Guilt Free Goodness
Start the new year on a deliciously wholesome note with our ultimate guide to ‘guilt free’ restaurants – a curated collection of nourishing culinary havens that will reignite your taste buds and invigorate your wellness goals for the new year.
As the new year unfolds, we invite you to indulge in a culinary adventure that not only satisfies your taste buds but also nourishes your body and soul. As The Garden of England, Kent’s rich agricultural heritage is the backbone of its burgeoning food scene. This January, we are shining a spotlight on some extraordinary restaurants that have embraced the ethos of healthy living and sustainable sourcing. From quaint village bistros to chic urban eateries, each establishment tells a unique story; a narrative woven with the threads of local produce, culinary craftsmanship and a commitment to your wellbeing.
Experience innovative menus crafted by visionary chefs who have forged partnerships with local farmers, growers and artisans. These culinary pioneers are dedicated to serving dishes that not only showcase the seasonality and freshness of Kentish ingredients but also embody a philosophy that extends beyond the plate – one that respects the environment, supports local communities and encourages a mindful approach to dining.
Veggie and Vegan Goodness
Revival: Food & Mood, Whitstable
Fully licensed vegetarian cafe and ice cream parlour as well as a social enterprise run by Mind, Bexley working in Kent. Revival is the first step in trying to bring much needed mental health services into the area while working to support those recovering from mental distress through employment and volunteer opportunities. Expect a full veggie menu with buddha bowls, plus an ice cream selection bursting with sundaes, knickerbockerglory’s waffles and crepes. Enjoy a 1960’s vibe and vinyl decks, DJ events and the chance to bring your own vinyl.
Veg Box Café, Canterbury
Sitting in the shadow of the spires of Canterbury Cathedral, The Veg Box café is a bright and airy bistro that has been long established and much loved in the city. Independently run, The Veg Box serves natural, organic and vibrant foods full of colour and utterly divine in taste. Each day The Veg Box cooks up a selection of fresh and inventive dishes serving them from a spotlessly clean counter that are guaranteed to leave you feeling contentedly full and beautifully nourished. Happy chatter echoes across the walls of this cheerful canteen, which is decorated with unique artworks and hanging green plants.
Haven Vegetarian Kitchen and Bar, Tunbridge Wells
With menus that are constantly evolving with the seasons and the wacky whims of the kitchen team expect an exciting veggie experience. With small plates, big plates, desserts and weekend brunches, enjoy trendy dishes inspired by freshness and flavour that will be just as aesthetically pleasing as they are delicious.
Serving home-cooked, delicious and nutritious food and drink, as well as being a café, Root sells vegetarian and vegan products, gifts and groceries. All packaging used is biodegradable where possible and sourced from the UK to minimise the impact their products have on the world, leaving just the positives – products that are great for health and taste amazing. “At its heart, Root is about providing tasty food that will do you good and make you happy in an environment that is comfortable and friendly,” says founder, Eady.
Serving delicious plates of fresh whole foods in the form of crunchy salads, buddha bowls, wraps, sandwiches and more, Salata caters for gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian diets. The perfect spot for a healthy, tasty lunch.
Dr Legumes, Folkestone
Passionate about blending local and exotic flavours to create a unique plant based dining experience, a trip to Dr Legumes is certain to please both the taste buds and the body. A community interest company, Dr Legumes is invested in providing accessible workshops to engage the local community through food, promoting and focusing on health, wellbeing and sustainability, and using plant-based food as a tool to communicate the ethos of health-conscious food within the local community.
Life on High, Sevenoaks
A specialty coffee and pro-plant cafe with a wholesome, sustainable and fairly priced menu that turns into a vibrant social bar at night. The menu balances in season, organic, nutritious plant-based dishes, vegan and vegetarian, supplemented with carefully selected local meats, dairy and responsibly sourced fish from local suppliers.
Planet Earth Kitchen, Dover
Two fully vegan outlets run by husband and wife team, Glenn and Lorraine. One is a mobile burger van that travels around Kent serving their delicious, award-winning burgers and other vegan delights. The second is PEK on the Marina Curve, Dover. Here, they make and sell curries, soups, wraps, burgers, desserts and drinks, including freshly squeezed orange juice and alcoholic beverages to enjoy under the breathtaking vista of Dover castle and White Cliffs Country.
Vegan Antics, Gravesend
One of Kent’s first vegan bakeries, Vegan Antics was established in 2015 in a small kitchen in Kent when vegan treats were still hard to come by. Offering high quality products, available to order across the UK or for collection, Vegan Antics have a forever-expanding product range including a variety of cakes, cupcakes, rocky roads, flapjacks, biscuits, cookies, pastries, desserts and other exciting sweet treats. “Just because our products are vegan does not mean that we have compromised on taste,” says founder Grace. Vegan Antics cater for those suffering from intolerances and allergies too and focus heavily on being ethical and eco friendly.
