Richard Cree 19 May 2017 09:59am

Six of the best: vegetarian restaurants

It’s National Vegetarian Week and plenty of restaurants are serving up all-veggie menus. Here, our senior carrot-muncher-in-chief Richard Cree offers up a selection of his favourite vegetarian eateries
Caption: At Mildred's in London the focus is on the hearty, with a menu is packed full of flavoursome old faves.

For fine dining - Terre a Terre, Brighton

Lots of people have many different reasons for visiting Brighton. There is no question that the main reason I go there is for the food at Terre a Terre. Cheekily, but possibly fairly, describing itself as “the vegetarian restaurant”, meals here are the sort that linger on the palate and stay longer in the memory. A clever, delicious and varied menu includes staples, such as KFC (Korean Fried Cauliflower) and the much-imitated but rarely beaten Better Batter and Lemony Yemeni Relish (essentially faux fish and chips) as well as regular new additions. Without doubt a wonderful experience whether you eschew eating flesh or not.

For global flavours - The Gate, London

Opened in an old artist’s studio way back in 1989, The Gate was the first restaurant where I experienced vegetarian food that didn’t fall into the rugged and worthy category. If not fully fledged fine dining, it was at least considered and beautifully presented. Drawing on a wide-ranging and diverse cultural heritage, the founders have continued to serve up a tight, seasonal menu of delightfully tasty dishes. Better still, as a lazy north Londoner a few years ago (after a stint in Belsize Park), they opened an Islington branch.

For authentic flavours - Greens, San Francisco

Eating out isn’t always the easiest part of a holiday for vegetarians. That’s not the case in San Francisco, where you can always find something to eat. And there is nowhere better than the legendary Greens, opened way back in 1979, as a then-pioneering experiment in farm-to-fork eating. That legendary status is well deserved. But it comes with a warning: if you fly any distance to get there (as I did), leave it a few days. After a long flight, my taste buds were shot and the subtleties of some of the food were lost. A return visit at the end of my trip was far more satisfying.

For a fast food fix - Lord of the Fries, Australia

Even among vegetarians, opinion is divided as to whether it is ever worth attempting to replicate meat dishes. Those non-meaties who are keen to replace or replicate and craving a visit to a fast food joint should head down under. Australia’s Lord of the Fries offers a whole menu of burgers, fries and hotdogs, using both meat substitutes (beef, fish and chicken substitutes are available) and more traditional vegetable patties. All are as delicious as this kind of grubby grub gets.

For trying out veganism - The Allotment, Stockport

For any vegetarians who like the idea of veganism but who worry it may be a step too far, The Allotment is a great place to discover just how delicious Vegan food can be. Appropriately named head chef Matthew Nutter claims he can make aubergine taste better than steak. Notwithstanding that ludicrous claim (we all know it to be the food of the devil), the tasting menu is a revelation.

For comfort food - Mildred’s London

Forgive more of that there London media bias and whatnot, but as a vegetarian who has lived in the capital for over 25 years, it would be odd not to include at least a couple of nods to its veritable panoply of veggie outlets, and unforgivable not to mention this Soho stalwart. Here the focus is on the hearty, with a menu is packed full of flavoursome old faves. New dishes and ingredients come and go, but I rarely look past the mushroom and ale pie, with chips and minty mushy peas. It’s the very definition of comfort.

Richard Cree is editor-in-chief of economia