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Down by the river

There are some restaurants I feel you should do anything to get to, some I think you should avoid completely and others that are to be recommended only if you are passing.

The latter is how I feel about Riverside Vegetaria in Kingston.

Walking into this restaurant is like stepping back into the 1980s. The decor recalls an episode of The Golden Girls which saw the group dining out at a local trendy restaurant. Think lots of exposed brick and yellow-tinged lighting.

The step back in time doesn’t end with the decor. The menu is straight up old school vegetarian. Not to say that it isn’t tasty and filling, but there are certainly no fashion forward moments to be had. Food items in Riverside Vegetaria often border on camp, such as the lemon sorbet served in a hollowed out lemon.

A room with a river view

A room with a river view

My garlic bread consisted of thickly cut wholemeal bread, the sort of dish you would create at home if you had nothing else in that evening. My main was satisfying, but the salad nestled next to my potato curry dosa was anything but thrilling. Sure, it was all ‘nice’ but that’s where it ends. And for ten quid, I wouldn’t rate my main as exceptionally good value.

Beer & garlic bread

Beer & garlic bread

Ready to go meals

Ready to go meals

My dosa with salad

My dosa with salad

Riverside Vegetaria is the sort of place that will get you out of a bind if you are ever stuck in Kingston with nothing to eat. They also sell ready meals to take home, handy if you live in the area. Other than that, the only reason I can offer to make the journey to this vegetarian-with-lots-of-vegan-options eatery is the river view.

Only if you’re passing.

Visit Riverside Vegetaria online


Riverside Vegetaria is open 7 days a week from noon until 11pm.


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Written by fatgayvegan

  1. I’m so glad it’s not just me who was underwhelmed by this place. I decided not to judge them on their terrible, terrible website and to give them a chance… next time I will judge. Way better places to spend my money!

  2. Oh no! I’m so sad you didn’t like the Riverside – it’s one of my favourite restaurants! Their dosa is lovely, and I love their cashew nut curry! You’re right about it being dated, but that’s part of the charm. I make garlic bread like that at home still, as inspired by the Riverside! I know what you mean, though – compared to so many other restaurants in London it doesn’t compare, but I have many fond memories of meals there!

    • Yes this is also one of my favourite places, such good large portions too!

  3. Love this line: “Food items in Riverside Vegetaria often border on camp, such as the lemon sorbet served in a hollowed out lemon.”

  4. I love the Riverside Vegetaria! It is south Indian in vibe, so if you’re not into that perhaps you won’t be so keen, but my family and I have gone there for years because everyone (vegans and meat eaters) loves it.

  5. I am also a fan of this place. Decor aside the food is good and the service friendly, they always remember their regulars and give complimentary garlic bread (and remember if you need to vegan version).

    My favourite starter is the hearty chef’s platter, usually comprising of a falafel patty with houmous, garlic mushrooms and a potato ball with chilli relish. My favourite mains are garlic aubergine with broad bean rice or the string bean hoppers. My partner always has soup and the cashew nut curry. If I have room I finish off the meal with the warm chocolate fudge cake.

    Perhaps not worth travelling huge distances for but I’m prepared to make the 45 minute drive. And Riverside Vegetaria is open all day so you can go for lunch or an early dinner. If I have time I go a bit early so I can shop in Kingston which has a few quirky shops, a nice antiques place, a good health food shop (Food For Thought) which I think fgv mentioned recently and a Lush with spa treatment centre.

  6. there’s not much else around unless you want to eat in a meat restaurant. They did win vegetarian society restaurant of the year a couple of times a few years back. Guess it is like a blast from the past and not your cup of tea. And they’ve not given a freebie to gain your favour.

    • Are you suggesting I give favourable reviews in exchange for free food? I have never and will never write a positive review on this blog in exchange for money or food.

  7. I came here a couple of times when my twins were small enough to be in high chairs. It was for rare meals out. Must say that it didn’t feel child friendly- but then families are perhaps not really their niche. I thought the food was good- I love South Indian food but I agree that whilst I’d definitly go if in Kingston, if in easy reach of London I would head for something a bit different.

  8. Sorry, didn’t mean to suggest people pay you to give favourable reviews, but you would hardly give a bad one to a product you are being paid to promote? Or would you not accept the business if it wasn’t something you really loved, no matter what the price? I never know what to believe when I read blogs, lol.

    • I don’t write reviews (good or bad) for companies I work for. If people send me free samples, it doesn’t mean they get a good review or a review at all. I very rarely get samples or free things anyway. I only say good things on here about things I think deserve it.

      • I understand, thanks for your candour FGV. Good you keep the 2 things seperate, I think there are some far less genuine blogs out there, glad you have integrity 🙂

  9. Matt Jones, if you knew The FatGayVegan, you would know how insulting your comments are: even your ‘apology’ is half-hearted. The FatGayVegan is a man of integrity and so are his reviews. Just because you have come across less genuine blogs, don’t bring your cynicism and patronising comments to the blog of someone who has done a lot for the vegan community.

    Having eaten in the Riverside Vegetaria, I would suggest that both Mouchelux and The FatGayVegan have been extremely ‘diplomatic’ in their views of the place.

    My own opinion? Although they have got a decent amount of vegan options for desserts and these are reasonably priced, I cannot think of any other positive things to say about this place. The western dishes are ‘safe’ and nothing exciting compared to other decent vegan or vegetarian restaurants in London, but the Indian dishes do not compare well, either by taste or value, to decent vegetarian South Indian restaurants serving vegan curries and dosas: try Roses or Sakonis and then compare taste!

    It would be unfair for me to say that the owners have been complacent or lazy over the years that this restaurant traded without any decent competition in the area, but after reading comments like:

    “…it’s one of my favourite restaurants”
    “Yes, this is also one of my favourite places..”
    “I love the Riverside Vegetaria..”
    “I am also a fan of this place.”

    Well…maybe I should setup my own vegan restaurant in Kingston. I’ve been told I’m a ‘very average’ cook, but I don’t think that would stop my new restaurant becoming a success if the above comments are anything to go by. There is hope for me!

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