January has long been considered a month of change, when we get a chance to reflect and relax after the gluttony that comes with December. It’s no wonder, then, that for many, it’s also synonymous with Veganuary, an initiative that involves eschewing all meat and dairy products in favour of a plant-based diet.
Whether you’re doing it for health reasons, animal welfare or because you’re curious, it’s a great time to give veganism a go. To help you out, a number of UAE establishments introduce vegan menus, dishes and offers. Here’s a look at some to try.
Atlantis, The Palm
The hotel is going all out for Veganuary, with a number of its restaurants curating vegan menus for the month. Cantonese restaurant Hakkasan will serve vegetarian steamed dim sum and tofu, aubergine and shiitake hotpot, while Ronda Locatelli will offer new dishes such as vegan meatballs in tomato sauce, stuffed potato pasta with wild mushroom sauce and vegan chocolate cake.
British favourite Bread Street Kitchen will carve up a vegan Wellington served with a beetroot jus, and there's also the option of cauliflower steak with chimichurri. Meat will take a back seat even at Seafire Steakhouse, which has a vegan take on its popular short rib donuts, now called the Impossible donuts. Also expect warm mushroom bruschetta on toasted French loaf, meaty roasted cauliflower with corn succotash and an Impossible burger with juicy tomato salsa and fries.
Daily, until Monday, January 31; prices vary; Atlantis, The Palm; 04 426 2000; www.atlantis.com
The burger joint is proving that vegan menus don’t have to be boring, with some indulgent limited-time dishes. Available in locations across the UAE until Monday, January 31, visitors can enjoy guacamole and chips, chilli, salsa and sour cream-loaded Impossible chilli tacos, crispy Brussels sprouts and a quinoa-based kale, avocado and salsa verde-flecked craft salad.
The show-stopper for the month is a vegan truffle shroom burger featuring a black bean and mushroom patty with vegan potato roll and truffle porcini cream sauce. Wash it all down with a Black N White vegan cakeshake.
Available daily, until Monday, January 31; Dh79 for the vegan truffle shroom burger; all locations in the UAE; blacktapme.com
The Indian restaurant in DIFC has launched a vegan menu that includes traditional flavours and vegetables. Diners will be able to indulge in hearty dishes such as roasted sweet potatoes, vegetarian curry and banana leaf rice, beetroot and carrot chops, chargrilled asparagus and chilli tofu scramble.
Available daily, until Monday, January 31; DIFC, Gate Village 3, next to Sotheby's, opposite Gate 2; 04 327 1555; bombayborough.com/dubai
If you're looking for a gourmet twist to Veganuary, Epitome has the answer. The fine-dining vegetarian restaurant has unveiled a special five-course menu that aims to "elevate vegan food". Feast on dishes such as Blackjack Pillows (mushroom and leek charcoal pillows), ras malai chaat, Balinese tofu rice and avocado tikka masala, and finish it all off with an indulgent dessert titled 24K gold dust bomb.
Available daily until Monday, January 31; Dh229; Aloft Dubai Creek, Level 4; 054 705 3780; www.instagram.com/epitome.dubai
Chef Pradeep Negi has put together a clean-eating, body-revival menu for January that features everything from vegan and vegetarian plates to “immune-boosting smoothies”. Running up to Monday, January 31, guests can order the Dh75 package which includes two dishes and a smoothie or juice; or Dh99 for three dishes and a smoothie or juice. Options include asparagus and edamame pilaf and a vegetable kebab platter.
Available daily, until Monday, January 31; Dh75 for two dishes and a beverage; City Walk and Mall of the Emirates branches; 0504075590; www.farzicafe.ae
The fine-dining Chinese restaurant is also getting into the spirit of Veganuary with some new dishes for the month. From the steamed wild mushroom and truffle bao and Yu Xiang crispy aubergine to Black Diamond, a deep-fried charcoal tofu tossed with some spiced salt, there are plenty of scrumptious options to tease the taste buds.
Daily, noon to 2.30pm and 6pm to 11.30pm; prices start at Dh55; Gate Building 6, DIFC, Dubai; www.hutong-dubai.com
Jones The Grocer
Although not completely vegan, Jones The Grocer’s new Body & Soul menu deserves a mention because of the sheer number of plant-based options it includes. Guests can start their day by tucking into a chickpea omelette or masala-braised beans. Other options include a vegan sublime salad (with oyster mushrooms and a marinated beetroot and avocado), and desserts such as vegan chocolate fondant. There’s even a salted caramel no-milk shake.
