Category Archives: London

PB Eats… Vegan Beer Festival

Oh my word. Where is the time flying.  Back at work, completely settled down, my time off is but a distant memory….  Food wise, I’ve been making a lot of home cooked lunches – quinoa, cous cous with veggies.. Eating out? Nothing out of the ordinary, just the usual places.

Saying that, I did have a nice meal at Virasat, a north Indian restaurant based in Newbury Park.   It serves a lot of carnivorous food, lots of dishes with dairy – paneer, butter naan, but there was salvation in the form of crispy bhajias, channa masala and puri. The bhajias were nice and crunchy, and the tomato chutney was amazing – it actually should have been a garlic sauce!  The channa masala was super spicy in terms of spices used as opposed to heat (does that make sense?), although the fluffy puris did help.

But my highlight was the London Vegan Beer Festival, held at Hackney Downs on 15th July 2017.   But before that, I went to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford for the Para Atheletics.  The last time I went to the stadium was during the Olympics in 2012 – I loved every event I saw, and we were even lucky enough to get tickets to the closing ceremony.  So being back watching these amazing, inspiring athletes was a humbling and impressive experience.

Now. Vegan Beer Fest. Whoohoo! A place where I can eat whatever I want? Without having to ask questions? My excitement was building up while we were queuing up.  £5 (booked in advance) got you entry, a plastic pint glass and a sheet with all the beers on it that you could tick off while you drank them.

To be honest though, I was mainly there for the food, although we did try 1/2 pint of beer from Moor Beer Company.  I chose a bitter beer – Claudia, which I enjoyed, and M went for the milder So’Hop, which she didn’t enjoy (she’s not a beer drinker, but she tried!)

We tried mushroom arancini from Arancini Brothers, which were moist, juicy and served with this red pepper dip.  Good start.  Young Vegans, the pie experts where also there – and seeing that I had never tried their pies, we chose the Seitan and Ale pie, with mash, fried onions and a teeny salad.  The mash was excellent, the pastry was super delicious and crumbly and the filling – massive pieces of seitan – a very big portion and good value for money.  Next – an option that you can’t go wrong with – Club Mexicana.  I love everything on their menu, usually choosing what to order is the difficult bit.  We went for fish tacos.  Oh my word.  Not surprisingly, the best thing I ate – full of flavour, texture – seaweedy and fishy in a good way – oh so tasty.

But we weren’t done – not yet.  There was dessert.  A peanut butter chocolate brownie from Young Vegans (part of the meal deal with the pie).  Gooey, moist, peanut buttery, chocolatey but a bit too dense – didn’t stop me from eating it – it was delicious!  Peanut Butter Bakery also had a stall – I bought two doughnuts for later – almond dulce de leche and I think a raspberry one.  The flavours were nice, but I found them dry – they needed a cup of tea.

It was an excellent day – athletics, truly excellent vegan food – I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Apparently there was a vegan food market held in the same place in June, I’ll be keeping an eye out for when the next one is on!

PB Eats… Back in London

No travel blues, no jet leg, I’m enjoying the weather and free time and not really thinking about going back to work in July.  What have I been up to? Spending time with my lovely niece, pottering about, chilling in london and exploring new restaurants.  This week I have mainly been eating a lot of hummus and falafel. But first, a wonderful discovery – a vegan cafe in Pinner, north west London.  Everything is vegan, fresh and simple. I loved the concept – a number of hot dishes – tofu, beans, potatoes, quorn that can be put in a wrap or in bowl – with loads of salads on the side. 

We went for an ABC – apple, beetroot and carrot – juice, freshly pressed and tasty. I went for a chilli tofu salad bowl with quinoa, salsa, avocado, cucumber.  The other bowl? Bombay potatoes with hummus, avocado, olives, cucumber and watercress.  These were big bowls for about £6 – such good value for money.  We really enjoyed our food – simple, tasty and flavourful.  They also had a counter of VEGAN cakes and muffins. We bought a slice orange and polenta cake (really really tasty and orangey) and an apple and cinnamon muffin (ok, a bit to sandy in texture for me), but forgot to take photos.  

