Eating out as a vegan, even two years ago, used to fill me with dread. 'Will I have to ask the waiter to Frankenstein a new meal from the menu? What will my dinner companions think? Am I a massive pain in the backside?' Fast forward to 2020, and this narrative could not be more different! Gone are the days of calling ahead to the restaurant and checking menus online. Will you have to ask for clarification now and again? Sure! Do you have to settle for a side salad and a portion of chips? Not likely!
With the number of vegans in the UK quadrupling between 2014 and 2019, according to The Vegan Society, it's no great surprise that restaurants saw an emerging section of customers to cater to. Massive chains are now offering fully vegan menus: Wagamamas, Pizza Hut, and Frankie and Benny's, to name but a few. Offering anything from 'pepperoni' pizza, to tofu and chips, to vegan tuna steak, and (how could we forget) Gregg’s infamous sausage roll, the restaurant scene seems to be satisfying the preferences of everyone from health freaks to junk food vegans.
Now, that isn’t to say that there aren’t more remote regions of the UK that have fewer vegan options, but this is changing on a monthly basis. Almost every restaurant has at least one vegan dish, and putting vegan food on the menu isn't limited to the big chains, either. There have been a dizzying number of independent vegan restaurants popping up in more rural areas. For example, The Guardian recommended Kat’s Kitchen Vegan Cafe in Keswick and Forest Side Hotel in Grasmere as just two vegan hotspots in the Lake District. The UK is clearly embracing veganism and, with it, bringing mouth-watering, meat-free food to the masses, which means eating out as a vegan (or even a flexitarian!) is only going to get easier and more delicious!
Looking to discover restaurants that have vegan options? Check out Peta's On The Menu platform for a list of everything from on-the-go outlets and fast food joints, to Asian restaurants and lounge bars.