PB Eats… Vegan In London 4

So this is one of my what I ate in London over the past few months.  I’ve blogged about some of them before so won’t be saying to much about those restaurants, but what I love is how the menus are changing to accommodate everyone.

Yauatcha

We usually go for a la carte when I’m with a large group of friends, but when we are just 2 or 3, the set menus are fabulous and an excellent option to go for.  This one included a cocktail, dim sum, a main (that Crispy Tofu is fab) and dessert.  I reviewed it back here if you want to read more.

Hakkasan

Hakkasan is another firm favourite, we went for the Dim Sum platter, both vegan and omni.  The vegan ones were were all stunning – filled with veggies and mock meats and they went down very well! The vegan dessert was the standard sorbet, the mango being a stand out…

Vegan Yes

We stumbled across this little cafe when finding a place for a quick lunch in the Liverpool Street/Shoreditch area.  It is on Brick Lane, around the corner from Mooshies, which I am still yet to visit.   So Vegan Yes is run by a Italian husband and Korean wife team and has a seriously quirky menu, a with everything from kimchi lasagne to mushroom gnocchi to bibimbap with a twist.  Everything is made onsite, and having a chat with the owner I could feel the passion that went into the food.  The best part? The variety of kimchi.  Red (traditional cabbage), yellow (daikon and turmeric), green (cabbage, mint and spirulina), purple (red cabbage).  So with all of that on hand – I just had to choose the bibimbap.  Vegan and a variety of kimchi on top of that?  Vegan Yes Please!!! What arrived was a picturesque dish – a mound of brown rice, sitting on a bed of spinach surrounded by different coloured kimchi.  All lightly pickled, each with their own flavour profile and still crunchy.  I loved all of them, the red and yellow being my favourite. It was a big portion and I obviously cleared it all.  Only gripe – I wish the spinach was cooked and added as another side as opposed to being raw.  I’m going back to try the kimchi lasagne!

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Elephant Royale

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this has got to be my favourite Thai place in London.  Along with the standard green curry and coconut rice, I have to mention the fabulous vegan prawn toast that we had that night – made with minced tofu.  It was seasoned so well, and it was so crunchy – having not had prawn toast for almost a decade, this was utterly fabulous.  Loved it and will order it every time I go!

Mildreds

My last time in Mildreds wasn’t the best – I didn’t enjoy the dishes I chose other than the dessert, which was utterly fabulous.  We decided to go to the branch in Dalston.  The restaurant is massive, with high ceilings and beautifully decorated – the polar opposite to the crammed branch in Soho.  Good Start.  I didn’t go for any starters this time, I scanned the menu, had a peek at the desserts and I knew I wanted one.  For my main course, I really wanted to try the katsu curry – mock chicken, black rice, watermelon radish salad, yuzu dressing. MMM.  It arrived looking as pretty as a picture and tasted great.  2 things though – the curry sauce, as tasty as it was, could have been a bit thicker to make the dish even more authentic -a textural nit pick.  And if you hate coriander you’re in trouble as there was a lot of it in the salad.  I love it and I thought it was the perfect addition to the dish.  I would eat this again in an instant.  Other dishes went down really well, most ordered the Sri Lankan curry made with sweet potato, green bean, topped with cashews and served with pea basmati rice. Bowls were wiped clean.  My omni friend ordered the mushroom and ale pie and was very surprised with ‘how the pastry could be so good without using butter’. Ha!

My dessert? Another stunning creation of a large square of chocolate brownie with cherries and ice cream.  Yep. Tasted as it looks and how you would want it to taste…  Delish!  Now I know the trick with Mildreds – stay away from Soho and don’t order the starters 🙂

Tokyo Diner

After Indian food, Japanese food has got to be my favourite cuisine.  Having been to Japan twice and travelled around extensively, if I want my Nihon fix I go to Tokyo Diner in Covent Garden.  The decor, both the inside and outside perfectly mimics the restaurants in Japan, and the service only adds on to it – everyone there is so polite, you get free green tea and crackers as soon as you sit down, there is a no tipping policy, and best of all, they have a vegan katsu dish!  The tofu katsu ju a silky soft chunk of tofu coated with crispy panko and topped with this thick miso sauce.  All of this sits on perfectly cooked rice.  Every texture is there and that miso sauce is what makes the dish, giving that umami hit that makes this dish so addictive.   This is a massive portion, I have yet to finish it completely!  And another plus point – they don’t use MSG!  Perfect on every level.. Arigato!