This is a place I will definitely be going back to – a no brainer really.  Next stop? Turkish restaurant Yaprak in Eastcote.  They have an excellent lunch time menu, 2 courses for £6.95. My sister had been here before and was impressed with the food.  The restaurant was a bit quiet – we were ladies who lunch on a weekday – but I’ve been told it gets really busy on weekends.  I ordered a fresh mint tea and chose a starter and main from the lunch menu. Hummus and falafel. My sister went for just a main (a la carte) of vegetable kebab, that came with a big salad. 

Complimentary flatbread brushed with this lovely mix, and dips – yoghurt (I think), olives (marinated with coriander seeds – whoa! Excellent) and chilli sauce (sensational!!!!!).  The portions were massive and super tasty. Everything was made in house – and you could tell. Hummus was very earthy and full of flavour. The falafel was airy, nutty and very moreish. I didn’t know what to expect with the vegetable kebab – but we got a mound of vegetables in this delicately spiced sauce. Absolutely lovely.  Only thing I didn’t want to have or try was the psychedelic Turkish delight.  Another place I’d visit again.  




A place that I won’t be going back to is Ya Hala, a Lebanese place in Paddington. We went for a an apple juice with mint and ginger – nice, but mainly because I needed hydration as opposed to it being good. It definitely wasn’t fresh. I went for the falafel  and hummus again, and M went for a mixed mezze plate. 

Big portions – and the mezze platter looked good but M did not even have 3 bites. Verdict? The meat tasted like it was a few days old and everything was tepid and horrible.  So epic fail then.  The falafel on the other hand weren’t bad flavourwise, just very dense and stodgy – nothing like the light and airy ones at Yaprak. Salad was dull. The hummus was ok though. 

So more hit than miss on the restaurant front, but it is always good to explore new places. And talking about new places, there is an ice cream shop in Ruislip that does proper gelato and dairy free sorbets – La Dolce Vita. 

I chose raspberry and it was super delicious! No added colouring, nice bit of raspberry flavour, no artificial taste – bellisimo. The pistachio and hazelnut gelatos are apparently very very good! Will definitely go back to try the other sorbets – mango, passion fruit, lemon… whooo!

PB Eats.. London Night Market

The London Night Market, essentially an outdoor food market was set up in Kensington Gardens for about 10 days in June.  So let me be honest. I wasn’t expecting to find anything to eat here. Maybe some chips, but that was it. How wrong I was! I liked the way this place was set up – the food trucks and stalls, there was a lot of seating space dotted all around, and if you didn’t want to sit on a chair, there was a whole load of green to sit on.  The whole market had this really relaxed and chilled vibe. It was a Saturday night, the weather was glorious, the sun was shining until 10pm and everyone was smiling. What more could I ask for. Oh yes. The food. That was EXCELLENT!

First stop? Get something to drink. There was a Cobra Beer stall and loads of bars and cocktail stalls. I had a grapefruit Collins with Tanqueray 10 year. Nice, but definitely not worth £8. What was better was the pint of Pimms that was also £8 – and not an ice cube in sight!

First stop? Mama Jerk for some fried plantain – only £3. Fresh and super hot, it was super delicious. They were offering mayo (why? nooo!) or a tomato salsa as a dip. But what took it to the next level was the (vegan) jerk seasoning paste that I went for. OH MY WORD. I have ever tried a jerk paste this good. Perfectly balanced with all the flavours and chilli. Amazing amazing amazing. Good start. Very good start.

There was a gyoza truck but the queues were so long that I wasn’t willing to queue.. until next time. Next? Spicebox. I had never even heard about this place – all vegan, all plantpowered and all tasty. Such different options – I went for the jackfruit tikka masala and the tandoor cauli steak, on a bed of quinoa.  It was all topped with super tasty chutneys, coriander, pickled onions and chillies.  I was so impressed. Fresh, zingy flavours, and each mouthful was literally a flavour explosion – right down to the last mouthful. I was so so impressed with this power box of tasty food. I’ll be tracking them down to indulge again.

