Earlier this year I traipsed across London looking for the 5 Best Vegan Breakfasts, as a guest writer for About Time Magazine. I have to say, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but fortunately breakfast is my favourite meal of the day! You can view my article here, but I wanted to write my own post which gives a bit more information and includes the breakfasts that didn’t make the cut!
Black Cat Vegan Cafe, Hackney
This was a brilliant little find and easily our favourite, if not purely because it is a completely vegan cafe and we didn’t need to figure out what we could and couldn’t have. I took my family with me and we very definitely over-ate! Because it just seemed wrong not to- we live in Richmond, so we had to make the trip worth it, right?!
Black Cat has brilliant Fry-Ups in the weekends, a huge plate of delicious food that we could not fault at all. The pancake was an extra touch that no other cafe included, and we liked that it came with both sausages and ‘bacon’. The soy flat white was perfect in every way that a flat white should be, as was the chocolate milkshake my daughter devoured. I chose the ‘healthy breakfast’ which was a full plate of Scrambled tofu, salads and pitta breads. My daughter had the falafel plate which included salads also and very definitely the best falafel any of us had tasted. Every aspect of each meal was made superbly, all from scratch and of a very high standard, someone here knows how to cook. I love supporting places like this too. It’s not a fancy London Cafe with ridiculous prices, it’s what you would call ‘honest food’, friendly service and authentic and quite brilliant vegan cooking. I just wish it was closer to me! No one could be disappointed eating here, all their food looks good so I would recommend a visit at any time of the day.
Average prices: Vegan Fry-Up, £ 7.50
Top marks from me 10/10
Kin Cafe, Foley Street
Close to Oxford Street this cafe is in a handy location, it has a nice bright, clean look and feel with great service. They have a wide array of vegetarian food and a good selection of vegan options too. Breakfast was a real treat and we again ordered more than we ought to! But after sampling their delicious Scrambled Tofu Sandwich, far and away the best scrambled tofu of all the cafes, and my yummy bowl of Millet Porridge which had stewed apple and spices in it, we really had to taste their beans on toast too. It didn’t disappoint either, totally homemade and an absolutely beautiful dish. Such care and attention to detail, no matter how small, always impresses me. I love to see people that are very obviously big foodies who strive to make everything special, even a plate of beans. I am the fussiest diner out there, seriously I am a big complainer! I just can’t help it, I hate paying for food when I think someone hasn’t put a lot of effort in. So I am a huge fan of this fantastic little Cafe and I really hope they continue to do well. Charlie is a great guy who sent us off with some tasty slices of their vegan flapjack too. The only thing I didn’t like was the coffee, I am a Wellingtonian and we are notoriously fussy about coffee and this one didn’t do it for me.
Kin Cafe, 22 Foley Street, W1W 6DT
Average Prices: Tofu Scramble Sandwich £5.00, Millet Porridge £3.50, Beans on Toast £ 3.00
High marks of 9/10 ( better coffee and I would have given 10! )
The Gallery Cafe, Bethnal Green
I loved the look and feel of this cafe, it reminded me a lot of my home city, Wellington, New Zealand. There were loads of options here and more friendly, helpful service. My husband and daughter both had the Vegan Fry-Up, and it didn’t disappoint. A generous plate which included, sausages, beans, scrambled tofu, hash brown, tomato, mushroom and toast. Personally, the scrambled tofu was not to my liking, it had grated carrot in it and too much apple cider vinegar, the taste just wasn’t right. But I myself ordered the Breakfast Enchilada, which was delicious, just the right amount of spice and very filling. The soy flat white were very good and we couldn’t resist ordering something sweet too. I thought it was great they had vegan and gluten free options, we chose a Chai Cupcake and Brownie Bites. The cupcake was seriously good, nice and light which isn’t easy to achieve with gluten free and vegan baking, and the brownie bites were out of this world! Oh my! They nailed that recipe. Overall a brilliant little cafe, not surprised at all at how rammed it was, its popularity is well deserved.
Average Prices: Full English £7.50, Breakfast Quesadilla £6.95
High marks 9/10.
Tanya’s Raw Cafe, My Chelsea Hotel, Chelsea
I had a divine and seriously healthy breakfast here on my own followed by an hour of reflexology down the road in Sydney street- I know, it’s a hard life right? The menu offers a good selection of very well made raw delights. I chose the Raw Fruit Crepe, which was impeccably presented and tasted just as good. I had a ‘my Doctor’ juice, also really good and very refreshing too. I make raw food myself at home, I have a dehydrator and some fantastic gadgets, so I know what it takes to make these well. However, I found this cafe to be very expensive. All up my meal was almost £18, for a single pancake with fruit and nut cream, a juice and a ‘double poured coffee’, which I was not fussed about actually. I understand this type of food is a long process, but I think for most this would be over-priced. Thankfully its in Chelsea I guess. I met Tanya there too, she is very attentive and even coped with me blabbing on about my thyroid! Although she seemed quite keen to get away from me in the end! But having someone who cares and is overseeing things is really important, and I can tell from speaking to her she genuinely cares about peoples health. I definitely recommend this for a really healthy, vegan and delicious meal, but go with plenty of cash.
