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World Vegetarian Day: Our favourite dishes

Make it a meat-free Monday with these fab local options   

Not so long ago, vegetarian options in restaurants were few and far between – mainly consisting of unimaginative salads or equally bland pasta. How times have changed. These days chefs are conjuring up increasingly inventive and delicious meat-free fare. So, whether you’re a seasoned veggie or just fancy a change, celebrate World Vegetarian Day (Monday 1 October) with our favourite veggie-friendly dishes in SW1.

Where? Balans Soho Society

What? Crisp polenta

The low down: Polenta is one of those ingredients that you buy out of curiosity and leave untouched in your cupboard for months. But once you’ve cracked how to actually use it, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. Take inspiration from Balans, who serve it, deliciously crispy, alongside kale, charred red onion, beets, hazelnuts and a red pepper dressing.

Balans Soho Society Victoria, 12 Cardinal Place, Cardinal Walk, SW1E 5JE; balans.co.uk

Where? Timmy Green

What? Halloumi fries

The low down: The team at Aussie-inspired cafe Timmy Green have proved themselves pioneers of unique and inventive veggie and vegan-friendly dishes. And while we’re partial to a plate of smashed avo or corn fritters, the undisputable stand-out veggie dish is the halloumi fries with pomegranate yoghurt. Seriously, prepare to meet your next addiction.

Timmy Green, Nova Food, 11 Sir Simon Milton Square, SW1E 5DJ; daisygreenfood.com

Where? Bone Daddies

What? Miso aubergine steamed buns

The low down: Aubergine and miso are a match made in veggie heaven. Even the most committed carnivore would be hard pressed not to fall head over heels for Bone Daddies’ deliciously addictive bao buns.

Bone Daddies Victoria, Nova Food, 9 Sir Milton Square, SW1E 5DJ; bonedaddies.com

Where? Hai Cenato

What? Pizza Bianca

The low down: Pizza has always been a great friend of the vegetarian but the options have never exactly been extensive. We love Hai Cenato’s traditional margarita and, for something a little different, their delicious ‘white’ pizza with taleggio cheese, girolle mushrooms, caramelised onion and thyme.

Hai Cenato, Nova Food, 79 Buckingham Palace Rd, SW1E 5DJ; haicenato.co.uk

Where? Ibérica

What? Beef tomato & salmorejo

The low down: OK, so the Spanish have never exactly been big on vegetarian food but the meat-free dishes they do do are consistently excellent (patatas bravas, we’re looking at you). Ibérica’s standout veggie dish is a chunky beef tomato topped with salmorejo (a tomato purée similar to gazpacho), garlic breadcrumbs and beetroot granita.

Ibérica Victoria, 5-6, Zig Zag, 68 Victoria St, SW1E 6SQ; ibericarestaurants.com