Category: Restaurants

A vegan travel post coming at you with a twist today – I’m not the one travelling! My mum and Kim have been in Tallinn, Estonia for the past few days and they have given me some insight into some vegan food they ate in the city. They were lucky enough to meet someone at the airport who told them about V Vegan! They also saw vegan options in the windows of cafes and in supermarkets as well as whole foods shops. Myself, I was pleasantly surprised to see lots of listings for Tallinn on HappyCow – I feel that you could eat really well there as a vegan!

Vegan V Restoran
Rataskaevu 12, 10130 Tallinn, Estonia

They had dinner at V Vegan which is a small rusticly decorated vegan restaurant with a cosy and warm vibe. The restaurant is situated on a cobbled street in Tallinn’s medieval old town. They both remarked on how attentive and polite the service was.

The menu at Vegan V.
(Many options are also gluten or wheat free)

If I had been there I totally would have picked the Beetroot Seitan with potato mash and wild mushroom sauce – how rich and decadent does that sound!

The Beetroot ravioli with cashew cheese and a pesto sauce and garnish of crunchy nuts.

For mains they had Spicy Tofu on quinoa and sweet potato pile with tomato and coconut sauce.

Unfortunately they were so hungry they ate it before they could take photos – but I’ll let that speak for the deliciousness! They said it was a perfect combination of textures and flavours – especially the sauces.

Baked Apple with Carrot and Ginger Ice cream

Chocolate cake with berries

How good does that cake look! My mum said it was a very chocolatey cake which was not too sweet with berries in the filling. Yum!

They have a good selection of vegan cakes – something that always gets my vote!

They both agreed that the food was delicious and they had a great dining experience at Vegan V.

You can find Vegan V online on their website here and on Facebook here

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This was my last blog post coming to you from London! This past Sunday I flew to Los Angeles to join my husband and start my new life. The blog will remain the same and I’m hoping to have more time to post – these past few weeks have been a whirlwind of packing and goodbyes with very little time for blogging! Expect more Los Angeles/USA related vegan stuff in the future!

One of the special things I’ve done during my final week was to visit Claridges for afternoon tea with my mum. We’ve also been to Fortnum and Masons for my mum’s birthday last year but we both agreed this experience was vastly superior!

There are 22 teas to choose from. I chose the Himayalan First Flush and mum had the Single Estate Afternoon Tea. You’re also able to have a glass of champagne or wine but because I don’t drink we declined to have one.

The Himayalan First Flush was delicious – a very bright and clean tasting tea which needed no sugar or milk! I definitely tasted the apricot.

One thing I really liked about how Claridges serves their tea – their teapots only hold enough water for one cup at a time. This means the tea isn’t overbrewed. The wait staff are very attentive and notice very quickly when your cup is empty – we both ended up drinking five (!!) cups of tea during our tea.

The first course was the sandwiches. For the vegan option the sandwiches are:
Mushroom with pinenuts, tomato and olive spread, cucumber and olive spread, hummus and peppers and roasted butternut squash with caramelised onions. The little one on the side was an avocado mousse on a savoury scone with crispy onions on top.

My favourite sandwiches were the mushroom and the butternut squash. I was pleasantly surprised by the tomato one – I normally hate raw tomato but this was delicious! The avocado mousse had a pretty strong lemon taste so I was glad I chose to eat it last. Of course if you wanted you could ask for as many sandwiches as you wanted!

The next two courses were served together. You can see my mum’s vegetarian option on the top in the first photo and my vegan option on the bottom of the photo.

Two vegan scones, one with fruit and one plain. The jam – called Marco Polo was incredible – spiced with tea and spices. One of the wait staff said it was made in France and they had been using it for their afternoon tea for the last eight years! It was available for sale at the end of the meal for the not-so-cheap price of sixteen pounds!
There was no cream alternative for vegans so soya spread was served alongside the jam. I wasn’t too bothered about this but I know it might be an issue for vegans looking for the authentic “clotted cream” experience.

The scones were very well baked – nice and crunchy on the outside but soft and pillowy on the inside. They are quite small but we liked that! When I asked for another scone I was brought one that had clearly just been freshly baked – it was still hot from the oven!

The dessert portion of the tea consisted of a coconut tapioca pudding with mango and kiwi, a tofu chocolate mousse, a ginger spiced brownie with fresh fruit and a chocolate.

 I started with the tapioca as I wanted something lighter after the scones. It was a nice pudding but nothing crazy. After I decided to have the tofu mousse, I figured it would have some kind of fruit inside to contrast a bit with the richness of the chocolate but it was actually just solid mousse. It was very rich tasting – a great dessert for all those tofu haters out there. After working my way through the mousse I definitely couldn’t fit in the brownie and the chocolate so I ended up asking to take them home with me. Claridges boxed up my vegan things seperate from my mum’s vegetarian desserts and I’m sure many vegans would appreciate the gesture.

When paying the bill we were both given a boxed piece of fudge – which unfortunately isn’t remotely close to being vegan. It would be great if they offered a piece of decent quality dark chocolate to their vegan diners at the end of the afternoon tea.
That however, was my only criticism! Since this was a gift I wasn’t allowed to know the price but I think we can assume it was quite a lot!

You can find Claridges at Brook St, London, W1K 4HR, online, on Twitter, Instagram and on Facebook.

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This Sunday my mum and I took a trip down to Ozone Coffee in Old Street to grab some brunch.

Being the organised vegan that I am I did some research beforehand on their website and was happy to find that they currently have three vegan friendly dishes on their brunch menu (and three on the week day menu including 2 main dishes!)

Obviously Ozone serve impeccable tasting coffee – my previous trip here was to grab a take-away soya latte and it’s definitely one of the best coffees I’ve ever had. They use Bon Soy milk which in my opinion is THE best soy milk for coffee.
However, at the moment I’m avoiding drinking soy milk on a daily basis since it seems to have the effect of turning my skin into that of my sixteen year old self. Happily though, Ozone serve The Pressery‘s almond milk (for an extra 50p).

My mum and I both had a latte (mine with the almond milk), the coffee blend at the moment being the Empire Blend with notes of dark chocolate, sweet and orange rind. We both definitely detected the dark chocolate!

To eat I chose the Turkish style scrambled tofu menemen with smokey tomato & chilli on seeded sourdough bread and a side of herbed avocado. The other vegan options included Banana & almond milk chia pudding with nectarine & popped wild rice and Bruschetta with smoked romesco, burnt cucumber, heirloom tomatoes & seeds. Obviously there is the vegan staple of chips as well!

The scrambled tofu was very delicious – not too spicy and went very well with the herbed avocado. A successful brunch. After eating we had a look in their cake case and I was so pleased to see a vegan friendly cake! A chocolate and avocado – which we obviously had to take home with us.

I’m looking forward to seeing what vegan friendly options Ozone have planned for their autumn menu but I would come back here for the coffee alone.

You can find Ozone Coffee Roasters online, on Twitter and on Instagram.

1 Leonard Street
London EC2A 4AQ

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Last week I won a Twitter competition with Equinox Kombucha – all 4 of their booch flavours, some 9bars and 2 tickets to Taste of London in Regents Park!

I took my friend Eleeshia who blogs over at Conscious Glow! We went after I finished work on Saturday, the evening session at 5:30! Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great (sooo much mud) but I was super happy to find there was lots of vegan goodies.

The restaurant options were a bit lacking – two options at Amico Bio and a possible option at Vanilla Black but I wasn’t super hungry so I wasn’t too bothered.

First we ended up at Pip & Nut! I’m a huge fan of these nut butters and I’d been searching for the crunchy maple peanut butter in vain for a little while. We had a couple of samples there! I ended up picking up two jars of the peanut butter and their plain cashew!

Thai fruit stall! They had loads of different thai fruit including rambutan, lychee, mangosteen and DURIAN! I’ve only had durian once and it was frozen with sticky rice – my husband and I shared it in California. It’s definitely an interesting fruit experience – like onions, garlic and custard. There wasn’t any samples here to try unfortunately! I did have some mangosteen and longan!

Next we headed over to Plenish to say the secret word and get our free Plenish Water! The ladies there asked us if we wanted to take a photo with their backdrop and props and we said sure! We also tried some samples of their cashew milk which was beautifully smooth!

Next we snagged some sundaes at The Coconut Collab stall! I had chocolate with strawberries and chocolate syrup! Eleeshia had mango with blueberries and granola. Delicious! Just a shame the weather didn’t quite match up.

