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Tao in London

In London on Saturday, post science museum and and pre-cocktails then theatre, I went to Tao with my parents. This little vegan buffet restaurant is really close to Piccadily Circus tube station.

I’m really not an all-you-can-eat buffet kind of person. At all. But we were really close to it and it was 100% vegan, and the food looked pretty good. So we gave it a go.

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Buffet food was a good choice because not only did it mean we were sure we’d have plenty of time before the Theatre, but the price of the food meant we could afford to buy the cocktails we had in a bar round the corner afterwards 🙂

Tao doesn’t have an alcohol licence, so it is soft drinks all the way. No problem for me (since I’d had a big ol’ cider beforehand!) and the green tea had free refills so I was pretty happy.

There’s a big selection of hot and cold food, and fruit for dessert. You can also order fritters separately (apple, banana or pineapple) but these cost extra on top of the buffet price (the buffet is £6.90 per person).

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The food included quite a bit of “fake meat” type stuff (I think it was seitan), which was pretty interesting and varied in terms of how nice it was. Luckily my parents are nice and open-minded, but I think if you brought some omnivores here they’d be a bit upset by that stuff!

I had two plates of food, and had a selection of cold and hot on both.

Plate 1:

Loads of fresh veggies, lovely spring rolls, and about 4 different "fake meats" on this plate!

Loads of fresh veggies, lovely spring rolls, and about 4 different “fake meats” on this plate!

Plate 2:

The hot noodles were pretty good, and it was a nice treat to have prawn crackers (even if they could have done with being a little crunchier). Roast potatoes were a little random!

The hot noodles were pretty good, and it was a nice treat to have prawn crackers (even if they could have done with being a little crunchier). Roast potatoes were a little random!

Afterwards we shared some fritters – I just had one banana one. It was ok but I think I was pretty full from my main so couldn’t really enjoy it.

So, I think I would go here again, if I was in the area and didn’t have much time/money. It was a nice speedy cheap way to eat, but a very different experience to my usual London vegan eating.

Read Happy Cow reviews here

40 Great Windmill Street,

London,

W1D 7LY

Open Mon-Sun 11am-11pm

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Amico Bio in London

Yet another lovely evening in London (previous one here); veggie food followed by We Were Evergreen. The gig was in Shoreditch so I looked on Happy Cow to find somewhere in the area to eat beforehand, and found Amico Bio (near Barbican tube station). I don’t think I’ve ever been to a vegetarian Italian restaurant before, so I was quite excited 🙂

While we wait for our mains, we had some olives. And I’m honestly not exaggerating when I say that those green olives below were absolutely the very best olives I have ever eaten in my life.

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For my main I had a dish with tempeh and roasted veggies. You don’t see tempeh on menus in restaurants often (or in many shops) so I wanted to give it a try…

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Unfortunately I wasn’t wowed by this. It was ok, it just generally didn’t have much exciting flavour – I felt a bit like I could have made it myself at home, pretty easily. It was nice but just not very special.

My friend Esther had the tempura for her main:

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I think when I saw tempurah on the menu I assumed it would have something with it…but this was just a giant pile of tempurah. Now I’m sure that’s great if you’re the world’s biggest tempura fan but for most people I think this would just be too much fried veg on a plate.

I asked Esther for her thoughts on the restaurant and she said: “Friendly and attentive staff, cosy atmosphere, great prices, nicely presented. If you want to eat your weight in tempura this is for you. Tempura done to perfection but left feeling I’ve had my life’s quota of it, and still feeling that way the next day. Other dishes looked nice but somehow felt lacking in variety”.

I wish that I’d got something off the menu with seitan in it – there were a couple of things and I wonder what they would have been like. I think I’d probably give this place another chance at some point, I just wasn’t overly impressed with the food. But the place itself was nice and cosy, and the staff were really friendly. And let’s not forget the olives. Best olives ever.

And here’s a pic of the best part of the night…love them 🙂

WWE

See Happycow reviews here

Website

44 Cloth Fair

London

EC1A 7JQ

Tel: 020 7600 7778

Opening Times

  • Monday to Friday 12:00 to 10:30pm
  • Saturday 5:00pm to 10:30pm
  • Sunday and Bank Holiday closed

Exciting new soya milk

I went to Tesco last week and in the UHT milk section there was an array of new soya milks I’d never seen before. And they were on offer too – £1 each.

vivesoy

I got the cappuccino one and tried it last night.

vive soy cap

Oh my. This was delicious. I poured it into a mug and tried a bit, before putting it in the microwave (just incase it was gross – it would have been a shame to warm it, wait for it to be cool enough to drink, only to find it was undrinkable), and I’m sure it would be lovely cold in the summer with some ice. It’s very sweet, but such a delicious taste! I warmed it for 2 mins and then drank it. Yum.

The main differences I can see between vive soy and alpro soya are that alpro adds B12 (which I like – it’s good to know that gets topped up if I’ve not had marmite), but vive soy has a vastly higher percentage of soya beans in the milk (around 13% compared to alpro’s 6.5%).

Mango Restaurant in Wetherby

I drove up to see my wonderful parents a couple of weeks ago, and they met me in Wetherby on my way up on friday night, to break up my journey. This is the second time we’ve done this, and as we did last time we ate at Mango Restaurant. And it was delicious, again. And this time I took photos…

Click here to see the menu.

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For my starter I had the dhokra, which was amazing. And so different and interesting!

Dhokra - A steamed delicacy made with gram flour, tempered with mustard and sesame seeds and then garnished with coriander leaves, curry leaves and coconut flakes

Dhokra – A steamed delicacy made with gram flour, tempered with mustard and sesame seeds and then garnished with coriander leaves, curry leaves and coconut flakes

My main was the mysore masala dosa – it was really good.

Mysore Masala Dosa - An array of mixed vegetables with onion and garlic sauteed down on a karahl (hot iron plate), then stuffed into a south indian dosa

Mysore Masala Dosa – An array of mixed vegetables with onion and garlic sauteed down on a karahl (hot iron plate), then stuffed into a south indian dosa

We had a peshawari naan bread to share – this was probably the sweetest naan bread I’ve ever eaten! But it was absolutely delicious. I had it after I’d eaten my main and so it was a little bit like I treated it as dessert!

Peshawari Naan - a sweet naan bread stuffed with sweetened coconut, sultanas, saffron and cardamom

Peshawari Naan – a sweet naan bread stuffed with sweetened coconut, sultanas, saffron and cardamom

The restaurant has a lovely feel – it’s family run and everyone’s really friendly.

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Since I went with my parents I asked them for reviews. I can’t remember my Mum’s exact words but it was something to the effect of “this isn’t about ‘going for a curry’ it’s about really amazing food” (feel free to comment and correct me, Ma!) and my Dad simply said “bloody lovely” – I think the combo of the two reviews pretty much sums it up! 🙂 We will definitely be going again!

Read happycow reviews here

Opening hours:

  • Café Mon-Sat 9:30am-4:30pm
  • Restaurant Tues-Sat 6pm-11:30pm

12-14 Bank Street

Wetherby

Leeds

LS22 6NQ

01937 58 57 55

Website

Banana choc chip cake

I don’t know if I have ever made banana cake before, but since there were some sad (and I mean SAD) looking bananas in the kitchen, I decided to give it a try. I looked at a few recipes online and came up with this (adding chocolate chips was my own rather brilliant idea. I know, I’m modest.). It came out really well 🙂 and it was super quick and easy to make.

Preheat oven to 175 oC

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup soya milk
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup oil (rapeseed or other mild flavoured vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup demerara sugar
  • 2 small very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (or more) vegan chocolate chips (I used waitrose dark chocolate chunks)
  1. Mix together the soya milk and vinegar and set aside
  2. In a blender, or with a handheld blender, whizz up the bananas, oil and sugar
  3. Mix dry ingredients together (flours, baking powder and soda, salt)
  4. Put the milk mixture in with the blended banana mixture and whizz a bit more
  5. Mix the wet into the dry
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips
  7. Pour into a baking tin
  8. Bake for 25-30 mins, until a skewer jabbed in the middle comes out clean
  9. Leave to cool
  10. Dust with icing sugar, if you can be bothered
  11. Cut
  12. Eat

Yes I made a heart shaped cake

Yum

InSpiral in London

I was in London last week to go to a gig at the Jazz Cafe in Camden (wonderful group called We Were Evergreen – I’d highly recommend them), and there was a bit of time beforehand so we went for some food. I wasn’t massively hungry since I’d eaten out at lunchtime but I knew that InSpiral was close by and I knew it was vegan or vegetarian. On close inspection of their website it seems they are vegan apart from the cow’s milk they have as an option for drinks.

When we got there I really wished I hadn’t eaten out at lunchtime! The range of food looked awesome. I decided on cake and a small smoothie 🙂

terrible photo! but it was delicious!

This cake was beautiful. I asked the guy who served me what he’d recommend and he said this one. Wow. And the smoothie was awesome too.

I definitely plan to go back there sometime when I am hungry! The staff were lovely and there was a lovely atmosphere, and the range of food (including lots of raw food) was great.

Here’s the useful info:

Website

250 Camden High Street

London

NW1 8QS

  • Mon – Thu: 9:00 – 22:00
  • Fri – Sat: 9:00 – 2:00 (late)
  • Sun: 9:00 – 23:30

Happy Cow reviews

222 in London

In July I went to London and had the joy of going to 222 Restaurant. I’ve been there before and it didn’t disappoint the second time.

It’s about a 5 minute walk from West Brompton tube station, and I think when I went there before (2 years ago) it was all vegan apart from offering cow’s milk as an option. Well it now looks like they are completely vegan, and the milk options are soya, rice or almond. Yay! 🙂

Here’s the menu.

For my starter I had the bean and tofu pancake:

A delicious blend of black-eyed beans and tofu wrapped in a tender wholemeal pancake topped with tomato and vegan cream sauce

My main was the chef’s salad:

Seasonal vegetables, avocado slices, asparagus, potatoes, tomatoes and marinated artichokes in an extra-virgin olive oil dressing.

This was an AMAZING salad. Really special.

And for dessert I had the apple crumble with vanilla ice cream:

The whole experience was lovely. The place is really nice, the staff are great, and the food is really amazing.

Hello random people who happen to be in my photo. You look like you’re having a lovely time.

Useful info:

Address: 222 North End Road, West Kensington, W14 9NU

(nearest tube stations are West Brompton or West Kensington)

Tel: 020 738 12322

Opening hours:

Lunch buffet 12:00-15:30
Dinner a la carte 17:30-22:30

Website: here

Happy Cow reviews