Average Prices: my Doctor juice, £6.35, Fruit Crepe, £9.70
High Marks 7.5/10
Inspiral Cafe, Camden
This cafe is a bit of an institution in London now, famed for its divinely indulgent raw deserts which you can find at good health food stores. I am a massive fan of raw food, but on this occasion I was really wanting to try their Vegan Fry Up which I had heard great things about. We checked it all out online and were happy to see the ‘All Day Breakfast’- we live in Barnes and I am very claustrophobic so we had to get 2 buses there making timing an issue, especially on a Sunday morning! We were pretty ravenous when we got there and were set for a nice hearty brunch, only to be told that the Fry Up itself, stopped at noon. No mention of this on the website at all! I told the guy I was writing for a mag and had done my research with no indication on their site this was the case, but to no avail. ‘ You should have got here earlier’ was his response. Nice. To make matters worse, we sat down and the 2 ladies next to us were served the Fry Up, the last of the day apparently. I instead ordered a chia pudding and a small pancake, barely touched the sides, I was left really hungry. My husband ordered mushrooms on toast and my daughter beans on toast, pretty standard, nothing special and all in all it was too expensive. This was only my second visit to Inspiral, and the visit previous wasn’t exactly enjoyable either. I understand the expense of raw food, for the gourmet recipes you need specialist equipment, to activate nuts etc etc But I do think that for the money, the space needs updating, it needs a good clean and the crazy menus need sorting out. There are to many separate menu boards and on both occasions I found it all overwhelming and irritating. My biggest complaint was the Green Queen Smoothie I ordered, was actually pre-made. Our friendly server pointed it out to me in the open-front chiller behind me. This is a big no-no for me. Green smoothies should be fresh or they start to taste like grass, which it did. I know people rave about Inspiral, but in my opinion it is a seriously over-rated cafe. To give them credit, when I tweeted them my complaint, they did get in touch and gave me a £10 voucher for my trouble, thanks but that barely covered the wasted bus fares. Honestly, I can think of better places to travel to for a good vegan meal. Fortunately we jumped in a cab and found Black Cat Cafe immediately after. Please note, the review that appears on the About Time Magazine review was added by the Editor.
Inspiral Cafe, 250 Camden High Street, London NW1 8QS
Average Prices: Full Vegan Bake-Up £8.50
My honest rating 5/10, my husband would give it far less, he hated it.
La Suite West Hotel, Inverness Terrace
I was really excited when I found out about this, through another bloggers review of their Vegan Afternoon Tea. They not only serve a vegan breakfast, but they have a raw cafe for lunch and dinner. I had high hopes. I took a friend along to show him just how great vegan food could be! But unfortunately, I chose the wrong place. I am never that comfortable going to eat in a hotel, unless they have managed to design it so it looks inviting to those not staying as guests. For the breakfast at least, it didn’t work and we wandered in wondering if we were sitting in the right place. The whole decor and atmosphere is really dark, which I am not a fan of. My friend and daughter ordered the Vegan Fry Up and I ordered some porridge and a coffee. Let’s start with the Fry up, the most expensive at £12. Baked beans from a can, average sausages and frankly awful scrambled tofu, and it was all cold. Apparently the chef is vegan, I find that surprising. They had used silken tofu, when really firm is best. If using silken you must get all that water out, otherwise you are left with ‘uncooked’ tasting tofu, which was what was served. It was tasteless and incredibly unappetising. My friend was still not convinced about vegan food. My porridge, at £8 a bowl, was barely cooked. It had a strawberry on top, was served with soy milk as asked and that was it. It was dreadful. And I best not mention the coffee which I forced myself to have 3 sips of and left the rest. The meal for 3 cost £40, a huge rip-off. I did however like the staff, they even brought out the sales manager to talk to me about their new menu, she was so nice I really wished I had liked it. I emailed her after and gave my views, encouragingly saying if they changed the tofu it would make a massive difference. This message was going to be relayed to the chef, but I heard nothing more. That is very poor service indeed and not only will I not go back, for anything, but I do not recommend it to anyone.
La Suite West Hotel, 41-51 Inverness terrace, W2 3JN
Average Prices: Vegan Fry-Up £12, Bowl of Oats, £8
It gets 0/10.