• September 24th, 2011quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    COR BLIMEY! it’s about time! vegan drinks are finally coming to london. sure, here in LA it’s a regular occurrence—but this is london’s official “vegan drinks” gathering! epic news, if you ask me. let’s support the UK’s capital in getting pissed whilst celebrating the vegan lifestyle.

    the food boat at tibits...it will be even better with vegan humans and vegan booze!

    the inaugural london vegan drinks will be held on thursday september 29th from 6:30-9:30pm, at tibits in the west end. more info after the jump…

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  • June 14th, 2011mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    Indian-inspired curries are the national dish of my home country, England. We Brits eat an astonishing 3.5 Indian dishes per person EVERY WEEK, we have over 10,000 Indian restaurants (as opposed to “only” 1,400 McDonald’s outlets) and Tikka Masala is the number one consumed dish by a very wide margin in the UK. Indeed, Fish and Chips have long been relegated to and also-ran in the national culinary identity league.

    As a vegan, I’ve yet to find an Indian restaurant that can’t cater to my preferences. Most can prepare vegan dishes if you ask that they not be cooked with butter ghee, and instead use oil or vegetable ghee and omit any yoghurt or cream. Also, there are many Indian restaurants (often Hindu owned or run) which have a strict lacto-ovo vegetarian policy having no meat anywhere on the premises.

    One such restaurant in London is Indian Veg Bhelpoori House which has stood for over 30 years on picturesque Chapel Market in Islington, a few minutes walk from Angel tube station or a nice stroll from busy King’s Cross station. Chapel Market is a narrow cobbled street that has hosted a daily market since Victorian times. Despite much modernization and full immersion into the cultural smorgasbord of the area, Chapel Market oozes old time London – one could be in the 1940s or the 2000s. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell depending on your viewing angle.

    Crammed into what looks like the ground floor space of three large Georgian houses, Indian Veg Bhelpoori House has loud green banners outside proclaiming things like “A vegetarian diet will save the world!” and “Come and try our £3.95 all-you-can-eat buffet!”. Yes, the restaurant is at the same time lovingly familiar yet absolutely quirky.

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  • May 5th, 2011quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    when in london, one place i always make sure to visit is the massive whole foods on kensington high street. the store really is something to behold—it’s 3 stories high with a bakery, a prepared foods room, and a vegan section the size of my house. as if that wasn’t enough, they’ve opened a branch of saf (an amazing and entirely vegan restaurant) in the food court upstairs. london, i am in love.

    vietnamese pho: mange tout, cabbage, cherry tomatoes, baby sweetcorn and rice noodles served with fresh mint. ₤8.50

    we hit up saf in whole foods on our most recent uk trip for a light lunch and were quite impressed. we’d already been fans of the shoreditch location, and the new outlet was just as good. in fact, i totally forgot i was eating in a glorified grocery store.

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  • April 1st, 2011quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    this just in, folks! ms cupcake has officially opened london’s first all vegan bakery and it looks incredible. our blogger buddy fat gay vegan was there at the scene in brixton and not only did he write an awesome post about the new shop, but he also sent us some exclusive photos for today’s quick bite.

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  • March 8th, 2011quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    how would you like to spend a rainy english evening with a warm bottle of sake and a massive spread of vegetables, noodles, and sushi? thankfully london has its very own entirely vegan, entirely organic, and entirely delicious japanese restaurant called itadaki zen, where you can do just that.

    we checked out itadaki zen for dinner one evening and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, despite the fact that we left the restaurant much poorer than when we arrived.

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  • March 2nd, 2011quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    there’s no shortage of delicious vegan food in london, and one place that’s definitely worth a visit is vitao in soho. the small eatery has a sort of hippie vibe, and a very complicated menu depending on the time of day you’re dining.

    we checked them out back in late 2010 at around 4:30pm on a weekday, during the tail end of their “asian fusion lunch buffet.”

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  • January 30th, 2011mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    As a boy growing up in England, my mother used to cook a Sunday Roast every week. It was always a big performance, with lots of ingredients, interminably long cooking time and a somewhat formal consumption ritual of sitting at the big table, usually reserved for guests. Sometimes, though, (when we could afford it) we’d go out for our meal and my memories are filled with those occasions: smiling restaurant staff, large plates of food and plenty of subdued light from the London skies.

