Veganuary Vibes: 10 UAE Restaurants Serving Up Delicious Plant-Based Menus

6 mins

From German-style impossible meatballs to Chinese charcoal tofu a huge range of culinary delights are on offer across the UAE as restaurants celebrate the month of Veganuary

It’s that time of the year again, when individuals worldwide set aside meat for a month in the spirit of celebrating Veganuary, a movement that began in 2014 and that has steadily gained momentum.

Organised by a UK nonprofit dedicated to promoting and educating about veganism, Veganuary challenges people to adopt a vegan lifestyle throughout the month of January. But what began as a grassroots annual challenge has evolved into a global movement, resonating with individuals worldwide eager to explore plant-based living.

Veganuary co-founder, UK businessman Matthew Glover, said of the meat-free month: ‘It’s not just for vegans, it’s for the vegan-curious.We’ve helped create a flexitarian movement – an increasing number of people who are open-minded about eating plant-based food. Lots of people have tried, say, oat milk in their coffee and are sticking to that.’

Last year, the hashtag #Veganuary accumulated over 894 million views on TikTok with another 300 million people engaging with Veganuary’s social media channels throughout the month of January.

So, where can you find vegan dishes on offer across the UAE this month so you too can be a part of this conscious living movement? We’ve rounded up a few of our favourite restaurants offering a range of plant-based plates all month long.

Akira Back

akira back terrace overlooking dubai

Akira Back, the internationally-renowned Japanese-Korean restaurant at W Dubai – The Palm, is also joining in the Veganuary celebrations with a unique vegan menu available throughout January.

Chef Giovanni Ledon has crafted a menu that reflects his deep respect for Asian cuisine with a special plant-based twist. The Veganuary Menu includes reimagined favourites like AB Tacos, Impossible Gyoza, and a special Braised Celeriac Croquette. In cold appetisers, the spotlight is on the iconic AB Eringi Pizza and a refreshing Watermelon Ceviche. Sushi rolls include Boom Shroom – comprised of braised shiitake mushrooms, grilled asparagus, baby corn and a mushroom reduction, Spider Rolls, and the Crispy Coleslaw Roll. For a main course guests can choose from options including the Tindle Tobanyaki, Truffle Rice Clay Pot or the Roasted Cauliflower, offering a burst of flavour with its chipotle miso and salsa verde, topped with fresh coriander.

Barfly by Buddha Bar, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

veganuary sushi selection with smoke

Barfly by Buddha Bar, is bringing back it’s beloved supper club with an exclusive 5-course vegan set menu, priced at just AED195 per person exclusively from January 10th to 31st. Located at Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah, the menu by chef Renzo Reyes, showcases the best of plant-based cuisine, made with locally sourced ingredients. Enjoy vegan asian fusion dishes galore at this award-winning rooftop restaurant and lounge.

Carine, Emirates Golf Club, Dubai

As we bounce back from the holidays into the health-focused month of January, French Mediterranean restaurant Carine is diving into the delicious world of plant-based foods for Veganuary. Despite the French flair for cheeses and buttery pastries, Carine is ensuring meat-free friends have plenty to choose from. Whether you’re a dedicated vegan, testing out a New Year’s resolution, or just curious about a lighter fare, head down to try out some of their favourite dishes including the white asparagus with crusted herbs and lentil salad with pickled vegetables.

Eat Meat, H Dubai

While the name may suggest otherwise, you can actually enjoy a Veganuary journey at Eat & Meat in The H Dubai this month. Enjoy light bites like Organic Quinoa and Avocado Salad, Kachumber Salad, or Vegan Lentil Soup. The main courses feature tempting options like Dal Tadka, Vegan Burgers, and Gluten-free Spaghetti all made with a variety of organic, locally sourced vegetables, so you can embrace a healthier and more conscious lifestyle.

Folly, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai

Head down to Folly, located in Souk Madinat Jumeirah, to try their new three-course vegan menu this Veganuary. Crafted by Executive Chef Bojan Cirjanic, the dishes highlight fresh, locally-sourced ingredients from the zucchini and avocado starter to celeriac terrine paired with trumpet mushrooms and artichoke.

Opt for special detox drinks, paired perfectly with each course by General Manager Mario Scanniello. From a revitalising turnip, lychee, and lemon cordial drink for the starter to a unique blend of beetroot, Oriental essence, Sichuan pepper, and verjus for the main course – all made from leftover kitchen ingredients – these drinks align with folly’s commitment to mindful and sustainable dining.

Available until the 31st of January, the three-course folly vegan menu is priced at AED 185, with the optional drink pairing available for AED 120.

Jones The Grocer – All Emirates

salmon on bed of noodles

Jones the Grocer is offering a wide range of vegan dining options this Veganuary across all its Emirates-wide locations. Breakfasts include a blue spirulina smoothie bowl, topped with home-made maple toasted granola, toasted coconut flakes, fresh summer berries, and chia seeds, along with tofu scramble on sourdough toast and tomato chilli chutney.

For lunch, think Chickpea cauliflower and tahini salad, brushed with a chilli glaze or cured tofu, chilli, yuzu ponzu soba noodles with seared tofu, bok choy, and pickled red radish.

Punjab Grill, Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi/Anantara Downtown Dubai

Award-winning Indian restaurant Punjab Grill has launched a tempting vegan menu crafted by Executive Chef Sandeep Ail, and featuring dishes including Banana Stem Salad, steamed wild mushroom dumplings and Masala Pumpkin Fried Idli. Whether you’re a seasoned vegan or a curious diner for the start of 2024, this 5-star menu promises a special treat for Veganuary fans and foes alike.

Guests can enjoy Punjab Grill’s unique offerings throughout January at AED 275 per person. Beyond Veganuary, the restaurant caters to vegan preferences with options in the à la carte menu and the flexibility to customise any dish.

Ernstbiergarten, 25 Hours Hotel, Dubai

meatless meatballs on plate of mashed potato

Savour the flavours of Bavaria without any harm to the planet with Ernst Biergarten’s Impossible Meatballs. This Veganuary, the popular beer garden is offering juicy meatballs made with plant-based Impossible Beef, paired with a side of potato-cucumber salad. It’s a delicious, vegan option that’s easy on your conscience and your palate!

Moli by SHI

mix of asian vegetables

Celebrate Veganuary with a touch of class at MOLI by SHI. Get ready to dive into a world of Chinese delights with their new extensive vegan menu. From mouthwatering dim sum to appetisers and hearty entrées like Baby Spinach with yuzu-miso, assorted Chinese pickled vegetables, Sanpei king oyster mushrooms, Wok crown daisy with Furu sauce, and the Vegan stone pot – MOLI by SHI has it all this year. The best bit? The fun doesn’t end in January; their plant-based menu is here to stay, offering a delightful dining option all year round.

Asil, Rixos, Dubai

Embark on a Veganuary journey at Asil, a renowned dining spot in Rixos Premium Dubai, offering a diverse array of vegan dishes this month. With captivating views across the Arabian Gulf, Asil brings together Turkish, Lebanese, and Moroccan flavours with a creative twist.

Enjoy vegan options like Sour Cherry Vine Leaves, truffle-infused Hommous, Fattoush and the indulgent Vegetable Tagine, made with marrows, artichoke, potato, carrot, peas and served with a side of couscous. Conclude your meal with a refreshing fruit platter and quench your thirst with signature mocktails like Al Amira, Elmatini, and Passionista.

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