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Last updated: January 24, 2024

Alter restaurant review: the best vegan food in London?

I would like to introduce you to my favourite vegan restaurant in London, Alter. This stylish restaurant delivers the most delicious Asian street food outside of Asia. And everything is 100% plant-based. Read my full Alter restaurant review to find out more!

The outside of Alter restaurant in Aldgate, London which I visited for this alter restaurant review

There are now more vegan restaurants in London than you can shake a tofu block at. It has in my humble opinion become the vegan capital of the world. But it couldn’t have done so without also becoming a mecca for plant-based junk food dining. Because ultimately, that is what the people want. And without catering for the masses, the likelihood of a vegan joint surviving is limited.

Well, that is unless you are able to break through the mould and deliver some of the tastiest vegan food the city has seen.

One chef accomplishing just this is Andy Goodwin, the head chef and proprietor of Alter. Part vegan Asian restaurant, part trendy dive bar. Alter is located within a hotel that smells of salted caramel and purposefully uses polished plaster to decorate the walls. The perfect location for an upscale plant-based eatery I’d say.

It is at this very establishment that I spend most of my time, despite my bank balance telling me that I can’t afford to keep dining out in London. This is because I have something of an obsession with one of their dishes, the Laksa.

Whenever I order this dish I get a little smile from the server, as if they are sending me some sort of cryptic message to agree with my deepest thoughts, that this is indeed the kryptonite that could cause carnivores to go a little weak at the knees.

When expressing my love for this restaurant I get mixed responses from those who have yet to dine there. Mostly related to the plate size and the price of the dishes. Which is just a load of old bollocks really. If you want to eat affordable vegan food then head to Neat Burger, but if you’d rather experiment with your taste buds and eat something that is actually worth parting with your last remaining cash for, then you need to get your grumpy butt over to Alter.

So, without further delay (because I need to be heading to the tube shortly to get my fill of laksa), allow me to introduce you to Alter. One of the best vegan fine dining spots in London, a true vegan oasis where you can try the best vegan Asian food out of Asia.

Alter restaurant review summary

Alter fills a void in London’s culinary scene, showing just how imaginative plant-based cuisine can be with a unique inspiration drawn from Asian culinary traditions. With their thoughtfully crafted menu, you’ll have the chance to indulge in an array of tantalising flavours sourced from around the globe, all at a pretty reasonable price point (for London).

Editor’s rating: 4.8/5



To find out more about my pros and cons on Alter you can click directly on one of the links above and find out more. Alternatively, continue scrolling down to read through my full Alter restaurant review.

An array of small plates from alter vegan restaurant
A selection of Asian-influenced small plates served at Alter restaurant

1. Their menu is made up of authentic and tasty food

I’ve eaten a lot of ‘Asian’ food in London and have pretty much always been left feeling disappointed with the dulled-down flavours and inauthentic use of ingredients. Well, that was until I experienced Alter for the first time.

Within one meal I was transported around Vietnam, Thailand, China, Malaysia, and surprisingly even Italy*. The flavours were all there. Everything from their use of herbs and spices to the traditional ingredients used in these cuisines was spot on. I’ve spent a lot of time travelling around Asia and no restaurant has been able to make me feel like I’m back there quite like Alter does. So, kudos to them for this!

It is probably all down to Andy Goodwin, the Head Chef and owner, who has worked at the prestigious Asian restaurants, Som Saa and Andrew Wong. He has taken this experience and created his own Asian-inspired menu that makes the most out of plants. Showing just how adaptable Asian food is!

Whether you have travelled around Asia or not, you’ll enjoy the experience of dining at Alter. Either discovering new and exciting food or reminiscing about flavours you haven’t eaten since your last time visiting an Asian country.

Their menu can be subject to occasional changes, but a few dishes that are regularly featured there that I would recommend trying include:

  • Kung-pao crackers
  • Shan-style aromatic ‘sour’ rice. sweet chilli
  • Pizza dough. ajo blanco. basil
  • Xi’an-style knife-cut noodles
  • Herbal miso pho
  • Steamed peanut sugar baos

Unfortunately, my ultimate favourite dish of theirs appears to have been taken off the menu. Hopefully, it is only a short-term thing, and if this is the case, do make sure to look out for their Laksa dish. It is the most delicious thing you’ll ever have the chance of eating.

*Hidden amongst all of the Asian dishes on Alter’s menu you will find a dish called ‘Pizza dough’. Don’t hesitate to order this dish because it is incredible! And it is for this reason that it exists on their menu. The head chef/owner of Alter had this dish on their menu at another establishment and it always went down a storm. So he knew he had to keep it on his current menu. And well, even though it isn’t Asian and doesn’t fit in with the rest of the dishes on the menu, I am glad he did. I pretty much always order this dish!

The most delicious vegan laksa I've ever eaten served up at Alter restaurant
The dish I can’t get enough of, the vegan Laksa at Alter

2. The restaurant has a great atmosphere

Alter exudes an undeniable sense of trendy sophistication with its upcycled interior and polished plaster walls, making it seem like a natural fit in the vibrant heart of neighbouring Shoreditch. Surprisingly, it finds its home nestled amidst the streets of Aldgate, surrounded by office buildings.

