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With new restaurants and vegan businesses springing up on a weekly basis, London really is cementing itself as one of the best places to be vegan in the world. And today it is getting another plant-based first: a vegan food tour. The international company Vegan Food Tours is extending its reach to London as well as Netherlands capital Amsterdam, after a very successful run in its original city, Barcelona.
It’s perhaps surprising such a business venture would be able to survive in a city many perceive to be as meat, egg and dairy focussed as the Spanish capital. But, as Bob Dylan is keen to remind us, the times they are a-changing. Barcelona, like London, has many plant-based eateries and businesses appearing at all times. Clearly the world’s best and most cosmopolitan cities are proof that the vegan revolution is gathering great momentum.
The businesses’ format is this: you meet a vegan tour guide at an easy to find, popular location, and then visit three to four vegan restaurants over the course of three hours, with some sight seeing in between to help the digestion along (safe to say, bring an empty stomach with you). You are served tapas portions (the Spanish-born tradition of eating various small dishes rather than just one main course) of several dishes at each establishment.
According to the Barcelona tour’s website and Tripadvisor page, the response to this relatively new idea, at least within the vegan world, has been positive. Some reviews say it’s a great way to experience vegan food in a new city, and another from Dan Jennings says “it’s great to have a tour that organises this for you” — Sergi Galiano (known to some as close friend of Jon Venus, both are vegan YouTubers), one of the founders of the company, is keen to run this business in several cities so that visitors can experience the food scene of a new city without having to do a huge amount of planning and research themselves.
One of the co-managers of the London tour is also its tour guide, César Ferradas. Those who tune into the vegan YouTube scene may know him as Vegan Speak, a well known vlogger who speaks about veganism and animal rights.
The London tour takes place in Soho, commencing at Tottenham Court Road station. The restaurants the tour will frequent are raw-food favourite Vitao, then junk-food favourite Vegan Hippo, and finally the gastronomic Wild Food Cafe in Neals Yard, Covent Garden. So those who go on the tour will experience Oxford Street, the famous Soho region in all its evening glory, and finally entertainment hot-spot, Covent Garden.
Whether the London Vegan Food Tour can match the success of its originator in Barcelona remains to be seen, but either way it’s another sign that London is among the most fertile ground for vegan businesses and entrepreneurs. The message continues to spread, and life for those of the plant-based persuasion in London becomes more convenient at a rapid rate.
Adam Protz is a music journalist and composer, based just outside London. He went vegan in January 2015.
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