Having talked about 2 katsus that are pretty decent, I also had to try the Vegatsu at Wagamama, a dish that I think they started doing a few months ago.  As a veggie, the yasai katsu curry was my favourite dish.  This one, not so much.  The rice was the same, the curry was ok, the salad was an embarrasment, and the katsu cutlet itself.  MEH.  The coating should have been more crunchy, and the seitan more firm and more flavourful.  Didn’t like this dish one bit. How disappointing.

Leon

I have to mention Leon is my current favourite place for lunch.  Along with the tofu teriyaki salad (not to be confused with the hot dish – which is vile), the meatless meatballs from Leon are excellent lunch options, that fill me up and are oh so tasty.  If you’re really hungry – add a portion of hummus.  If you are still hungry (I doubt it) and you want dessert (oh go on then, maybe for later in the day) go for the PB & J Brownie.  MY MOST FAVOURITE DELICIOUS TASTIEST MOREISH YUMMIEST treat, courtesy of Rubys of London.

So that’s it for now… until next time…

PB Eats… Hakkasan

Happy New Year!  I was actually pretty ill over Christmas so I didn’t get to enjoy the festivities much – but thankfully I’m back, and rearing to go!  I wanted to see the Christmas lights in all their glory with my niece before they disappeared.

Thankfully it wasn’t as bitterly cold as everyone was saying it would be, although I did layer up with Tromso gear – so I was toasty and warm! The lights were beautiful – I loved the floating Angels! I’m also glad that some lights – like these peacock feathers and fans – are being reused.
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So all this walking and shopping made everyone hungry, and the hunt for food began. We decided to go to Hakkasan. B & C had been to the Hanway Place branch and waxed lyrical, and they wanted to go again to satiate their craving. However the Mayfair branch was much closer, so we went there instead. I have been to this branch before, but only for a set menu option. This time we were going a la carte!

As expected, the menu was pretty extensive. We decided to go for a couple of starters/small plates that we could all enjoy, including the impeccably behaved Little Miss S.  We chose the vegetarian dim sum platter and the salt and pepper pumpkin tofu.


Now for someone who hasn’t had meat for years, that dim sum platter definitely reminded me of not only the texture of chicken, but the taste! All the dim sum were very yummy, but part of me just couldn’t get over that meaty texture! As for the tofu – I love silken tofu, and this was essentially coated in a pumpkin/seaweed/veggie floss.  The tofu was meltingly soft and the seasoning just right. And don’t be fooled but those red chillies on the plate – absolutely no heat at all.

For mains we ordered veggie fried rice, Hakka noodle (with mushrooms, leeks and bean sprouts).  The latter went down particularly well with Little Miss S – she thoroughly enjoyed them. And the noodles were tasty – better than the rice, which I thought was no different to what you get from your local Chinese takeaway.


We also went for the four style veggie sir fry (with beans, tofu, mushroom and nice chunky asparagus) in a Szechuan sauce. Now. As far as I know, a Szechuan sauce is supposed to be hot, potentially tongue numbing. Nope. Not even close. No hint of chilli, not even a tickle.   It was a pleasant enough dish, but nothing to write home about (apart from on the blog haha)

The final dish we ordered was the stir fry black pepper vegetarian chicken – just to try what it would be like. In all the excitement I didn’t take a picture! Plump bits of ‘chicken’, coated in a peppery sauce, with a few sugar snap peas and red pepper chunks thrown in. It was Ok – not one to order again in my opinion, I wasn’t really a fan – but 100% for the mock chicken! Check out this piece – I can’t believe it’s not chicken!

All in all, an average meal (didn’t warm fully to the mock meats and the lack of flavour in the sauces), but with great company (with my favourite chica in the whole world) and beautiful Christmas lights – a lovely day to start off the new year!