The Wallflower Café, Herne Bay
Not only do The Wallflower use organic produce and only natural, vegan ingredients, they were the first eatery to serve Lost Sheep Coffee. As well as barista-style service, they also sell Lost Sheep so you can buy the beans and enjoy them at home. Masters of breakfasts and sourdough topped with all things divine, The Wallflower are also experts when it comes to vegan cake – the perfect accompaniment to a Lost Sheep Coffee with creamy oat milk.
Sitting in the perfect position for visitors to admire the imposing presence of the Westgate Towers, one of the last remaining entrances to this ancient walled city, Kitch sits neatly on Canterbury’s high street near the River Stour. The ultimate spot for brunch with plenty of gluten-free, veggie and vegan options, Kitch uses natural and wholegrain ingredients for maximum flavour and a whole lot of goodness. The healthy kitchen is free from refined sugars, refined flour and processed foods. The fresh free-range meat and eggs come from local farms who rear their animals traditionally so that their animals live a happy, healthy life. Expect everything from a classic English breakfast to overnight oats – the vast amount of choice will have something to suit whatever mood you wake up in.
The nutritionist-approved Eatwell concept offers a range of freshly prepared ingredients and embraces exciting plant-based/vegan and vegetarian food as part of a healthy balanced meal, along with delicious fish and chicken dishes with gluten-free options. Enjoy amazing food prepared by a head chef that was at London’s Mildred’s for 15 years. As well as delicious veggie food, cocktails and wine, superfood drinks, smoothies, protein shakes and freshly squeezed juices are on the drinks menu. Sweet treats come in the form of homemade tasty vegan and vegetarian desserts – even the vegan mayonnaise is made in-house!
Fitology Kitchen, Chislehurst
Serving 75% healthy, plant-based and veggie food with gluten-free options in the leafy suburb of Chislehurst. On Fridays and weekends, visit for cocktails and sharing platters, as well as salads and burgers. Healthy living at its delicious best.
The first and only fully plant-based café in Bromley. Veganism is far from a ‘fad’ to Vunch, who say they are vegan because they believe in sustainable and cruelty-free living. Their menu is 100% vegan and chosen by customers. “We have put in the ground work by trying and tasting a variety of fresh meals with you – only your very own favourites making the final cut!” Say Vunch.
Locally Sourced, Ethically Farmed Goodness
Ferry House, Sheppey
Recently awarded their second AA Rosette in Culinary Excellence, this delightfully cosy countryside restaurant, provides a truly unique vegan dining experience and creative menus. With over 150 varieties of produce, including rare and heritage fruit, veg and herbs, growing in their Kitchen Garden, the menu also commits to their zero waste and sustainability ethos. As well as veggies grown mere metres away, expect beef and game from the family farm and local estate, plus award-winning spirits distilled from their own grains. What The Ferry House can’t grow, farm or forage, they source from a handpicked selection of Kent’s best local producers.
The Small Holding, Cranbrook
Opened in 2018 by brothers Will and Matt Devlin, The Small Holding has a key focus on sustainability with growing and foraging at the heart of what they do. Based on a pretty farm in Kilndown, the restaurant serves a set menu celebrating the best ingredients available in the region that delivers a unique connection between land and table. The ever-changing menu is defined by hyper-seasonal ingredients, responsibly sourced, working with the seasons, foraging and preserving throughout the year.
The Goods Shed, Canterbury
A naturally lit restaurant overlooking the artisan market, the compact, seasonal menu at The Goods Shed constantly changes using the best local and meticulously selected ingredients the market has to offer. Slow-proved loaves are drawn from the ovens in the bakery throughout the day, whole carcasses of meat broken into cuts on the butchery, and dishes being prepared and cooked from the open kitchen or outside on the grill are all a part of the dedicated foodie process here.
Desh, West Malling
Serving authentic Indian food with a modern twist, Desh is ready to reignite your senses and has a whole host of vegan and veggie options. Expect a cosy interior where you’ll be greeted by warm colours and a cheerful cacophony – all complemented by sweet, soft music and the tantalising aroma of Indian food served with refreshing cocktails. You are indeed in good company, where exceptional customer service and mouthwatering Indian dishes await to satiate your hunger, calm your soul, and fill you up to the brim with positive energy.
Shampan, Westerham, Welling & Bromley
Although keeping their menus deceptively simple, Shampan’s dishes are full of flavour and freshly prepared, catering for all vegetarian and vegan options. Their delicious cocktail menu also includes some incredible mocktails from sweet pina colada style drinks to sharp and zesty juice blends. Expect traditional items from the Indian repertoire as well as signature house creations – Shampan have won a strong following among those who are both new to cooking from the subcontinent and those well-versed spice connoisseurs. From the cosy and ambient Bromley restaurant to the airy luxuriousness of the Westerham restaurant complete with wow-factor interiors, expect gorgeous surroundings as you dine. Alongside your food, order cooling beers, zingy cocktails and mocktails, fine wines and spirits.