However, the restaurant’s strategic location, just around the corner from Aldgate East station and a short stroll from Liverpool Street, ensures that its appeal extends far beyond the after-work office crowd and transient visitors.

Therefore, once inside the restaurant, you will find yourself sitting amongst a mixed crowd of diners. Some come from afar to enjoy the flavourful delights of this sensational vegan restaurant, while others pop in for a few cocktails and small bites after work, and then you’ll have people like me, who will be here for the regular fix of their favourite dish.

There is no stuffy or pretentious vibe in this restaurant and the staff will make you feel right at home the moment you walk in through the door.

Because of all this, I would recommend this restaurant for any occasion. Be it for your next date night, a meal out with friends, or after-work drinks with your favourite colleagues.

A few small plates eaten as a starter for my Alter restaurant review
Alter has a great selection of beers, wine, soft drinks and alcohol-free to go alongside their dishes

3. They offer a great selection of drinks to complement the food

At Alter, the drinks menu is thoughtfully curated to cater to a wide range of preferences, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re in the mood for a refreshing cocktail, a cold beer, an alcohol-free alternative, a soft drink, or a glass of wine, Alter has you covered.

For those embracing an alcohol-free lifestyle, the selection of alcohol-free beers and naturally flavoured seltzers at Alter provides a delightful array of options. Satisfying cravings without compromising on taste, these offerings are perfect for those seeking a refreshing and enjoyable alternative.

However, if you find yourself yearning for a bit of indulgence and a spirited libation, Alter’s lineup of delicious cocktails and enticing skin-contact wines won’t disappoint. Each sip is designed to elevate your dining experience.

What makes the drinks at Alter truly exceptional is their seamless pairing with the dishes on the food menu. The staff at Alter possess an innate understanding of flavour profiles, enabling them to provide expert recommendations that enhance the overall dining experience. Whether you seek a beverage that complements the flavours of your chosen dish or a unique combination that tantalises your taste buds, the staff’s guidance ensures maximum pleasure!

My thoughts on Alter

If I could I would eat at Alter every day. Although I’m sure my body wouldn’t thank me for eating such luxurious food on a regular basis. Therefore, I keep my visits down to a few times every month. Mostly to eat their Laksa and the Kung Pao Crackers, but also to lap up the culture and atmosphere in this trendy self-confessed ‘dive bar’.

Everyone I have recommended this restaurant to agrees that this is the best vegan food to be enjoyed in London. And to top it all off, some of the best Asian street food that you’ll get to eat outside of Asia. Vegan or not.

I can only hope that other restaurants take inspiration from Alter and pour some more imagination into their plant-based fare.

Areas of improvement

I know that many people’s concern with eating at Alter is the price. Mostly because they see reviews mentioning small plates and they freak out when they see the price attributed to each dish. But even if it was a little bit pricey, this food is completely worth it. As someone who has worked in restaurants, I understand the cost and effort that goes into creating truly flavourful food.

That being said, I’ve eaten at Alter many times and the bill has never come to more than what it would at any other vegan restaurant I’ve eaten at in London. The small plates can look pricey, but the larger plates are very reasonably priced and will balance out the bill. Plus all of the drinks are reasonably priced.

For instance, you wouldn’t spend anymore here than you would at Tendril, and you definitely wouldn’t spend anywhere near as much as you would on the vegan tasting menu at Pied a Terre.

My only issue is related to their menu being a little bit confusing as they don’t label dishes in the traditional way with starters, mains and desserts. But to be honest, it’s not even that big an issue because the staff are always more than happy to talk it through with you and recommend a good mix of dishes to get you started.


If you are hunting for tasty and authentic Asian food that is also suitable for vegans, or you are after a trendy dinner spot that serves up delicious vegan food and stylish drinks, then I know you’ll love Alter. I also know that people who aren’t used to eating small plates or bold flavourful Asian dishes will eventually come to love this place.

How do I know this? Well, I’ve forced quite a few people to try out this restaurant. All of them had different eating habits and ideas of what makes a restaurant great, and they all loved it here. Some were hesitant at first, but memories of the incredible flavour combinations that they experienced got them going back for more.

So, I would not hesitate in recommending Alter to anyone! Even those pesky non-vegans, cause they won’t be short of flavourful food to get their teeth into here.

The famous pizza dough served at Alter vegan restaurant
The famous pizza dough dish is a definite must-try at Alter!

Where can you find Alter?

Alter is located in Whitechapel, just around the corner from Aldgate East station. It is situated on the first floor of Leman Locke Hotel, you can either enter through the coffee shop on the ground floor or around the back entrance of the hotel. You can walk up the stairs directly into Alter restaurant or take the lift up.

Lucy the founder of Edible Ethics vegan food blog eating vegan noodles in a plant based restaurant

Lucy Johnson

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