Oy Vegan takes London! Restaurant Review: Manna

Here it is! The final install­ment of Lon­don restau­rant reviews. We did visit some oth­ers while we were there, but these were the best!

It just so hap­pens that the old­est vegan estab­lish­ment in Lon­don is also the best! Manna has been open for forty-five years accord­ing to the owner, whom I chat­ted with after my meal. You wouldn’t know it from the looks of it. The décor is mod­ern and upscale. And the food is… well, superb.

We came for brunch with friends and were so impressed that we came again that evening for din­ner with dif­fer­ent friends! For brunch I ordered a full tra­di­tional Eng­lish break­fast. It was lovely. It came with beans, fried mush­rooms, scram­bled tofu, grilled toma­toes and pota­toes. It was hearty and well sea­soned. A great way to start a full day of sight­see­ing downtown!

Above: Tra­di­tional Eng­lish Breakfast

Then we couldn’t resist order­ing dessert. We ordered the banof­fee tri­fle which is a pop­u­lar British dessert. This tri­fle was com­posed of cubes of dark choco­late cake, bananas, sliced almonds, tof­fee sauce, and cus­tard. It was all topped with whipped cream. If you served this to a non-vegan, they would have no idea. It was amaz­ing. It also hap­pens to be gluten free!

Above: banof­fee trifle

Later, for din­ner, we ordered a vari­ety of dishes. For starters we ordered the spiced jerk tofu, plan­tain & sweet potato kebab and the raw maki rolls. Both were delight­ful. I espe­cially like the wasabi pea coulis driz­zled all over the plate that accom­pa­nied the maki rolls. The jerk tofu was well sea­soned and the plan­tain was scrumptious.

Above: Raw Maki Rolls — raw ‘riced’ parsnip, car­rots, beet­root, and avo­cado, served with tamari, pick­led gin­ger and wasabi pea coulis

For our mains, we ordered the root veg­etable tagine, the organic spaghetti and veat­balls, the chef’s spe­cial pasta and the ravi­oli, which I ordered. The ravi­oli were big­ger and fried. They were stuffed with wal­nut and wild mush­room paté and cov­ered in a fen­nel cream sauce. They were deli­cious.  I also tried the other dishes. I espe­cially like the chef’s spe­cial pasta. It was in a cream sauce as well with fresh yel­low bell peppers.

Above: root veg­etable tagine — served in a roasted pump­kin bowl, topped with bean curd sesame falafel, warm quinoa & pis­ta­chio tabouleh, harissa & minted yoghurt and pitta bread

Above: organic pasta of the day

Above: organic spaghetti & veatballs

Above: ravi­oli — a crisped ravi­oli filled with wild mush­room & wal­nut pâté with fen­nel cream sauce, sun­dried tomato pesto & bal­samic reduction

Finally, we were stuffed but we couldn’t resist order­ing dessert. We ordered the fruit salad and the petits fours. The fruit was super fresh and flavour­ful and the soy based vanilla ice cream was delec­table. The choco­late truf­fles were rich and deca­dent. I was espe­cially impressed with the Ital­ian style almond cook­ies. Some had a bit of pre­serves and oth­ers were plain. The con­sis­tency of the cook­ies were fab­u­lous. They were chewy and per­fectly sweet. A great way to end an incred­i­ble meal.

Above: Fruit salad with vanilla vice cream

Above: Petits Fours– a plate of truf­fles, choco­lates & small biscuits

You can read more of Manna’s menu here.

The friends we brought for din­ner are non-vegetarians/ veg­ans and they were rav­ing about the food. They said they wanted to come and bring other friends. This is what good upscale vegan din­ing can do. Manna is the per­fect place to bring non-veggies and impress the heck outta them. Any­thing to make the lifestyle more attrac­tive is a great in my opinion!

Manna was the per­fect end­ing to our stay and I highly rec­om­mend it to any­one and every­one vis­it­ing Lon­don in the future. We need more restau­rants like this in Canada and around the world. Let’s knock the culi­nary socks off non-veggies and show them what vegan eat­ing can really be: deca­dent, ele­vated, and healthful.

Oy Vegan!

Manna is located at 4 Ersk­ine Road, Prim­rose Hill, London

Clos­est tube sta­tion: Chalk Farm

Hours: Tues-Sun 6:30pm-10:30pm/ Sat-Sun 12-3pm

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