There’s no mistaking what’s on offer at Indian Veg. At the top of Chapel Market, the bright green exterior is covered from the pavement up with descriptions of what you’ll find inside, how much it will cost and why you should try it. It’s a tantalising pitch: healthy, vegetarian Indian food that’s affordable.
The restaurant first opened in 1985 under the name Bhelpuri House. Inside, the room is divided, with some tables near the buffet and others set up on a lower level. The finer details might escape you at first as your attention will likely be on the restaurant’s defining characteristic: wall to wall posters, newspaper articles, celebrity photos and pseudo-facts (‘carrots keep you younger!’) about the benefits of living a vegetarian lifestyle. It’s well-intentioned and sincere – done, in their words, to ‘inform, amuse and inspire’.
The buffet changes daily, but you’ll usually find a selection of half a dozen hot dishes (vegetable curries, dhal, rice), fried onion snacks, bread, cold salads (onion, carrot, beetroot, red and white cabbage) and fresh pear and mango sides. Staff can answer any questions about the dishes and their ingredients, and point out what meets different dietary requirements (most of the buffet is vegan). A long refrigerator along the wall has a selection of soft drinks. And there’s a table menu with Indian desserts, and dairy or soy lassis.
While the price of the buffet has risen to £7.95 (half price for a takeaway box), Indian Veg remains a reasonably priced option for great-tasting vegetarian and vegan Indian food in London.
Indian Veg offers free food to anyone who is homeless, during normal opening hours.