Though I’m not a vegetarian I tend to prefer dishes that don’t include meat so I was delighted to be taken to Vanilla Black for Valentine’s Day, a Michelin recommended vegetarian restaurant near Chancery Lane.
This restaurant is seriously well hidden – despite using my iPhone and following Google maps we ended up going in a big circle and taking multiple wrong turns so we turned up a little late for our booking. We were warmly welcomed though when we finally arrived and given a choice of tables. This place is sophisticated but understated class, with stylish yet muted décor and romantic low lighting.
We were given a glass of champagne as we were seated which was the perfect start to our meal which we enjoyed as we perused the menu. Everything sounded lovely but I finally decided on the apple and celeriac soup with grilled squash and bay leaf cream to start while my date chose the roasted onion curds with fried sage bread, red cabbage cracker and brown buttered chestnuts – both were absolutely delicious. To follow, I chose the goats cheese and toasted cauliflower mille feuille with golden raisin, cashew nut potato and tamarind paste while my date went for the poached organic hen egg and Ribblesdale pudding with hickory smoke potato croquette and pineapple pickle. The flavours worked together perfectly in both dishes – the food really was exciting, creative and not to mention beautifully presented. It was much more filling than we ever would have expected so we had to pause before moving onto desert. But not wanting to miss out, I eventually chose the smoked paprika fudge, malt loaf and builder’s tea ice cream while my date decided on the liquid doughnut and warm espresso gel with milk parfait, yeast sugar and coffee crumbs. Too tasty, we couldn’t resist eating every last bit which left us feeling totally stuffed.
This upmarket vegetarian restaurant was a real treat, offering top quality food with an original twist combined with attentive service throughout. It truly challenges the misconception that vegetarian food can’t fill you up or be as delicious as a dish containing meat. My date was especially sceptical about this restaurant, convinced that vegetarian food would never satisfy him and we’d have to pick up a Big Mac on the way home but by the time we left he was a true convert, agreeing that this was one of the best meals out he’d had in months.