The Coach and Horses in Soho and The Smithfield Tavern in Smithfields market have become London’s first ever vegetarian and vegan pubs, following a successful trial period of the new concept from the owner.
Alastair Choat, landlord and co-owner of the two independent pubs and a founding member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, believes the UK needs to be more aware of what we eat, how we eat it and the effect it has on the environment.
“This industry wastes so much food, it is almost criminal,” said Choat. “We need to be more responsible, more sustainable and lose the ridiculous prejudices and negative attitudes towards vegetarian and vegan food.
“We are very proud to be the first London pubs to switch to a vegetarian and vegan menu. We feel that offering food that is better for our environment and customers is a vital first step towards becoming a more sustainable business.
“We believe that the modern issue of sustainability can sit hand-in-hand with the old-style values of ‘boozers’ such as the Coach & Horses and Smithfield Tavern. Our customers can still enjoy top quality pub grub in the traditional surroundings they know and love, with the reassurance that the food they are eating is not only better for them, but also the planet.”
On the menu
The pubs’ new menus were devised by head chef Lahiri Gregorio Balloni, previously of Manna in Primrose Hill. His aim was to encourage customers to look beyond the ‘hole on the plate where the meat should be’ and appreciate that ‘vegetarian food is great food.’
Dishes on The Smithfield Tavern’s new menu include starters of Welsh rarebit, pate on toast and jacket potatoes, with mains such as beetroot tarte tatin and the Portobello burger made with hallumi cheese, Portobello mushrooms, courgette and peppers.
Mark Linehan, managing director of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, added: “'The Coach and Horses was one of our founding members and had the foresight to see the importance and value of sustainability.
“This move for both of Alastair's pubs to a vegan and vegetarian menu is both ground breaking and innovative and we applaud his approach - one of many that restaurants can adopt to be more sustainable.
“Pubs and restaurants of all styles across the country are embracing sustainability, not just because they think it is the right thing to do – but because it is what customers want. We hope this will inspire others to think equally creatively about their food offering."