17-18 Tooks Court, London, EC4A 1LB
After hearing a friend of mine who is not vegetarian rave about Vanilla Black, I put it down on my ever-growing list of must-visit restaurants.
Taking vegetarian cuisine to new heights, Michelin-recommended Vanilla Black moved from York to London four year ago, and has been wowing diners ever since. I was lucky enough to find out why on a recent visit there with a friend.
We were greeted very warmly and led through the beautiful art-deco inspired interior to a table in a quiet corner with very soft music playing in the background. Watching the waitresses serving stunning food dish after dish, we knew we were in for a real treat.
There are two menus to choose from at Vanilla Black; a vegetarian one and a vegan one. Whilst the vegetarian menu offers six choices of starter and six of main course, the vegan menu has two options for each course.
We began with a starter of Soya Curd, Beetroot and Nasturtium Leaves, which was delightfully fresh and full of flavour. For the main course, I had the Seared Cauliflower with Golden Raisin and Cashew Nut Potato, served with Cumin Crisps and Tamarind Paste. The dish looked like a work of art and the spices were balanced to perfection. My friend ordered the Truffled Mushrooms and Rosemary Scone, served with Braised Fennel, Mushy Peas and Horseradish. I had a little taste just to check I wasn’t missing out. It was just as delicious as my dish.
Each dish was so intricate that we has to ask our waitress to remind us of all of the components before we started eating each course! To finish we shared a Peanut Butter Cheesecake and Cracked Cocoa Bean, served with Caramelised Banana Purée. Quite simply it was one of the best desserts I have ever eaten.
So much care and craftsmanship had gone in to creating each dish, we certainly didn’t feel, as vegans, that we were missing out in any way. On the contrary, we were spoiled with an array of sensational dishes and very attentive service. As we got up to leave I overheard someone saying ‘it’s like the Fat Duck, but for vegetarians’. One cannot help but be wowed by the attention to detail and the determination to push the boundaries and confound expectations of vegetarian and vegan cuisine.
The two course option is £28.00 per person, or you can opt for three courses for £38.00.
Classy, cosy, and serving exquisitely presented dishes, Vanilla Black is a delightful special occasion treat for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.
Review by Lara Smallman
Images by Kim Lightbody