, Bath (vegetarian and vegan): While this restaurant offers some non-vegan dishes, most of its options are plant-based
- Bōkan, London (not vegan): Bōkan is not plant-based, but it does offer a vegan version for each menu.
The rise of veganism in the UK
As recently as a decade ago, eating out as a vegan could often be a stressful experience. Veganism was still a relatively niche lifestyle, with a limited number of options available at most eateries. Restaurants tended to be heavy on animal products, and there was no guarantee you’d be catered for.
Over the last few years, however, the number of vegans in the country has skyrocketed. There were around 150,000 in the UK in 2014, and this figure quadrupled to 600,000 in 2019. To cater to this ever growing plant-based population, many mainstream eateries have been adapting their menus to make them more vegan-friendly.
A wide variety of traditionally meat-heavy chains have been adding an increasing number of vegan options. These include Nando’s, Pizza Express, and even Burger King and McDonald’s.
In 2021, fast food chain Burger King UK announced that it was planning to make 50 percent of its menu meat-free by 2030. Such a move would have seemed unthinkable a few years ago, but it reflected the sharp rise in popularity of meat-free meals in the country.