    I also look back with sadness on the cruelty that was on my plate: the flesh we so fancifully fried was quickly relegated to a meatona-non gratis as I became vegetarian and then vegan. Indeed, I abandoned Sunday Roast many years ago in despair of such meaty plates all around me.

    Fast forward way too many years for me to remember, and I can gladly confirm that the Sunday Roast is back in my life with a vengeance – at Manna restaurant in Primrose Hill. In fact, special vegetarian Sunday menu items have been served at Manna since the 1960s, and more lately their Vegan Sunday Roast delivers a traditional, yet superior (and of course cruelty-free) offering that’s to die for.

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  • January 18th, 2011mr meaneredinburgh, more restaurants (not LA)

    I’ve long had a love affair with Edinburgh: the most Scottish of Scottish cities. When I lived in London I’d frequently take the sleeper train up late at night for the fringe performances at the Edinburgh Festival, enjoying such classic performances as “Macbeth: In Klingon” and “Live sex on stage as performance art”. Curiously, the second of those two fringe shows had a much bigger crowd than the first!

    While the Edinburgh festival fringe shows don’t remotely stereotype this amazing city, the description of Black Bo’s restaurant on their website could also apply to Edinburgh in general: “Some people call it Bohemian, some call it Leftfield, others call it rustic, alternative, quaint, eclectic, esoteric or simply – ‘That Really Nice Place We Went To 6 Months Ago And Have Never Been Able To Find Again’.”

    Situated in the heart of Edinburgh but in a quiet cobbled street just a stone’s throw from Edinburgh’s main railway station, Black Bo’s is a truly wonderful vegetarian restaurant that’s so unique in appearance, menu and vibe that I can’t think of anywhere remotely like it except, perhaps, Elf in Los Angeles.

    Upon walking into Black Bo’s, you’re presented with a lovely bar area: tables, comfortable seating, tap beer and a huge wine selection. The rear restaurant area has large windows overlooking the Edinburgh rooftops under which sit plenty of comfortable tables and chairs. We were there around sunset time just as the long shadows crept across the bare wooden floors, the perfect autumn light punctuated only by the well melted candles and reflections from the bright stucco beyond.

    After being seated at an oversized two-top table we began to peruse the extensive menu. Our server reassured us that most things either were vegan, or could be prepared as such, and that the kitchen and chef knew what they were doing. I don’t know about you, but a vegetarian restaurant that knows what vegan means is so much better to dine in than an omnivorous place.

    Baked mushrooms stuffed with "haggis" on a bed of turnip mash. ₤5.50

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  • January 16th, 2011mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    Vegan curry is plentiful in Camden Market

    Recently, we skewered an otherwise excellent food stand in London’s Camden Market due to its terrible customer service. Gladly, though, there are several wonderful food choices in the market that serve some pretty damn good Indian food. If you look hard enough, you’ll see “Halal Indian Food” on a few stalls, along with some huge, bubbling pots of very tasty curries.


    If you stay away from anything with meat, the vegetable dishes are nearly always vegan and absolutely always tasty…

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  • January 15th, 2011mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    As a boy, I would spend my summers in Rome being dragged around the piazzas by my bohemian mother. My father is an Italian chef, restaurateur and hotelier, and I suppose some of his passion for food and good service must be in my DNA. Although my food preparation skills leave a lot to be desired, I know when I’m eating good food, and getting good service. Of course, “fine dining” in a vegan sense is rather difficult to find wherever one goes – and so I was delighted to find a highly vegan-friendly vegetarian Italian restaurant in London.

    Like all real Italian restaurants, Amico Bio is owned by a family, one of which is the Chef. In this case, the genius behind the restaurant is proprietor Pasquale Amico who has partnered with his cousins Bruno and Enrique to create a truly superb experience which envelopes your senses even before you walk through the door, and continues as a happy memory long after your visit.

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  • January 13th, 2011mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    Back in the early 80s I lived in Camden Town, North London. It was a wonderful place to be. I could (and did) pop to the Camden Palais to see The Smiths perform. I nightclubbed there with Blondie, Ringo Starr and even Iggy Pop (but I don’t recall much of that evening…).

