Vegan Foody Walk Soho and Covent Garden
This route is mostly set in and around Soho and Covent Garden for a total of 4km. Aside from the yummy restaurants you can visit, there will be a bit of sightseeing along the way including Trafalgar Square and the famous Savoy Hotel. There’s no need to visit every restaurant (after all, this is a budget-friendly vegan foody route!) so have a browse of each restaurant’s menu and see what will tickle your tastebuds and satisfy your cravings.
Soho is well-known for its entertainment (thanks to the numerous theatres scattered about), nightlife, and location for film industries such as the British Headquarters for Twentieth Century Fox. Covent Garden is known for the Royal Opera House, St Paul’s Church, and Theatre Royal (a West End theatre owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s LW Theatres group). Soho and Covent Garden have some of the best vegan restaurants in London. Some of which you can visit on this route.
Overview of the route:
Our tour starts at Mildreds in Soho. Having started in 1988, Mildreds survived the times by staying true to their values of quality, affordable plant-based foods and ingredients from small sustainable businesses. They have menus for a weekend brunch, weekday breakfast, and desserts.
As you walk out of Mildred’s, turn right into Lexington Street, left into Brewer Street and right into Wardour Street.
Between the M&M’s and LEGO store, you’ll find the way into Leicester Square.
Leicester Square is fully pedestrianised and affectionately known as “London’s home of film and entertainment”. Here, you will find numerous statues from beloved films and stories such as Paddington, Harry Potter, and DC characters.
Head down Irving Street and turn right down Charing Cross Road. Just past the National Gallery, you will find Trafalgar Square. (2, 3)
Trafalgar Square, once known for its feral pigeons and the riot on Bloody Sunday, now serves as a pedestrianised tourist attraction. At the base of Nelson’s Column are four sculpted lions, each weighing seven tonnes! The sculptor requested that a lion, which had died at London Zoo, be taken to him and used as a muse. However, he took so long that the corpse started decomposing. Thus, parts of the lion were improvised; his paws look closer to a cat’s than a lion’s.
Head back the way you came and at the big intersection, turn right into William IV Street then a slight left into Chandos Place. Wahaca will be on your right just after Agar Street.
Wahaca was born from inspiration after a trip to Mexico and wanting to spread the colours and flavours to the rest of London. Thomasina Miers, after winning MasterChef in 2005, opened her first Wahaca in Covent Garden with her business partner Mark Selby in 2007 and has been going strong ever since. Boasting a 60% vegetarian menu, this was the first UK restaurant group to be certified Carbon Neutral in 2016. The restaurant has also won numerous sustainability awards and is transparent about its ingredients and unavoidable carbon footprint (which they offset by supporting projects in Mexico).
As you exit Wahaca, turn left then right into Bedford Street. At the end of the road, turn left into Strand. To the right of the Strand Palace Hotel is the Savoy Hotel.
The Savoy Hotel is a luxurious 5-star establishment that is over 130 years old and has hosted celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, Frank Sinatra, Rihanna, Taylor Swift and members of the Royal Family. Throughout its history, The Savoy was ahead of the game by being one of the first hotels to be lit completely by electricity. The hotel was also the first to install air conditioning in the late 1920s and computerise its vast guest records in 1984 (costing roughly £100 000!). With a few restaurants such as The Savoy Grill, River Restaurant, and Restaurant 1890 all run by Gordon Ramsey, there’s much to choose from (including vegan options) if you have some money to burn!
Leaving The Savoy, turn right then at the next big intersection, turn slightly left then left again down Catherine Street. The Sagar will be on your left just before the end of the road.
Sagar serves South Indian vegan and vegetarian dishes. South Indian Cuisine (especially vegan-vegetarian) is not too common in London, so Sagar is a definite must-try.
Turn left in Catherine Street then immediately left again into Russel Street and right into Bow Street.
At the end of Bow Street, continue into Endell Street. Turn left into the next street (Shelton Street) then right into Neal Street.
Turn slightly left to continue down Earlham Street. At the seven-way stop, take the third exit to stay on Earlham Street.
Continue straight into Shaftesbury Avenue then left. Turn right into Wardour Street towards Sondheim Theatre. Continue on until you see Banana Tree on your left.
Banana Tree started as a small café in Maida Vale (see our Maida Vale- Little Venice walk) serving Southeast Asian cuisine with dishes from Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. More than 40% of their menu is plant-based including their desserts!
Exiting the Banana Tree, turn left then left again into Tyler’s Court, a short, narrow passageway. Turn right down Berwick Street. At the end of the street, turn left into Broadwick Street.
At the four-way stop, take the third exit into Marshall Street. The first street left into Ganton Street and at the corner of Newburgh Street is where you’ll find Ugly Dumpling.
Ugly Dumpling, true to its name, stands out and redefines what a dumpling is most associated with; offering fillings such as apple pie, Nutella and mochi! Ugly Dumpling is ideal for a quick bite to keep you going until the next restaurant.
Continue down Ganton Street and you will find yourself in Carnaby Street. Mildred’s, where the tour started, is not too far from here if you need to head back.
This route ends at the one and only Carnaby Street which has attracted celebrities such as Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Elizabeth Taylor. Known for inspiring creativity, welcoming the Punk and Rock ‘n Roll scene and being the birthplace of Swinging in London in the 60s, there’s lots to see, listen to, and eat. Have a wander around into the evening and enjoy all the sights and sounds.
Overview of the route: