National Vegetarian Week – The Upcoming goes veggie
National Vegetarian Week, running from 20th to 26th May, sees a huge range of events aimed at extolling the virtues of all things veggie, including discounts on vegetarian meals at a number of restaurants, free talks, demonstrations and workshops.
Organised by the Vegetarian Society, the week serves as a chance to celebrate vegetarianism and to challenge people across the country to put just a little more thought into choosing another burger or bacon buttie.
Liz O’Neill, head of communications at the Vegetarian Society, said: “Going vegetarian is fun, tasty and seriously rewarding, and there’s never been a better time to enjoy a meat-free lifestyle. Our world is complicated enough and this one surprisingly simple change will benefit your health, the environment and animals.”
Beyond this week’s events, The Vegetarian Society offers year-round advice and resources for anyone looking to move away from meat, encouraging those who can’t quite see their way past their Sunday roast to try at least one meat-free day a week. And for any questioning carnivores who aren’t quite sure where to start, London has a growing range of high-quality vegetarian restaurants.
Perhaps most famous of all – with a Michelin recommendation to its name – Vanilla Black has a truly gourmet menu (think Goat’s Cheese and Toasted Cauliflower Mille Feuille or Brie Ice Cream with Pickled Plums and Mulled Custard), and offers an experience to match any of its high-end London rivals. For a taste of the Mediterranean, Amico Bio offers a range of antipasti, risotto and pasta dishes, as well as full-blooded mains like Borlotti Bean Ragout with Roasted Pumpkin and Pan-fried Spelt Cake with Crispy Aubergines and Salsa Verde. Offering tastes from even further afield, the chefs at Itadaki Zen take simple ingredients – rice, noodles, tofu, nuts – and turn them into stunning, flesh-free Japanese meals. 222 Veggie Vegan celebrates more Western culinary traditions with a swathe of hearty dishes that sound like something you might find in an alpine chalet – roast, stroganoff, raclette, risotto – yet as one of the city’s few vegan-only restaurants, gets happy visitors from across London come rain, shine or snowfall.
Perhaps it is The Bonnington Café, in Vauxhall, that best captures something of the ethos that sets these restaurants apart from the ever-increasing circles of burger joints and oyster houses across London. Started as a squat café, The Bonnington is now open to all-comers but operates as a co-operative, with a number of different volunteer chefs on rotation rather than a single head chef. That means menus might move around the globe on any given night, but what doesn’t change is the community spirit and the care that each chef puts into thinking about their meals and getting the best out of their ingredients.
It’s that sense of making more of the produce that is in our reach that also seems to underpin National Vegetarian Week. And certainly, if the world was a bit more Bonnington and a bit less Burger King, that would surely be a good thing.
For further information about National Vegetarian Week visit here.