Tag Archives: London

PB Eats… Vegan In London 3

I’ve been vegan for a couple of years now, and 2016 was challenging in terms of finding readily available vegan food or options in vegan restaurants.  But oh my word.  After I came back from travelling in July 2017, having been away for about 6 months, I saw such a difference – London had fully embraced veganism!  Obviously it made it easier for me to go out – some places have got it right, some are still trying, but at least everything is moving in the right direction!  Here are a few of the highlights so far 🙂

Aubaine

Aubaine had a menu on specifically to ‘celebrate’ Veganuary – starter and main for £12.50 and a couple of desserts too.  The options for starters were beetroot with apple or roasted cauliflower.  I went for the former and it was a good choice.  Zingy and fresh, crunchy apple, well-seasoned beetroot and citrus to cut through everything.

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Mains?  I went for mushroom bourguignon and M for the bean burger with fries.  She didn’t really enjoy her main – too salty for starters.  As for mine – my main is in the top right corner, the pic of the Aubaine marketing shot – sot the difference!  The stew itself was really flavourful, but it was a bit watery.  The mashed potato could have been less lumpy and the carrot bacon more crispy and maybe then it would have totally hit the spot.  But as they stand – miss the mains and go straight for starters and dessert.

Dessert on the other hand – oh my.  Polenta and plum cake with a super mandarin sorbet on the side – every dessert box ticked.  I could have had another portion.

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Maybe it was the branch of Aubaine I went to was having an off day with the service and mains – I would go again – just for the polenta cake.

Ba Shan

I went to Ba Shan with Mr O who is obsessed with chillies – and this was definitely the place to go.  Specialising in quite authentic and spicy Hunanese food, they were very open and accommodating to veganising their menu options.  I went for the Ma Po tofu with greens and plain rice.  YUM.  Sadly the Ba Shan website says they are closing down for a Baozi Inn (which isn’t bad either).  You will be missed 😦

Dishoom

Oh Dishoom.  How I love thee.  I used to be obsessed with their chilli cheese toast and their pau bhaji, but the obsession has now shifted to their okra fries – they are SUPER DELICIOUS – and off their vegan menu :).  Seriously guys, Dishoom have a vegan menu and it is full of yummy options – but you must try these fries.  Spicy, crunchy, moreish. YUM.   My other go to favourites are the gunpowder potatoes – but you.. well I, need to eat these while they’re hot, I don’t like them cold.  The chana chaat is a dish I order to feel righteous – chickpeas, cous cous, baby sprouts, pomegranate and pumpkin seeds.   I’ve never had a dodgy dish at Dishoom, may this continue.  And on the last visit, I indulged in a couple of Gimlets, laced with cardamom.  Wow.

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City Social

City Social also have a vegetarian/vegan menu, however they could put in a bit more effort – and at least come up with a couple more options for mains and a vegan dessert!  Put that Michelin start to good use!  A cheeky cocktail with a view to start off..

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Followed by a stonkingly good mushroom risotto for starters – packed full of mushroom goodness.  How they got this to be so creamy and so vegan is beyond me.

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Mains was essentially a cauliflower steak marinated in cumin and turmeric with leeks and purees of aubergine and garlic – what a clever combination of flavours!  I would have preferred a slightly thinner piece – after this meal I can tell you I didn’t have cauliflower for a while!

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The only dessert option was sorbet (boring) but my friend had a stunningly beautiful tart tartin – check it out!

Ham Yard

Ham Yard has been a favourite as they are one of the first restaurants I reviewed that had a vegan menu.  The latest menu read well, with lots of yummy and interesting bits to eat.

I wasn’t in the mood for soup or kale, and I did choose well with the artichoke and avocado salad, 2 of my favourite things to eat.  Creamy, fresh and those dots of red pepper sauce brought the dish together.  I stupidly went for the pasta, expecting it to be all mushroomy and truffley.  What came was a massive portion of pasta, a few mushrooms and no truffle.  It was a perfectly harmless plate of pasta, not what I would have expected from Ham Yard.  It was so dull that I even forgot to take a pic of it.  The dessert on the other hand was EXCELLENT. I asked for the clementine sorbet instead of raspberry – chocolate and orange, super combination – wise wise choice.  So creamy and rich, I was almost convinced it wasn’t vegan.  Yummy. Ham Yard stays on the ‘I will go back’ list.

Waffle House

I like this place not because of the food, but because of the location.  It is up in St Albans, and we usually wander through a beautiful park to get here.  I only ever have one option here, and sadly, it doesn’t involve waffles, as they don’t have a vegan option.  I have a salad, which is basically all the toppings of one of their savoury vegetarian options – hummus, rocket, sun dried tomatoes, olives, avocado and a sweet chilli and balsamic dressing. Lush lush lush.  Now if only they could create a vegan waffle and this will be a regular place for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

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Coppa Club

Now the Coppa Club is fabulous for drinks – I really like this place, the decor and the ambiance.  In the summer, they have these beautiful cabanas outside, and in the winter, they have igloos.  As for the menu, it isn’t very vegan (maybe this is why I go there for the drinks more than the food :). But saying that, the service has always been good and in this instance, super helpful in customising something for me.  I had the roasted cauliflower and kale salad with spinach, farro and almonds. And extra avocado. I love kale but this was raw, not massaged or soft in any way.  Definitely worked my jaw and my gut that day.  Since then, I stick to the drinks and fries. Can’t go wrong there 🙂

Purezza

I was in Brighton late last year for my birthday, and I got taken to Purezza by S for my birthday lunch.  WHOA.  So impressed.

The menu is perfect, a massive variety of pizzas. We both went for the Pesto Manifesto – pesto, red onions, fried courgettes, pine nuts, marinated spinach leaves & cherry tomatoes.  Stunningly good and so filling.  they even have a dessert pizza on the menu but we were too stuffed to eat it.  And the best part? Purezza is opening another branch in Camden in London. Whoop Whoop!

Haz

Haz is another firm favourite. There are so many mezze options and so much variety, but my go to option is the quick mezze plate, which they have no issues in veganising it. A giant plate with crispy falafel, creamy hummus, tabular, kisir and imam bayildi. Add some of that light bread and a cup of fresh mint tea and it is the perfect lunch or dinner. They did have this amazing main dish called Turlu which was like a veggie stew. So sad that it has disappeared, but the mezze will always be there.

So that is a snapshot of what I’ve been eating so far.. what I will end with is the BEST EVER VEGAN DOUGHNUT I have ever tried in my life.  Crosstown doughnuts do non-vegan desserts, with vegan options every weekend. I tried the yuzu (MY FAVOURITE flavour) and matcha doughnut.  OMG. Lush. Fluffy, not too sweet, chewy and perfectly balanced flavour.  Super excellent.    I’m glad they’re out of the way for me, or I kid you not, I would be eating them as often as possible.  So enjoy this beautiful cross section of a crosstown doughnut – until the next post :):)

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… Vegan In London 1

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.

PB Eats… Copita

I’m back in London! I wasn’t supposed to be back so soon, but a combination of unhelpful travel agents, expensive tickets and fate meant that my plans to go back to Mexico didn’t work out.   Saying all that, it is good to be back, seeing family, catching up with friends and most importantly, enjoying my Indian food.  I didn’t miss it while travelling, but boy I was glad to overdose on it when I got back.  Thanks mum! Home made indian dishes, rotis, gol gappas, puris, yum yum.

And I’ve been catching up at the regular restaurants, Zizzi – I’ve missed that wonderful pizza base, Chawallas, Wagamama, Shoryu – mmm, soy milk ramen, delicious.  Incidentally, they have a deal on at the moment, £22 for a bun, ramen and delicious cocktail. Definitely worth it.  I’m not going to blog about any of those – but I will say that it is good having all this variety and choice of vegan food sans issues or drama.

The meal of the week though was at Copita, to catch up with my partner in crime (and evil thoughts – forgive me!! haha), M.  A nice, trendy space with that irritating rule of no reservations in the evening.  Being a lady of leisure, I got there nice and early in the evening and had my choice of tables – or bar stools.  Result!

I was very pleasantly surprised to discover not only do they have a lovely food menu, but a very very lovely gin and tonic menu!!! Tanqueray! Bloom! Whoo!!  And they have Fever Tree tonic water – the only tonic water worth drinking.

The service was helpful and friendly, but as the evening went on it did get harder to grab their attention.  They rattled off the dishes I could eat (leaving out a few ingredients), so I obediently ordered them ALL.  M ordered the chorizo, croquetas de champiñones (no pics), and the giant gambas (check them out!!), which I didn’t hear any negatives about.

We also got the sweet potato bravas (alioli on the side).  These were moist, juicy but not very spicy. Not at all to be honest.  The broccoli with a pepper sauce – delish.  Still crunchy broccoli, yummy sauce, I enjoyed this dish.

The highlight of the meal was the ajo blanco, dressed with grapes, beetroot, parsley and almonds.  It was so tasty – not too garlicy, really creamy and the bits on top added little bursts of texture and flavour.  Every mouthful tasted different – yum yum yum.  Please order this!  The lowlight of the meal, for reasons to explicit and nasty to mention here, was the roasted aubergine.  It didn’t really look appealing, it had no seasoning and the texture was not nice, and the top half was undercooked, and I couldn’t taste anything in the sauce.  The hazelnuts though, were excellent.


I had no room for dessert after all this food and the very tasty G&Ts (my dessert), but M ordered the coffee and burnt milk ice cream.  Judging from the speed at which it disappeared and her expression, it was a tasty dessert.  


Overall – it was a good meal, I would go back again and again just for that ajo blanco!

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!