Available daily, until Thursday, March 31; all Jones The Grocer branches; www.jonesthegrocer.com
LDC Kitchen + Coffee
All branches of the cafe are offering a vegan menu, with dishes available all times of the day, be it breakfast or dinner. Indulge in fluffy vegan coconut almond pancakes with fresh berries, a gluten-free protein wrap with fresh mung beans, and a quinoa and roasted root vegetable salad with ginger turmeric dressing.
Available daily, until Monday, January 31; branches across Dubai; @ldckitchen
Over at the fine-dining Indian restaurant's Dubai's branch, chef Sandeep Ail has curated a five-course tasting menu. Kicking things off will be a tangy palak patta and watermelon slider, followed by small plates such as beetroot or spinach tikki. Guests can then indulge in hot kebabs (think Kundapur cauliflower and tandoori broccoli and mushroom), with mains such as taro root dumpling, raw banana curry and tofu tikka masala. Vegan desserts such as blueberry coconut sorbet, chocolate cake and Mandarin sorbet will also be available.
Available daily, until Monday, January 31; Dh300 for the five-course meal; The Oberoi, Business Bay; 04 444 1444
Veganuary at Expo 2020 Dubai
Considering that Expo 2020 Dubai is all about innovation and the future, it’s no wonder the place is brimming with Veganuary offers, from a vegan food festival to some plant-based burgers.
Vegan Food Festival
This food festival will take place over three weekends from Friday, January 14, to Sunday, January 30 at Expo 2020’s Festival Garden. Some of the brands to watch out for include Chuck Chick, which serves up Southern fried burgers, hot dogs and loaded fries, with a side of 1950s Americana. Then there’s Erpingham House, the UK’s largest plant-based restaurant, which is also plastic-free, and will bring its tacos, baos, burgers and salads by vegan entrepreneur Loui Blake.
A line-up of DJs will keep the vibe alive until 2am, while on Saturday and Sunday, January 29 and 30, vegan pop-up market Not Just For Vegans will bring 60 home-grown ethical brands to Expo, selling fashion items to food and jewellery.
Fridays to Sundays, noon-2am, until January 30; Festival Garden, Wadi Avenue, Jubilee Park, near the Malaysia Pavilion; Expo 2020 Dubai
Alkebulan African Dining Hall
Apart from hosting some celebrity chefs, the African food hall will offer a vegan take on its menu this January. Expect dishes such as stick icky no chicken bites and red green red, a dish of black-eyes-peas. There will also be a set menu for Dh150 which includes black-eyed pea hummus and collard bean fried rice.
Daily, 10am-midnight; until Monday, January 31; Dh40 onwards; Expo 2020 Dubai; email@example.com
Adrift Burger Bar
The burger bar by David Myers already features vegan options such as the earth burger, curry leaf fries and truffle chips. But to celebrate Veganuary, it’s kicking things up a notch with its “any burger vegan initiative”. The Veganuary option includes substituting Adrift Burger Bar’s signature beef patty with the Impossible Burger patty, served on a vegan potato bun, using vegan cheese, and vegan mayo as a base for the secret sauce, house sauce and herbed aioli.
Daily, 5pm-10pm; until Monday, January 31; Mobility District, Expo 2020 Dubai; 04 317 3123; www.adriftburgerla.com/dubai
Expect spring rolls, aromatic vegetable curries and a smokey chilli relish with crispy bean curd, as part of the Thai restaurant’s vegan menu.
Daily, 7pm-midnight, until Monday, January 31; Mobility District, Expo 2020; www.longchimdubai.com
The restaurant is celebrating Veganuary with a menu that stays true to its authentic Italian roots. Think dishes such as the pizza dell’orto followed by frutti di bosco, a raspberry sorbet topped with blueberry sauce and fresh fruit.
Daily, until Monday, January 31; prices vary; Mobility District, Expo 2020; firstname.lastname@example.org
The sustainable concept is offering flavours from Pakistan and India with a vegan twist. Some specials include baingan bharta, or fire-roasted aubergine, served with rosemary paratha, cauliflower, chickpea and spinach Madras curry served with biryani rice and for dessert, a rose faux almond milk cake, and pistachio and coconut kulfi.
Daily, 7pm-midnight, until Monday, January 31; Mobility District, Expo 2020; farm2table.ae