Top vegan eats in Edinburgh
27 October 2016
- food and drink
This week we've asked our Digital Marketing Executive and local vegan blogger Emma Bathgate to share with us her favourite vegan eats in the city...
When I turned vegan over a year ago, I'll be honest, I was a little nervous. Eating out in Edinburgh is one of my favourite things to do, and I knew that my new diet would throw a spanner in the works. I knew of a few vegetarian haunts but many restaurant menus at first glance appeared to be full of meat, cream, cheese and eggs. Would I be able to eat out in Edinburgh ever again?
One year and a lot of experimenting and asking around later, I have found out that yes, I absolutely would!
Even at restaurants with no obvious vegan options on the menu, I've found that all you have to do is phone ahead or ask your server, and the chef is perfectly happy to rustle something delicious up in the kitchen.
Being vegan in Edinburgh is surprisingly easy, with lots of meat and dairy free dishes waiting to be discovered. Here are just a few of my favourites...
Sweetcorn cakes and thai green curry at Chaophraya
Hands down one of the best vegan starters in the city - words cannot describe how delicious these sweetcorn cakes are. Sweet and spicy, they come with a really moreish sauce that even my meat-eating husband could not get enough of.
The Thai green vegetable curry is another winner. Satisfying and creamy, it's perfect when served with their sticky rice. With plenty of vegan options on their menu (ask your server to chat through them), and a breathtaking view of the city skyline, this is the perfect place to go for a romantic meal out.
4th Floor, 33 Castle Street, Edinburgh EH2 3DN (0131 226 7614)
Korean fried cauliflower at Ninja Kitchen
A relatively new addition to Edinburgh's foodie scene, I was delighted to discover that Ninja Kitchen's menu is full of exciting vegan dishes and very reasonably priced.
You simply must try their signature dish - the tofu bao bun - but make sure you also order a side of their fantastic Korean fried cauliflower. Prepared in a sweet and spicy sauce, I never thought cauliflower could ever taste this good.
24 Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 2JR (0131 322 3190)
Haggis, neeps and tatties at Henderson's Vegan
I can't write a rundown of the top vegan dishes in Edinburgh without giving a mention to Hendersons Vegan, being the first and currently only fully vegan restaurant in the city. The place is obviously a hit with vegans, but it has an exciting and varied menu that satisfies meat eaters too. I have taken a few of my meat eating friends to Hendersons, and I am delighted to report that they have all really enjoyed their meal here.
If you thought vegans had to give Scottish haggis a miss, think again. The vegan haggis at Hendersons, made with beans, mushrooms, lentils and oats, makes a delicious alternative to its more traditional counterpart.
25 Thistle Street, Edinburgh EH2 1DX (0131 225 2605)
Indian tapas at Tuk Tuk
Like sharing food with friends? This Indian street food favourite has lots of vibrant vegan dishes to choose from. Simply ask your server and they'll tell you which options on the menu are meat and dairy free. I absolutely love the pakora - deep fried veggies, what's not to like?! - and the chana puri, which are tasty stewed chickpeas served with a deep fried flatbread.
1 Leven Street, Edinburgh EH3 9NB (0131 228 3322)
Vegan thali at Kalpna
While we're on the subject of Indian food... I absolutely adore the menu at Kalpna. With a completely meat-free menu, this is a firm favourite with vegetarians and vegans alike.
If you have never been to Kalpna before, I highly recommend you try the vegan thali. Based on the traditional Indian dish - this has your starter, mains and pudding all on one plate. The actual food changes depending on what is seasonally available, but I haven't been disappointed with a meal here yet, and I certainly haven't left hungry. Make sure you turn up wearing some kind of elasticated waistband, you're going to need it.
2-3 St Patrick Square, Edinburgh EH8 9EZ (0131 667 9890)
Fo-nuts at Juice Warrior
This isn't a dish as such, but I thought it was only right to finish this rundown on something sweet! Juice Warrior is a fresh new completely vegan cafe down at Waverley Arches who specialise in (as the name suggests) health juices, sweet treats and snacks.
Their fully vegan and fully raw "fo-nuts" are meant to be a healthy alternative to donuts, but I find them just as delicious and much more satisfying. Made with dates and covered in chocolate, these are a decadent treat that won't make you feel guilty afterwards.
15 East Market Street, Edinburgh EH8 8FS
Of course, these are just a handful of vegan dishes that I have tried, and I can't wait to eat my way around many more. I've heard wonderful things about the likes of The Auld Hoose, BBL, Moon and Hare, Hula's Juice Bar and Grams, and it's only a matter of time before I try them for myself. My vegan journey around Edinburgh is far from over!