    Camden is known mainly for its street market which, back then, was only open on Sundays. Unless you were visiting specifically for the market it was best to avoid the whole area, as thousands of Londoners and tourists would descend, rendering it impassable for everybody else. Nowadays, the laws of supply and demand have prevailed and Camden Market has expanded to about two square miles with hundreds of stalls and FIVE dedicated food areas. The market is also open seven days a week, and now sells everything from boots to boiled bagels.

    Sometimes when we visit London, we stay in Camden – it’s convenient for getting around and the late night scene (although no longer at the now-defunct Camden Palais) means that there are plenty of bars and clubs open to the wee hours. One of our favorite places to chill is in the Hawley Arms, the world-famous watering hole oft-frequented by Amy Winehouse, Blur, Oasis (of course, never at the same time) and Alice Cooper, to name but a few.

    Steps away from the Hawley Arms is the northern part of the market which is built under old railway arches and a train repair shop right by the canal. The place is beautiful, and really worth a trip when you go. We visited a few vegan places there last autumn, but none was more memorable (in the worst way possible) than Ha Ha Veggie Bar.

    Ha Ha Veggie Bar is the stand on the right, with the menu written in green

    We showed up mid-morning just as the market was getting going for the day and were greeted in a somewhat sullen manner by the lady serving at the counter. After establishing that nearly everything was vegan (other than the real cheese option), we ordered the Garlic Home Made Veggie Burger, which she prepared on a hot grill inside the stand right in front of us using fresh ingredients. After a wait of about 10 minutes we were handed a plump, juicy burger with grilled onions, crunchy lettuce and wonderful vegan garlic mayo. I’m glad we ordered only one to share, because it was way too big for one person to eat alone.

    Vegan Burger with Garlic Mayo, Lettuce and Onion. ₤3

    After we finished the burger, I returned to the stand to thank the server and take a couple of pictures (from a distance) ready to blog my guts out about how wonderful the experience had been…

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  • January 11th, 2011mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    As a London-resident lacto-ovo vegetarian for decades, I’d always enjoy a trip to Pizza Express. The stone cold marble tables, tiled floor and dim halogen lighting set an urban chic vibe alongside some amazing pizza offerings, many of which are vegetarian. Re-visiting Pizza Express, though, as a vegan required some reorientation with both the the menu and ordering tradition.

    Pizza Express uses a brick oven and hand creates all its dough from scratch daily, as well as preparing fresh ingredients for all the pizzas. The menu often changes, but there is a common core of excellent pizzas, and many of the famous stables (like my old favorite, the Fiorentina) are vegetarian. As any vegan knows, it’s MUCH easier to engineer vegan options from a strongly lacto-ovo menu than it is to try and eke out a vegan existence in a very meat-friendly establishment.

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  • January 5th, 2011quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    so…what happens when you combine an amazing location and vegetarian ethics with healthy/fresh/delicious cuisine? tibits in london, that’s what!

    i first got turned on to tibits by rachel, who wrote a field report on them back in june. her review intrigued me because i couldn’t believe there was such an awesome vegetarian (mostly vegan) restaurant located in the west end that we hadn’t tried yet. after all…london is my favorite city on the planet and this is prime, centrally-located real estate we are talking about! of course we had to check it out…

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  • December 18th, 2010quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    i’ve been wanting visit the Vx (pronounced “v cross”) in london ever since rachel reviewed it back in june. the entirely vegan boutique is just around the corner from st. pancras station and has everything from cupcakes and sandwiches to shoes and shirts, and it’s a must visit if you are ever in town.

    we checked out vx a couple months ago and while they had lots of cool clothes and other things for sale, of course our focus was the food. there was a well stocked fridge full of sandwiches, a case of pies and cupcakes, and an assortment of pastries…ALL VEGAN! i so wish we had a place like this in los angeles.

