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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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