Looking for a vegetarian restaurant in London is like looking for a blond person in Sweden: you don’t have to go very far before you’ll bump into one. But to find something really good, you have to be a bit more discerning.
We worked out that between the two of us, Zab and I lived in London a combined 36 years before we became nomadic and left what is my city of birth, and Zab’s adopted hometown, so we’re pretty familiar with it.
However, I’d somehow managed never to visit Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden, and if you know where I’m talking about, you’re probably quite surprised.
I even spent a whole year after finishing university working in a shop literally around the corner (well two corners if you’re being pedantic) and never once set foot in this quaint hidden courtyard set back from one of the main pedestrian shopping streets of Covent Garden.
During our time in London over Christmas 2013 visiting friends and family, we made a point of trying out some new places we’d never eaten in before, and Wild Food Café in Neal’s Yard definitely stands out.
Tucked away upstairs above a shop, this cozy place with communal seating and an open kitchen serves a wide range of vegetarian, cooked vegan and raw vegan food. We visited on a week day at lunch time, and while it wasn’t hard to find a place to sit, it was definitely a popular place where no empty seat was left empty for long.
Zab ordered his usual coffee, and I had a fresh ginger and lemon tea, which was wonderfully comforting on a winter’s day.
Since it seemed suited to the weather, we decided to share the roasted Japanese squash soup (cooked vegan), served with homemade bread. It was perfect.
We then moved on to the wild falafel (raw vegan), which while it doesn’t look like much, was wonderfully tasty with a variety of textures. According to the menu it was “pistachio, olive and superfood falafel, sprouted hummus, baba-ganoush, sprouted quinoa tabouleh, red pepper and tahini dressing served on crisp bread with salad”. Though I’m not sure I could’ve detected all those flavours individually, they certainly worked well together.
Since raw vegan desserts are my new favourite thing, we were obliged to try at least one. We ended up choosing the raw chocolate and almond mousse, which again may look a little odd, but tasted heavenly. Made with banana and avocado, raw cocoa and candied almond, it was wonderfully smooth, though still quite rich. Definitely one was enough for the both of us.
Given that the Wild Food Café is in central London it will come at no surprise that it was rather expensive. Nevertheless, I would definitely recommend it as a laid-back place to try some seriously tasty vegan food in a great location.
- For the meal described here, we paid £28.50 ($46.70)
- Address: 1st Floor, 14 Neal’s Yard, London, WC2H 9DP
- Telephone: +44 207 419 2014
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