Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
Vegan meat alternatives have been knocking about for a while now, but you might have noticed there’s a new kid on the block.
Yep, you’ve almost certainly tried beef and chicken meat replacements by now, but until recently another British staple didn’t get nearly as much of a look-in.
As beloved in sleepy seaside towns as it is in the big city (where it’s served for triple the price, and still devoured with a patriotic eagerness that no other dish can quite rival) we are, of course, talking about fish and chips.
The idea of vegan-ising your chippy order isn’t new, but it’s certainly becoming ever more popular with big chains like Wagamama and even UK supermarket Co-op getting in on the plant-based fish action.
The ingredients can vary, with some chains offering tofu as a fish alternative, whilst others branch out, introducing ingredients like banana blossom (the purple flower found at the end of a banana fruit cluster), seitan (made of wheat gluten), soya or even using the humble aubergine.
READ MORE: Your guide to going green this Veganuary
But where are the best places to get vegan fish and chips in the UK? Don’t worry, we have you covered.
Sutton & Sons (London)
Sutton and Sons is a sacred spot for London’s vegans, and it even manages to reel in those who like fish, too.
This chippy has a bog standard fish and chip menu at all three of its Stoke Newington, Hackney Central and Essex Road branches, but the former two eateries also offer up vegan fare – and pssst, it’s a badly kept local secret that many think the vegan fish is actually better than the real deal.
They make their fish out of seaweed marinated banana blossom fried in a batter, and there’s a vegan ‘scampi’ and ‘prawn’ cocktail offering, too.
Prices for the fish and chips are a little steep at just approaching a tenner (£9.95) – but hey, it is London after all.
Catch 22 (Bristol)
Catch 22 isn’t a fully vegan chippy, but their plant-based options are well worth a trip there.
Also made from banana blossom seasoned with seaweed and lemon, their battered ‘vish’ comes in at under six quid (£5.95), and they also offer vegan pea fritters and battered mushrooms as an accompaniment to your meal, too.
Don’t stop at vegan fish and chips… slather yours in plant-based gravy or curry sauce at this joint, too.
Trust us, it really is a treat.
Unity Diner (London)
Unity Diner in London’s Whitechapel is known for its vegan burgers and hot dogs, but those visiting would be wise to order the vegan fish and chips, if you asked us.
Made from wheat and soya, the battered fish on offer here comes with mushy peas, vegan tartare sauce and crispy, seasoned chips. It’s 16 whole quid, but it’s served in a sit-down restaurant setting, rather than a typical chippy setting.
It’s also worth returning to check out their lobster mac n cheese, if you have the luck of frequenting this place more than once. It’s something seriously special, if a little more bouji than your typically chippy fare.
The Veggie Chippy (Birmingham)
Birmingham’s veggie chippy was the first of its kind in the UK, and they sure know how to do it well. Instead of fish, they call their offering ‘vish’ and more specifically serve ‘vod’ (yep, that’s faux cod) made of battered soya.
They might not have slick pictures or a social media presence to rival their competitors, but the reviews for this place speak for themselves. Loads of people have even convinced their friends and partners to go plant-based after trying their fishy offering.
The meat replacement here might not have the quite the same texture as cod, but it certainly mimics the flavour, and they’ve got a much-raved-about masala ‘vod’, too.
This chippy doesn’t look like much on the outside, but at just over a fiver a battered ‘vod’, a vegan wonderland awaits.
Shakey Shakey (Ramsgate)
Shakey Shakey is 100 per cent plant based, and still strives to be as traditional as possible with its cooking methods. Their motto is that “no one should miss out on a chippy”, and it has refined its tofish based menu so that it tastes as close to the real thing as possible.
Everything on the menu is made in a home-made gluten free batter, from the classic tofish and shakey shakey chips to the battered ‘prauns’ and sausage, all which sit at £8 and under.
Get this… you can even tuck into a battered Oreo for pud (in case you weren’t aware, they’re also vegan).
Now this is a vegan fish and chip shop menu we can get behind…
The No Catch Co (Brighton)
Brighton’s No Catch Co is a vegan chippy with the health of our oceans at the forefront of its messaging. They offer smoked vegan haddock and chips, vegan cod and chips and jumbo battered saveloy, as well as tempura ‘prawnz’ and vegan chip shop gravy.
Prices are certainly on the higher end of the scale here, with a large vegan cod coming in at £13.
You’re paying to eat vegan fish and chips by the sea, though – and in the UK’s vegan capital – we’d say this is worth the dosh.
Simpson’s isn’t a fully vegan chippy, but they are one of the best places for plant-based eaters to go in the South West.
Their vegan menu includes tofish made with seawater, lemongrass and seaweed and there are also side dishes like deep fried pickles, battered jalapeños, too.
You can get tofish and chips for eight quid, and there’s even a vegan cheese patty on offer too, if you want to bulk up your order.
Believe the hype about this place. They mean business.