Sunday, 6 August 2017

Food: London Eats

Being reunited with London's food scene was such a joy on my trip back home. As much as you can have "anything" in Dubai the city is slightly behind the curve on vegan and even vegetarian food (I ate a lot of hummus when I first arrived) and finding decent, affordable sushi is an ongoing process / struggle. Thanks to the "clean eating" movement and the rise in fashionable food allergies, London is now a haven for vegans and almond milk iced latte drinkers, and also for those of us who had a bridesmaid dress to fit into right at the end of a two week trip and a constant nagging fear of it not zipping up (spoiler alert: it did)...

Kaia The Ned

The Ned was obviously top of my list after seeing it on a few friends' Instagram feeds and genuinely feeling green with envy. I visited solo and felt simultaneously very classy perched at the counter at Kaia but also a bit like a scruffy student in my scuffed plimsoles and plaited hair amongst grey-suited city types. The venue itself is so, so beautiful and exactly the sort of place I'd imagined I'd spend time in as an adult until I realised that adulthood is no different to what came before it other than having to pay bills and make pension contributions. I obviously had the rainbow poke bowl along with a side of edamame and a ginger kombucha mocktail (#detox). The food was good, not mindblowingly so but the ambience and scope for people watching (the man sitting next to me ordered two old fashioneds "with an extra shot" at lunchtime, no judgement) are second to none.

The Lighterman at Kings Cross is a good alternative to Grain Store and Caravan - I'm still so pleasantly surprised every time I visit Granary Square it's such a contrast to the rather grim Kings Cross area I remember as a child. Make a reservation (a newfound joy after years of thinking them unnecessary) for the upstairs restaurant which is more spacious and airy than the ground floor and has amazing views over Regent's Canal. The meal I had here was pretty much my ideal dinner - a seasonal G&T with a slice of grapefruit, a superfood salad (dressing on the side) and an order of sweet potato fries dipped in ketchup. A friend and I caught up on the last few months without being rushed out and service was fast and friendly. The weekend brunch is a must for my next visit.

Itsu! I never tired of having Itsu for lunch in London and during a quiet period at work spent an hour a day with a green tea, the Greens, Grains & Glory rice pot and one of the Games of Thrones novels immersing myself in Westeros without leaving the City. Itsu has loads of new menu items, many of which are vegan as well as all the usual sushi (avocado baby maki mmm) - I had the vegan "miso happy" soup, tofu zero noodles and the raw chocolate pie while petitioning Itsu on Twitter to please open a branch in Dubai.

Coppa Club is another new city opening doing the rounds on Instagram. I actually visited twice during my trip back as its a super easy spot to meet up with former colleagues and city-working friends. Unfortunately on my first visit, our waiter accidentally spilt a drink on my friend but was very apologetic and the drinks were taken off of our bill. Service was much better (and much speedier) on the second visit, I guess its still early days. The salads are served in huge portions (because no one wants a small salad) and come on their own or topped with feta or chicken. On my second visit a friend and I shared the courgette fries which were better than Byron's (and I had previously always held Byron as the gold standard of courgette fries).

I loved Veggie Pret when it opened in Soho last year and now one of my regular Prets (Great Eastern Street) is a Veggie Pret, too! I wanted to order one of everything but limited myself to the cauli & tumeric super-veg salad, a dairy-free mango chia pot and a coconut matcha latte. I've clearly been away from London too long to be this excited about Pret but it's great to see so many options and for veggie foods to finally be more exciting and varied than a falafal wrap or a sad salad.

Where should I try next time?


  1. Looks like you have visited so many fab places! A side of sweet potato fries will win for me each time!

  2. I went to the Coppa Club a few weeks ago - loved the chill vibe there.


© Lillian Zahra | All rights reserved.
Blog Design Handcrafted by pipdig