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Beeja Recommends: Our Favourite Restaurants in London

favourite London restaurants

 

If you’ve ever been on one of our meditation retreats, you’ll know that we take dinner pretty seriously here at Beeja. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that we spend a good 30% of our time thinking about it. The enchanting alchemy of cooking is a whole constellation of joy, whether we’ve bubbled and stirred to create something ourselves, or have come together to enjoy a meal that another person has lovingly prepared.

Witness people sharing a feast together, and you often see humanity at its most happy, present and generous (well, until there’s only one poppadom left, in which case prepare for some steely-eyed rivalry!). This is why we think that good restaurants deserve recognition – they pour untold levels of energy into creating something wonderful, and in turn they bring out the best in us! Here’s a short selection of our favourites, right on the doorstep in London.  

Note: The majority of our choices are vegan and vegetarian-friendly.

 

Ganapati South Indian Kitchen – Peckham

http://www.ganapatirestaurant.com/index.html

Inspired by the home-cooking and street food of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, Ganapati is a colourful and laid-back restaurant which really stands out from the crowd. While “authentic” is an overused word, is really does apply here – with their select menu showcasing some of the best of south Indian cuisine. With moreish homemade breads, tangy pickles and luscious curries, there’s so much to enjoy here. 

Ganapati isn’t fully vegan or vegetarian, but everything including dairy is clearly labelled, and much of the food on offer is vegetarian – as well as utterly delicious. 

Unsurprisingly, it’s very popular, so it’s best to plan ahead if you want a table!

 

Spinach – East Dulwich

http://www.spinach.london/

This South London gem is a beautifully designed, vegetable-centric restaurant that serves everything from spinach and cumin pancakes at breakfast time to roasted cauliflower kormas over a leisurely evening meal. The bright and leafy interiors are lovely to relax in, and while (once again) it isn’t a vegetarian restaurant, the meat-free options are varied and carefully considered. 

 

Ottolenghi – Various London Locations

https://ottolenghi.co.uk/

Ottolenghi is such a legend in plant-focused cookery that he should probably be crowned and ascended to a vegetable throne – and luckily he has restaurants all across London! His sleek and well-loved delis serve Middle-Eastern inspired food which aim to showcase veg at its best, and each is slightly different from the other. You can dive into a beautiful bounty of food, with the use of Ottolenghi’s signature spices (za’atar, dukkah, sumac and mahlab) making everything you decide to indulge in sing with flavour. 

 

Caravan – Various London Locations

https://www.caravanrestaurants.co.uk/

Caravan facilitates all-day dining at their five London restaurants. With their interesting fusion menu offering sourdough pizzas, buttermilk hotcakes, chilli-salt tofu and all sorts of other treats, it’s a great place to enjoy something informal and relaxed. If nothing else, it’s very worth popping to your local outfit to see why The Telegraph is raving about Caravan’s cornbread, which the reviewer insists “changed my destiny”. 

 

Hemsley + Hemsley Cafe – Selfridges

http://www.hemsleyandhemsley.com/home/cafe/

Jasmine and Melissa are a pair of foodie sisters who have a passion for nutritious, healthy food, and Hemsley + Hemsley is their first eatery – opened after the success of their books and TV show. Boasting a minimal, Japanese-inspired aesthetic and a menu of organic, seasonal food, everything served here is gluten free, uses no refined sugar and steers clear of hydrogenated fats. But these health credentials are far from the only draw  – Hemsley + Hemsley’s meal are both substantial and delicious, with none of the dry fussiness sometimes associated with healthier cooking. 

Try their golden chai latte for something warming and soothing, and go for their full afternoon tea to experience an interesting twist on an English classic. 

 

100 Hoxton – Shoreditch

https://100hoxton.com/

100 Hoxton is one of the coolest-looking places in Shoreditch and has lots of great morsels – includings plenty of vegan and vegetarian choices. The food is served tapas-style, and the prices are very reasonable so you can fill up your table for a real feast. 

 

Chutney Mary – London’s West End

http://www.chutneymary.com/

Chutney Mary is another exceptional Indian restaurant, with a menu that’s full to the brim with vegetarian goodies. Their food changes with the seasons and is, as described in Time Out, of “astonishing quality” – while the decor is another marvel. Perfect for a special occasion, this upscale restaurant is known for impeccable service and elevated cookery, spoiling diners with gourmet versions of Indian classics. It’s a unique experience, and one that has earned Chutney Mary a certificate of excellence on Tripadvisor. 