The rest of the gang indulged in a lot more food – a truffle burger (all hype and all fat and no truffle apparently), Goats cheese veggie baos (apparently very horrible) and raclette (which I adored in my cheese eating days, that went down very well).

Onto desserts. Churros! Which I could eat – but I couldn’t have the chocolate sauce. And that was completely ok as the churros were so tasty. Crispy, soft and not too sweet. So so good. I was told the chocolate sauce was virtually perfect.  Yorica also had a presence there. Now I usually have the frozen yoghurt, but they had run out. So we chose the salted caramel and the chocolate and orange flavours. Whoa! The salted caramel flavour was by favourite.. lovely – not overpowering and not too sweet. Loved it.

A brilliant evening with brilliant food and company.  And so much food for me – so happy and so impressed.  I have to say, there are so many vegan options in London at the moment – grateful.com. Definitely signing up for the next night market.

PB Eats… Mildreds

I’m back in London, will be back at work in July, so am enjoying the last few days of ‘freedom’.  I have to say the glorious weather has definitely helped – they’ve chased my holiday blues and jet leg away for sure.  First meet up was at Mildreds, a place I’ve been meaning to try for a while.   Vegan heaven, super popular and amazing food.  Aaah.  So the food was not as good as hoped, and I’m not sure if it was down to them being so busy or whether it was poor choices on our part.  But poor choices aside, the food should taste good, right?  We kicked off with a cocktail, I went for an Aperol Spritz – perfect drink for a sunny day.  

Instead of going for a main course, we decided to share some small plates/starters, and go with the flow.  I thought we chose a good selection of dishes.  Gyoza with a soy/sweet chilli dipping sauce.  The filling was soy mince I think, not my favourite, but the outside – hard and chewy dumpling wrapper, and not in a good way.  Next? Smashed avocado with lime and chilli and organic corn chips.  Beautiful avocado, but lacking in terms of seasoning and lime – which let everything down.  The purple corn chips were quite yummy though.  

Now I love miso aubergine, or nasu dengaku, and when done right, this dish is luscious.  Meltingly soft aubergine, hot, almost fluffy miso dressing, sweet, sour, salty, umami overload.  Sadly this dish was an epic fail.   Barely lukewarm aubergine, I couln’t taste any miso.  Bland bland bland.  The best small plate was tenderstem broccoli with confit garlic and chilli.  Perfectly cooked, the dressing was so delicious, and the garlic was divine.  Loved this dish.  One decent dish out of four, I wasn’t happy and didn’t want to spend any more time or money on the savoury stuff.  

So bring on desserts. Vegan desserts.  Now We Are Talking.  The BEST vegan dessert I have had.  Chocolate hazelnut brownie, salted caramel sauce and ice cream.  Served warm, it turned out to be one of the best vegan desserts I have had. Seriously chocolate my, seriously caramel, seriously creamy, seriously good. That with a cup of green tea – lovely. 

In hindsight, I think I should have just gone straight in for a main course – but it was such a hot day, the idea of having a pie or a burger or a stir fry/curry or a dish with rice (yep, still not feeling it fully) was not welcoming.  I will give this place another try and check out the main courses – just to make sure the problem might have been with me and not Mildred.

PB Eats… Caravan Bankside

Walking to this dinner venue was very very nostalgic for me – and even more so when I got there.  Caravan Bankside is ‘housed on the ground floor of an old metal box factory’. 10 years ago, I worked in that very building on the third floor, and it was a dodgy building, with a dodgy lift and no air conditioning….  my my my… how times have changed!  It is now a trendy hipster building (with air conditioning, no doubt) with a trendy hipster restaurant, and if this restaurant was there when I was, I would be there every day, no doubt.

Gin has become very popular and trendy over the last few years, but this is the first place I’ve come across that makes their own tonics!  Had to be done – I went for an orange and cucumber tonic with Hendricks.  Refreshing, light, a touch sweeter than I wanted, but really really good.  Go home made tonic!  We also had some juicy olives and almonds – so good that M ordered that again for dessert! 

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The meaties ordered a few dishes which they enjoyed; air dried beef and oxtail (meat good, black beans – hard).