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  • November 10th, 2010quarrygirledinburgh, more restaurants (not LA)

    the baked potato shop in edinburgh scotland would have to be one of my favorite places on the planet. the all vegetarian establishment is more of a hole in the wall than an actual restaurant, and with a small ordering counter and just one booth to sit at, most of their business is take-out. as their name would suggest, they specialize in baked potatoes with various fillings, but also have several other menu items including vegan sausage rolls, samosas, soups, salads and cakes.

    we arrived to a wet and dreary edinburgh in late september via the caledonian sleeper, and walked uphill in the pouring rain to open the baked potato shop at 9am. now please be warned: even though the shop opens at 9, baked potatoes are not available until 11am. since the weather was awful and most places were closed at that hour, we set up fort in a nearby shopping mall and decided to just wait until the potatoes were ready. 2 hours in a mall may not sound that bad, but the time we spent sitting in that food court under florescent lights with loud 80s music blasting felt like an eternity. anyways, i am happy to report that when we got back to the baked potato shop at around 10:50am, the potatoes were ready and well worth the wait.

    vegan haggis medium baked potato. ₤3.95

    we had a hard time deciding what to order, with the whole shop being vegetarian and over half the menu being vegan. there were cold fillings like hummus, cous cous, and pasta as well as hot fillings like beans, chilli, and curry. but when we saw that vegan haggis was an option, we knew we had to try it. haggis is a traditional scottish dish made from all kinds of disgusting sheep parts, but the vegan version was a quite delicious blend of kidney beans, lentils, nuts, vegetables, oatmeal and seasonings. i’ve never had the real thing so i can’t tell if it tasted “authentic”, but it sure was good. i really wish vegetarian haggis was available here in los angeles.

    there are 3 sizes of potatoes available at the baked potato shop, and i highly suggest you get a small or a medium. the medium size is pictured above, and is more than enough for one person. if you look closely, i think it’s actually 3 smaller potatoes split in half. whatever it was, it was incredible. perfectly warm and soft on the inside and slightly tough on the outside.

    vegan curry medium baked potato. ₤3.85

    we also got a medium potato filled with curry, and it was fantastic as well. the filling was a mix of chickpeas, carrots, and cauliflower in a tomatoey-indian sauce. honestly, the perfect food for a cold and rainy day. like the haggis potato, this one was massive even though we ordered the “medium”. so much food, and a damn good deal at under ₤4.

    hot sausage roll. ₤1.40

    even though we were stuffed to the brim with baked potato, we couldn’t resist ordering some items off the “savouries” menu as well. first up we tried the vegan sausage roll, a long flaky pastry filled up with what i think was soy sausage. i could eat about a million of these things, and like baked potatoes, i think vegan sausage rolls need to become widely available here in the states.

    vegan samosa. ₤1.15

    there are also two vegan samosa options on the shop’s menu—one is filled with haggis, and one with traditional vegetables. after trying the vegan haggis on a potato, we went with the traditional samosa option and it really hit the spot. the enormous stuffed pastry was filled up with warm mushy potatoes, indian spices, and peas. so tasty, we couldn’t get enough.

    while the food is amazing at the baked potato shop, the atmosphere and service are wonderful as well. the walls are lined with colorful gig posters and as i mentioned earlier, there one cozy booth if you are lucky enough to snag it. we were there early on a weekday and the place was empty, so we were able to sit in and eat. thank goodness, because the weather outside was awful and we had nowhere else to go!

    as we were enjoying our meal and ordering item after item, the vegetarian shop owner struck up a conversation with us about everything from fake meat, to our travels, to black licorice. he was so genuinely nice and friendly, not something i’m used to here in los angeles. after we’d shared stories about visiting places around the world, he made us a special cup of tea with hibiscus he’d gotten in egypt!

    it tasted so good, and on top of that, what a kind gesture. i will always remember this sweet little shop for its delicious animal-free food, and also for its friendly owner, charles.

    seriously if you are ever in edinburgh, you absolutely MUST visit the baked potato shop. its such a charming little place, with such wonderful healthy food. i promise you will fall in love with it like we did. my advice: get there early so it’s not crowded, but not so early that they aren’t serving potatoes yet.

    the baked potato shop
    56 Cockburn Street
    EH1 1PB
    0131 225 7572
    Open Mon-Sun 9:00 (11:00 if you actually want potatoes) – 21:00

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