Top 3: Vegan-friendly in Leytonstone

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A trio of the best plant-focused cafes and restaurants in the postcode

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Smashing it on the Vietnamese vegan front. Photo: PR

Wild Goose Bakery

Bakeries are not known for being vegan-friendly but Wild Goose Bakery is the exception that proves the rule, for which you can thank co-founder Kirstin’s journey towards veganism. “I’m not 100% there yet, but I help myself out by having tons of things at the bakery I can eat so there’s no excuse for me to cheat while at work,” she says.

There are plenty of vegan options on both breakfast and lunch menus, including the VLT, a vegan take on the BLT with super-tasty, super-healthy homemade tofu bacon replacing the meat, as well as toasted sultana brioche (secret ingredient avocado) and, klaxon, vegan haggis sausage rolls.

For the sweet-of-tooth, there’s always a couple of vegan saccharine items on offer, such as chocolate and peppermint cake, five seed crispy flapjack and red velvet cupcakes. All drinks can be made vegan including the homemade hot chocolate and there’s non-dairy cream, as well as vegan marshmallows and mini meringues to top your dairy-free drink.

Plus there’s plenty of ingredients to take home; dairy-free chocolate, jackfruit and egg replacer. Be warned, everything is made fresh daily and once it’s gone, it’s gone. Until the following day, of course. 654 High Road, Leytonstone E11. Open daily 8am-6pm, closed Tues, weekends 9am-6pm, more here.

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Star Of India

T his Leytonstone institution is nearly 40 years young and following a makeover last year it now has a light-and-bright look. The extensive menu includes plenty of vegan options – many of the base sauces are dairy-free and vegetable oil is used rather than ghee in many dishes, but do check.

The best thing to do is to go with at least one other person who’s eating vegan as there’s too many dishes to pick just one. The brilliant £6.50 two-course lunch deal is vegan friendly too, with a choice of vegetable samosa or onion bhaji for starters and vegetable curry, vegetable madras or tarka dal with plain rice for mains. 875 High Road Leytonstone E11. Open Mon–Sun, 12pm–11.30pm, more here.

Little Saigon

Since making changes to their original menu, Little Saigon has been casually smashing it on the Vietnamese vegan front with dishes to rival anything you’d find on Kingsland Road. The majority of the vegetarian dishes on the menu are vegan with the obvious exceptions of the stir-fried egg noodles and pak choi in oyster sauce, and while the salt, pepper and chilli tofu and aubergine salt and pepper chilli aubergine aren’t vegan, they can be made vegan on request.

I’m yet to try a dish I don’t love but always order the tofu spring rolls and the aforementioned salt, pepper and chilli aubergine. When it comes to mains you really can’t go wrong, but depending on my mood I would go for the vegetarian pho, the stir fried thick rice noodle with tofu and vegetables or the tofu and mushrooms with vegetables and rice. The friendly staff are clued up on vegan options – let them know you’re one when you arrive so they can best advise. 686 High Road Leytonstone E11. Open daily 12pm-3pm & 5pm-10pm, closed Tuesday, more here.

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