I loved the fact that there were SO many options on the menu that were vegetarian and could be veganised.  We went for a whole load of them, the highlight being the squash, with miso and herbs (no blue cheese).  This was so good, the fresh thai basil, mint and spring onion perfectly complementing the soft squash and the deep, sweet miso.  The spiced cauliflower (with pomegranate yogurt on the side) was also very good.  Soft cauliflower sitting on this spicy harissa sauce – really really really good.  We also ordered some potato bread (that came with olive oil instead of lemon thyme butter – thank you :0) which was soft, flavourful with an excellent crust.  YUM!  The crispy, chilli salt tofu was excellent too.. silken tofu, with a super crunchy coating, and lots of yumminess – black beans, coriander, soy sauce, spring onions.. I thought the portion size was a lot smaller than the other small dishes.

The other dishes we ordered were the quinoa dish (this dish contains honey – why? not sure, I don’t see the point. I only ate the peanuts, which were copious and delicious).  The molasses roasted beets and onions with loads of seeds was super salty – I suppose the goat’s cheese curd (on the side, which was apparently VERY good) was to balance it, but I wasn’t a fan of the dish. 

Overall it was a really tasty meal, really enjoyable and I already want to go back and try the other dishes I didn’t!

Another really good meal to mention this week, at another regular restaurant – Chawallas. I decided to go for a vegetarian thali instead of my usual Chana Masala, and other than the yogurt and dessert, I could eat most of the food. Really delicious and just under a tenner for all this food. I didn’t even take a pic of the three giant puris and the poppadom that came with it. Large enough to share, or enough for one greedy person. Yum yum yum. 

Countdown to Asia is in full swing.. I still need to finish my packing and I only have a few days to go!! Sooo excited! 

PB Eats… In London

There has been a lot of eating going on over the past few weeks, lots of home made food, lots of the usual stuff  (Zizzi, Pizza Express, Wagamama, Haz), and a few interesting eats, which I’ll talk about here.  So the first one was… wait for it… a vegetarian pizza restaurant!  So this place is apparently the third in a chain, and not only is it vegetarian, but Indian – which means that you can order pizzas with lots of coriander or paneer!!

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Mr Singh’s is just outside Gants Hill tube station, we rocked up early (pretty early, around 6pm) for dinner.  We were the only ones there to sit and eat, but it filled up quickly.  There were lots of people taking away or picking up orders.  The menu is great – not only do they do pizzas, but burgers, wraps, lots of sides and lots of desserts.  I decided to go for the vegetarian hot, with red onion, sweetcorn, mushrooms, peppers, jalapenos and fresh green chillies, sans cheese.  They do a soy based vegan cheese, but I’d rather go without.  My mama ordered a vegetarian supreme, which was essentially the same as mine, but without the green chillies, and obviously with cheese.

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It was only after I ordered I read that pizzas are deep pan, but you can request thin crust (which is my pizza of choice).  The deep pan was about a centimetre thick, really well cooked and crispy – so no complaints there.  I usually top my pizza with chilli oil, chilli flakes, and whatever else there is – but this time, I didn’t have to.  The pizza was SO good – and the generous amount of green chillies really hit the spot.  Super tasty!  Definitely coming back here to try the other stuff on the menu.

Next? The food stalls at Spitalfields Market and Boiler House.  Well we did check out all the fashion stalls – there is so so much there, all quirky and different, teeming with people – but I was here for the food.

There was something for everyone – virtually every different type of cuisine and dish available, and everyone, well, almost everyone was happy with what they got.  I wanted to check out the vegan burgers at Pomodoro e Basilico.  I had been seeing these ‘cheesy/mozarella’ sticks that they sell on social media for so long, I really wanted to try them – so I ordered one.. It looked like the real deal, tasted like the real deal, the only problem for me was that it was under seasoned.  All it needed was hit of salt.

