Veganism is a growing lifestyle choice for many people, and for most, it is exactly that. It’s not a ‘diet’, it’s a conscious choice to live a life without animal produce. In yoga, this is part of the philosophy known as ‘ahimsa’, or non harm, though of course not exclusive to yogis. We now have enough information at our fingertips to see the damage meat farming and over fishing is doing to our planet, so whether your conscience is concerned with the harm caused to animals or to the planet, or both, veganism is a natural progression for many. Though I’m not fully vegan, I am around 80 per cent of the time, for ethical reasons, as opposed to a time when animal protein was in all or at least most of my meals. Even reducing can help in a small way. So where can you go out and hang with your girlfriends, go on a date, pick up something to go, have it delivered to your door, when you want to eat tasty vegan grub? Here’s a few choice picks of what’s around town for those of you curious to see it’s not just carrot sticks and humous.
- One Cafe at LIfe ‘n One – The brainchild of chef, vegan and “spiritual entrepreneur” Eda Gungor, this place is a little haven in Dubai. Stepping out into the exquisite garden, it’s easy to forget where you are. The fully vegan menu, which also has delivery to the local area, is to die for. From its fudge to its chick pea ‘omelette’, its chia latte to its baked sweet potato fries, it is heavenly. Prices are reasonable and the selection is huge. Food is super fresh, all made on site, and whatever your intolerance, you can eat here. Everything is gluten and dairy free, so it’s a joy to be able to eat every single thing on the menu for once. Main meals are on average around Dh60.
- Urth – This new JLT spot is handy for those who don’t want to go to the further end of town for their vegan treats – where most options are to be found. One of the only ones in the south of the city, its selection isn’t huge for true vegans but has a small mix of vegetarian, vegan and fish dishes. Honestly, it isn’t anything as good as Life ‘n One – which quite honestly is the city’s best – but it’s an option and the service is awesome. Plus side: home delivery through Deliveroo. Meal for two: Dh160.
- Eat Well at the Dubai Herbal Treatment Centre – It’s not a place you’d find by passing by, but is totally worth a visit if you have time. Not just vegan, this is the kind of place which suits the paleo CrossFit dude and his yoga loving vegan girlfriend. Not many places really make it easy for people to eat at both ends of the spectrum, but this place really does. Such an amazing selection from Thai beef salad to sweet potato fries, stuffed courgettes and raw chocolate brownies to die for. Though not primarily vegan, there are plenty of options for vegetarians and if you just want good quality, organic food, all gluten and dairy free, this has everything. It also has a new spa in addition to its wellness treatments so if you’re after anything from Chinese medicine to Ayurveda, conventional medicine to a great massage, there is everything under one roof. It’s not a cheap option, meals starting from around Dh45 for a salad and going all the way up to Dh180 for the meat options but remember we’re talking organic, quality meats, which come at a cost.
- XVA Gallery – This place is a little retreat in old Dubai and really one of my favourite places. This courtyard cafe, in the middle of the XVA gallery and guest house, is in one of the oldest buildings in Dubai, in its historical Fahidi District. Its menu has plenty for vegans and vegetarians such as their beetroot kofta, and delicious options for the carnivores too, such as their breaded salmon cutlets. For a day away from the hustle and bustle, I totally recommend this little escape if you haven’t ever been. Two of us ate a main meal, side of fries and two juices, for under Dh200. Whether you’re an art and culture junkie, food lover or just like to find new hidey holes, pay this place a visit. Our lunch for two including juices was just under Dh200.
- Govinda – For the Indian food lovers, this is not only tasty but healthy too. Indian food is often so heavy and oily that it can leave you feeling hungover, but this little gem on Beach Road, has gone for the more ‘satvic’, or calming foods. (Note: I haven’t been here but the yogis rave about it.)