Just the prospect of four days in London got my taste buds all worked up in anticipation for another big city’s intentional vegetarian cuisine.
Of the five restaurants we ate at, and I’ll review them all, these first two left us roller coasting on some highs and lows. Here’s why…
Manna restaurant is a small 100% vegan restaurant. Impressively tightly packed for a Wednesday night did however present some serving difficulties. The first of which was not having enough menus to put in front of inquisitive, hungry patrons.
So instead of savouring our first 15 minutes scanning through our food choices, I was unfortunately positioned, that I looked onto a woman wearing an animal fur ‘scarf’ (the pelt of torso, tail and limbs). At her feet lay a shaggy bag closely resembling or, perhaps more accurately, being the wooly remains of a sheep. In a vegan restaurant, seriously?
I soon came to understand (unintentionally, but nevertheless easily overhearing her conversations) that she come into this vegan hub of culinary compassion without a shred of related awareness. Her male friend seemed keen to share his healthful knowledge, so perhaps the first seeds were then planted.
Talking of seeds, the black sesame seeds sprinkled over this ‘more-ish’ starter could certainly be cause for an unattractive smile, post meal, (dental floss essential) but worth the chance nevertheless.
The starters were super, the mains a little forgettable and the deserts diabolically divine, specifically the Sticky Toffee Pudding.
Our next fully vegan choice was Saf restaurant & bar. Positioned above the impressively well-stocked Whole Foods Market in Kensington, this open kitchen styled restaurant hugged the building’s periphery, as did a whole host of other eateries.
The convenience of shopping post meal was the highlight of our experience. Which says little of the Saf experience. From an uninterested waitress to some peculiar combinations, the burger a case in point, left us all underwhelmed.
If I were to have visited all the other plant-based restaurants in London, only then would I return to Manna & Saf. Gladly so.
But it was time to keep searching for a London vegan restaurant that could dish up on consistently tasty choices, through all courses, offered by friendly, knowledgeable service staff, with an authentic ambiance. Had New York’s vegan restaurants spoilt me with their superb delivery?