While there are endless recipe books and blogs out there with ideas for cooking plant-based meals at home, sometimes you just want someone else to do the cooking for you. When I first went vegan, eating out was sometimes a challenge, but luckily times have changed and there are good vegan options everywhere. Here are a handful of my recommendations.
Green Routes on Magdalen Road in Oxford serves the tastiest plant-based brunch dishes you’ll find in the city. Think epic pancake stacks, fully loaded bagels, fry-ups and more. They also offer great sustainably sourced, locally roasted coffee.
Happy Friday Kitchen, just round the corner from Green Routes on Cowley Road, is Oxford’s original vegan restaurant. They offer California-style comfort food such as burgers, pizzas and mac and cheese, so it’s a popular spot among ‘junk food vegans’. Their seitan, a meat replacement, is award-winning.
If your work still brings you into the office, Lula’s Ethiopian Cuisine can be found right opposite the business school at 21 Park End Street. On Wednesdays and Fridays their menu is fully plant-based, in keeping with the fasting practice adhered to by many Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Nourishing dishes focus on natural ingredients – veggies and pulses, packed full of flavour using authentic Ethiopian spices.
Moving outside of Oxford, family-owned Ribizli in Wallingford is a firm favourite. Their menu is predominantly vegan and it’s a lovely, cosy spot for a warming soup, loaded wrap or toastie at lunchtime. They mainly use wholefoods, but often have delicious pastries and cakes available too.
Eden Café can be found in Witney, sadly I haven’t yet been able to visit but I hear lots of good things and their menu looks delicious. The seasonal menu features a breakfast bowl, nachos, sandwiches and toasties, and there are plenty of sweet treats on offer.
If it’s warming pub food you’re craving, The Red Lion in Deddington is a great option. The menu is completely plant-based on Sundays, and there are lots of options available the rest of the week too. Their ‘jack and chips’, a plant-based version of fish and chips, was a revelation. There’s no need to miss out on the comfort foods we know and love.
Self-isolating or simply fancy a night in? There are plenty of vegan-friendly delivery options around too. A couple of my favourites:
Nutmeg and Thyme Based in Burford, Emily Weir produces healthy, 100% vegan and gluten free ‘ready meals’, both hot and cold, with snacks and baked goods available too. Her delicious menu uses seasonal ingredients too. Available for home delivery or collection from various markets around Oxfordshire.
V-Giyan operates out of Bicester and delivers their authentic plant-based Punjabi food to a wide range of Oxfordshire locations. Their food is freshly cooked and delivered chilled, to heat up at your convenience. I see this as a bonus as you can try more dishes than you usually would from a standard takeaway, keeping it stored in the fridge to enjoy a couple of days in a row.
Veganuary is a great opportunity to support local independent businesses. That said, if you have specific dietary requirements, most chain restaurants these days are a safe bet. Wagamama, Pho, Banana Tree, Turtle Bay, Giggling Squid – all have plenty of vegan options at a reasonable price point. Many are running Veganuary specials, or money off, if you explore their websites and social media.