Tag Archives | London

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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Oy Vegan takes London! Restaurant Review: Itadaki Zen

Japan­ese food and the term ‘vegan’ aren’t com­monly uttered in the same sen­tence. When I was in Japan last year, it was quite dif­fi­cult to find food that didn’t have fish in it in some form or another. So it might sur­prise you to know that in the heart of Lon­don, near King’s Cross tube sta­tion there exists a Japan­ese restau­rant that is com­pletely organic and vegan!

Itadaki Zen  even sources its veg­eta­bles from its own organic farm just out­side of Lon­don. We went there on a Fri­day evening when the city was really buzzing. After being seated, I was delighted to read their mis­sion state­ment as a vegan organic restau­rant on the first page of their menu. You can read more about their vision here.

There were many options rang­ing from tra­di­tional Japan­ese food to a few Korean options such as home­made Chap che (sweet potato glass noo­dles with veg­eta­bles and shi­take mush­rooms). I regret not order­ing it as it looked really deli­cious when I saw it come to our neigh­bour­ing table.

We ended up order­ing a num­ber of items à la carte instead of choos­ing one of their set menus (which looked tasty as well). I started off with Miso soup and we shared a salad.

Above: Tofu steaks with spe­cial sauce and salad with seaweed.

Then we ordered Tofu Steak in Yangyeom (a spe­cial home­made sauce) and assorted veg­etable and sea­weed tem­pura. We also ordered an assorted sushi plate and an udon bowl. Both were delicious.

Above: Assorted veg­etable and sea­weed tempura.

Each dish was expertly sea­soned. You could tell that they use fresh organic qual­ity ingre­di­ents. There was a beau­ti­ful sim­plic­ity to the dishes that let the ingre­di­ents speak for themselves.

Above: cucum­ber and mush­room assorted sushi

Above: Kabocha (Japan­ese pump­kin), jujube and chest­nut cake with vanilla tofu cream.

Lastly, we indulged in a dessert. Usu­ally, I don’t get dessert at Japan­ese restau­rants, but the Itadaki Zen muf­fin descrip­tion looked too good. I’m so glad we got it. It was del­i­cate and divine. The pump­kin cake was won­der­ful, not overly sweet which I appre­ci­ate, and the tofu vanilla cream was the per­fect accompaniment.

All in all, Itadaki Zen is a must for any veg­head in Lon­don. Read more of their menu here. The ambi­ence was lovely, the ser­vice was great and the food was top notch.

Oy Vegan!

Itadaki Zen is located at 139 King’s cross Road, London

Hours: Mon-Thu 18:00-22:00/ Fri,Sat 18:00–22:30

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Oy Vegan takes London! Restaurant Review: Inspiral

Who knew Lon­don had so many scrump­tious vegan estab­lish­ments? Actu­ally, I had an inkling. I mean, the term “vegan” was coined there after all.

So for all you veg­gie jet set­ters, I want to share some of my expe­ri­ences and reviews of the hottest veg­gie spots in Lon­don. Watch out for Ams­ter­dam restau­rant reviews com­ing soon!

After a short overnight flight across the pond, I was ready to eat some­thing fresh and healthy. Luck­ily, my boyfriend was already in Eng­land and was ready to eat! After drop­ping off my bags, we walked down Haver­stock Hill to Cam­den Town to a lovely vegan café called Inspi­ral.

Here you can choose from their hot food bar and fill up a small (£3.95), medium (£5.95), or large bowl (£7.45). The bar boasts dishes rang­ing from bean sal­ads, daal, and roasted parsnips, to scram­bled tofu, roasted mush­rooms, and quinoa. They also have cold sal­ads, and var­i­ous main dishes that you can choose from. I opted for the Spelt Crusted Chunky Veg­etable Rata­touille upon rec­om­men­da­tion of the girl behind the counter with Amy Winehouse-esqe black cat eyeliner.

Above: Spelt Crusted Chunky Veg­etable Rata­touille, steamed greens, mush­rooms, bean salad and vegan gar­lic mayo.

We set­tled down to eat at a table over­look­ing the river and Cam­den mar­ket. The food was flavour­ful and fresh. A relief and a com­fort after a day of trav­el­ling! They also offer a gen­er­ous dol­lop of their home­made vegan mayo on the side for dip­ping pur­poses. I chose the gar­lic mayo. It was light, fluffy and delicious.

They also sell pre-packaged foods such as assorted tasty flavours of kale chips. Inspi­ral was a great vegan din­ing expe­ri­ence and very well priced for Lon­don. Need­less to say, we came back to eat here a few more times before leav­ing for Holland.

Oy vegan!

Inspi­ral is located at 250 Cam­den High St, London

Hours: Mon­day to Thurs­day 9:00 — 22:00/ Fri­day — Sat­ur­day 9:00 — 2:00 (late)/ Sun­day 9:00 — 23:30

near­est tube: Cam­den Town

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