Kim Woodward, a celebrated chef and “MasterChef: Professionals” contestant, told the Evening Standard that vegan dishes are a “must-have option” in the mainstream London dining scene.
Woodward, who currently works as the head chef at Soho’s 100 Wardour Street, is not vegan or even vegetarian, but she has recognized the trend. “Over the past two years, there are more vegans and vegetarians than I’ve ever seen,” she said.
While many restaurants are chef-driven and act as a playspace for chefs to showcase their talents and creativity, ultimately, restaurants need to keep with the consumer trends in order to stay relevant and successful. Woodward has already introduced several vegan and “lighter” options at 100 Wardour Street to keep with the times. She claims these options are “fantastic for our clients.”
Her new approach seems to be effective. Woodward affirmed that many of her vegan options are outselling the restaurant’s meat dishes. She reasoned that the plant-based items offer more flavor and variety, opposed to a one-note piece of meat on a plate.
Vegan BBQ vibes going on in the lounge with our harissa & agave toasted aubergine with coconut cream and peanuts. Here’s to the heatwave ? . . . . . #londoneats #eeeeeats #aubergine #eggplant #peanuts #coconutcream #londoner #londonrestaurants #londonfoodie #londonlife #londonfood #lounge #100wardourst #eatvegan #veganeats #londoner #eatclean #meatfreemonday
100 Wardour Street diners can expect vibrant, colorful, and complex dishes that both show off Woodward’s creativity yet remain somewhat familiar and comforting. Dishes include a cucumber, avocado, and mint gazpacho; beetroot risotto, harissa-roasted aubergine; almond butter and heritage carrot salad; and even a baked tofu, avocado, and coconut bacon club sandwich.
Upon updating the restaurant’s menu, the chef explained, “It’s nice and challenging. For me, I like things that are very challenging, very interesting, to keep me ticking and to get creative with the food…People come here for amazing cocktails, but I want to make sure people come for amazing food as well.”
London is becoming a world class destination for vegan eats as non-vegan restaurants shift toward plant-based options and completely vegan restaurants rise in number. Another popular restaurant and lounge, Dirty Bones, launched a vegan popup event in the spring, and decided to continue the special menu due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback. Further, By Chloe, a US-based vegan fast-causal chain, has seen great success in the city, opening two locations within six months of each other.
Diners around the world can expect more plant-based options to grace their table as chefs sharpen their knives to hack into coconuts and jackfruits, opposed to animals.