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They also do different kinds of burgers, either with seitan or jackfruit.  They even do a sweet burger.   I went for ‘The Good’ with a seitan beef patty, beetroot ketchup, garlic mayo, cashew cheddar, carrot bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion. There is a lot of effort that goes into these burgers, but for me, it was too sweet!  The bun was sweet, and the beetroot ketchup and carrot bacon just enhanced that.  Also, my patty was really really small.  I think that if the patty was bigger and thicker, it would change everything about the burger.

We also went for a slice of the spinach, peanut butter and banana cake.  Amazing texture, moist, but it could have been a bit sweeter for me.

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So some stuff was too sweet, some not enough sweet or salty – but overall, quite pleasant.  I will try them again though, and compare the difference to this time…

Next highlight – din din with the cousins.  We wanted to go to Iberica, but they didn’t have any availability until 10pm, so we ended up going to Sabor Iberico – tapas too, but much more rustic, cheaper and cheerful.  It was a lovely place, lovely staff and a typical menu with all the expected fare… but what was unexpected was a lovely gin menu, with my favourite tonic(s) – Fever Tree.. I went for a Portobello Road Gin, which was jolly good.

There were a few meaties and I think they ordered the calamari and chorizo, but there were loads of veggie/vegan options.  Olives – fat, juicy and so moorish.  Delish! The pan con tomate was sensational – we ordered some plain and some with manchego cheese.  Fresh tomatoes, fresh bread – it has got to be one my favourite tapas dishes.  We also went for patatas bravas (acceptable), ensalada de espinaca with nuts, butternut squash and a really good whole mustard dressing.  The padron peppers were appropriately charred, with a sprinkling of paprika..mmmmm.  I was happy.

Other veggie dishes ordered were the tortilla with cauliflower (hmmm), the feedback was that it was ok.  What went down well though was the broccoli in a nice buttery sauce, and a dish of mushroom and goats cheese.

Sadly I couldn’t partake in any of the desserts, so I settled for a cup of hot water with lemon (they had run out of fresh mint!) and watched the girlies enjoy the churros and tarta de Santiago – and boy, they did.

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Sabor Iberico was really reasonable, the food good, the desserts and gin heavenly – will definitely return for a cheap and cheerful and tasty meal.

So those have been some of the eats (to be honest, the ones where I remember to take photos of, haha).  I’ve been busy planning travelling phase 2 – Asia it is and some of the countries have been decided on, but I’m also doing a bit of ‘going with the flow’… I leave in 2 weeks – and I can’t wait! Whooo!

PB Eats… Yauatcha

I am enjoying being back home, making the most of the free time I have, and eating obviously.  I met up with L for dinner at what has become my favourite place for dim sum – Yauatcha – I prefer going to the branch in the city.  Over the years, I have experimented with what I can eat, what I want to eat, what I should be eating, and Yauatcha has always graciously supported my preferences.  L managed to wrangle the current bookatable £29 deal – 9 courses (including dessert) and a cocktail.   Yay! The table was already set with the usual fare – vinegary cucumber (yummo), and two chilli sauces, top right con fish, bottom right sin fish.

Our cocktail arrived – a cherry chaser with brandy, cherries, orange and a few..erm.. other things – yep, I can’t remember.  Surprisingly refreshing and not very alcoholic given all that ice.

So the set menu has the following yummy nibbles – Har Gau, Crystal Dumpling Wrap (ve), Baked Venison Puff, Mushroom Spring Roll (ve), Shui Mai, Black Pepper dumpling, Prawn Cheung Fun and a lotus leaf sticky rice.  Phew.  Obviously most of the stuff was off limits for me, but they had alternatives, as expected.  I got more taro (2 to be exact) and veggie dumplings (1 fried and 1 steamed) and a mushroom cheung fun.  The fried dim sum were very tasty – as were the steamed.

We also got a cheung fun each – soft, yielding and very delicious.  At first glance, you may think this is not a lot of food, but it was just the right amount.  Every dim sum was well made and flavourful, I can’t choose a favourite.  Ok. I can – the orange dumpling, it’s always been you.  It contains pine nuts – not an expected ingredient but what an ingenious addition! The mushroom spring roll with a hint of truffle comes a close second.  My dishes on the top, L’s in the middle.