 

Deliciously Ella’s Deli – Mayfair

https://deliciouslyella.com/our-delis/weighhouse-street/ 

Deliciously Ella is everyone’s’ favourite wellness writer, and her popularity has continued to soar with her vegetarian London deli. Just 100 yards from Oxford street but hidden on a quiet corner, here you can enjoy guilt-free treats like banana bread, Matcha lattes and an unctuous Tuscan bean stew, and escape the hustle of the city. 

 

Cinnamon Club – Westminster

http://cinnamonclub.com/menus/

The Cinnamon Club is a Westminster institution, serving Indian food in a book-lined dining room that looks only a little less grand than the library in Beauty and the Beast. Providing pan-Indian cuisine to a fine-dining standard, all within the gentleman-club-like surroundings of a Grade II-listed Victorian building, the Cinnamon Club is combines the traditional and innovative in a way which has made it a firm favourite. 

CEO Vivek Singh and head chef Rakesh Ravindran Nair came up with the latest menu after a million pound refurbishment – make sure to check it out if you ever fancy a treat! 

Words by Holly Ashby

This entry was posted in blog.

A Meditation On Forgiveness

meditation on forgiveness

 

A meditation on forgiveness from Will Williams. 

A few years ago, I remember teaching a billionairess who emphasised over and over again the importance of forgiveness.

Whilst I obviously acknowledged its significance, I must admit I struggled to relate to her prioritisation of it over all other considerations. However, as time has gone on, I feel I’ve begun to understand just why she had seen the light on this.

You see, so much of what holds us back is the web of entangled emotions we have about people and events in our lives. We feel hard done by, misunderstood, betrayed, hurt, let down, unnecessarily treated, bitter, resentful and so many other things, by so many actors, and our tendency is to bury and disassociate from it, or try and change the storyline so that it’s less hurtful.

Or perhaps, we may even project hatred and resentment back in the direction of the people we feel have hurt or attacked us. But that ends up hurting us far more than the person we are directing it at.

And the limiting effect of it goes way beyond simply locking us into a state of dissatisfaction. It is a bitter poison that will prevent us from ever reaching our full potential. It will render us locked out of the possibilities of each and every moment, and it will cause us to walk a path that leads to nowhere.

We will cycle around in the same old patterns, until one day, when we’ve had enough, we will finally breakthrough. But why not start by now? As Nelson Mandela pondered as he was leaving prison after 27 year of unjust internment:

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”  

So how can we move beyond such hates? How can we elevate ourselves to the point where we no longer feel affected by the so called injustices of others?

Well doing a twice a day meditation practise makes a helluva difference, because it will help loosen the emotional charge associated with life’s events. As well as doing the inner work that creates the space for real and genuine transformational change to occur, we need to go further. We need to be willing to shift our attitude and our paradigm to embrace forgiveness for all hurts.

We are wise to seize the day every single time we find ourselves in a place of higher perspective and just send the people we have emotional entanglements with a little pulse of recognition and understanding that yes, what went down wasn’t ideal, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s all ok, because we are still here, and if we allow ourselves, we can grow through everything, and become a stronger, wiser person.

But we only become truly strong, when we let go of the weakness that insists on being a victim to life’s misfortunes. Is it easy? No, it most certainly isn’t. But is it necessary for the most powerful growth to occur? Yes, it is. So much so, that without it, we are incarcerated. Possibly with a life sentence hanging over our heads, when the road to freedom lies within our grasp.

So when you wake up feeling all chill in your alpha state, or you get to the end of your meditation, see if you can offer all those people who you’ve felt hurt by some real and genuine forgiveness. Understand that they too are hurting, and that may be driving their behaviour, because if they were free of all pain and hurt, they would offer nothing but love, wisdom, and playfulness to those they encounter.

If you’re doing this, please also remember, it is essential we forgive ourselves. For any and all ‘mistakes’ we have made. We are all human. We all make mistakes. We all err, and we all self destruct at times. It’s part of the learning process of life. So if you can focus on the lessons, and not the errors, then you open up the space to forgive yourself and forget the past. And when you do that, forgiving others becomes way easier.

Words by Will Williams

This entry was posted in blog.