I challenge any meat obsessed person to go to this restaurant to witness some ingenious cooking `without meat`, then leave disappointed!
I have always been obsessed with eating meat and can`t actually remember a day when I haven`t had had a slice of ham at least, therefore the thought of reviewing a new vegetarian restaurant in London didn`t overly excite my taste buds. However, we arrived open minded and were greeted by Donna, the owner, and some very homely Northern English hospitality.
Vanilla Black is not a `fussy` place in terms of design, it`s spacious, well lit and a little like going back in time (in a good way) where you can leave the hustle and bustle of London behind you and relax in a pleasant environment that`s free of pompousness.
Donna and her husband (and head chef ) Andrew set Vanilla Black up in London after taking a gamble and selling their popular vegetarian restaurant in York and moving South. Vanilla Black is now the only fine dining vegetarian restaurant in the Capital and is in fact recommended in the Michelin Guide.
When you look at the menu the first time, keep an open mind and try to put the taste of meat away for the evening. We kicked off with Quails Eggs and Wensleydale Cheesecake. I kid you not, for a moment I forgot about meat and enjoyed every single mouthful. The cheesecake was absolutely inspired.
For mains we opted for the mushroom roll and Stilton terrine. Both were utterly gorgeous although we certainly debated whose was the best and ended up a draw.
By this stage we were utterly stuffed and felt unusually energised after such a big meal. The long and short of this quite incredible menu… I`m inspired to have a vegi dish or two a week. If it can taste anything like what we had then maybe more!
In terms of presentation the food is next to the best we`ve tried. In terms of pricing, this place is incredibly good value at around £30 for a three course meal. What I think really helps Vanilla Black is the owners’ attitude to entertain and try something different, typically Northern English and a very welcome change from the norm in London.
Whether you are a vegi or not please try this place, I promise you won`t leave disappointed.
Thank you Donna and Andrew for making our evening one to remember for culinary excellence.
Co-Owner & Chef – Andrew
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