Obviously we had to swing by the Equinox kombucha stall since they were so kind to send me the tickets! They had cocktails but I don’t drink alcohol so I just got their Wild Berry kombucha on tap! Delicious!

Juice samples at BFresh! The Strawberry Fields juice was great!

Hippeas chickpea puffs! It’s always great to check the ingredients on a packet and see “VEGAN” written on it. The Hippeas team gave us a packet each to take with us!

Everything I picked up at Taste of London! Fresh mangosteen, Plenish Water, Pip & Nut butters, Hippeas and some free basil seeds.

A pretty successful and fun evening! Thank you to Equinox Kombucha for providing the prize!

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This week I went to visit my good friend Nelly in her new home town of Hastings. We did a little bit of research on HappyCow beforehand about vegan eats and I’m happy to say there’s lots of choice!

I was only there for a day trip but scoped out a lot of potential eats for another trip. One cafe, Bullet Coffee house was only open on Saturday but looked really promising!

We ended up grabbing some lunch at Flavours of India, an Indian restaurant with tonnes of vegan options.

The thali at lunch is only £7.95 – you pick 3 dishes from the set menu and it comes with rice and bread. I had the chana masala, saag aloo and vegetarian samosa. Everything was delicious and really set us up for what ended up being a 6 mile walk around Hastings!

7 Castle Hill Road,
Hastings, East Sussex TN34 3QZ

You can find the menu for Flavours of India here.

Later on after trooping around Hastings (which is beautiful!) we stopped at Penbuckle’s Delicatessen. 

50 High Street
Hastings, TN34 3EN.

Now that I’m a coffee snob I got really excited by the big sign outside that said they served Monmouth Coffee. I wasn’t too sure if they would have soya milk but they did! Checking the cake cabinet I saw they had a vegan cake but it was all gone…so I asked if they had more. Turned out two of the flapjacks were vegan! So I ended up with a big slice of apricot flapjack. The coffee was delicious as was the flapjack.The deli has a really lovely, cosy room at the back with seating and a fire place. It was a welcome rest for us after all of our walking!

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Afternoon tea is a British institution and Fortnums does it extremely well. Imagine my delight when they did a vegan selection! They also do dairy and gluten free, gluten free and a bunch of other special diet options. It’s always great to see vegans and other special diets represented in main stream places.

I went to Fortnums with a very good friend of mine who had the classic version so you will see some of her food in the photos as well.

Dikom Golden Butterfly

I’m a bit of a tea snob and the tea menu at Fortnums is fantastically long. I went for a Single Estate Assam called Dikom Golden Butterfly. It was beautifully smooth tasting with a slight hint of caramel. I ended up drinking two teapots worth during our time in the restaurant.

Obviously, eating afternoon tea at somewhere like Fortnums is not going to be cheap (£40 for their own classic blends and £44 for a single estate tea like mine) But I’m happy to report that they will refresh any of the plates for you as many times as you like. We had extra sandwiches and scones and left feeling completely stuffed!

The Vegan afternoon tea menu

The sandwiches

 

I started with my sandwiches. The char grilled pepper with salsa verdi was easily my favourite and asked for a refresh! I’m not a huge fan of cucumber but I actually enjoyed the sandwich very much. The bread was light and fluffy and not at all dry – previously when I’ve had afternoon tea you could tell the sandwiches were not fresh due to the bread being dry.

The scones with dairy-free butter

Next the scones! Slightly warm and pillow-y soft. I’m completely aware that many people are scared of vegan baking and I was so happy to see I got scones! A lot of the time vegan baking can be dense and cake-y but these scones were super light. The dairy-free butter was great as well. I had some of the scones with Fortnums strawberry jam – which you can’t really go wrong on!

The final tier – seasonal fruits

I know many people would be unhappy with a fruit salad to top off their afternoon tea but for me it was lovely. After eating all the carbs during the rest of the tea it was great to have something light to finish on.  There was also a lot of fruit I’d never tried before like starfruit and dragon fruit. I’m not a big fan of melon usually but I really enjoyed it here and made my husband proud!

Enjoying our tea!

At the end of our tea we were offered more cake – sadly none of it was vegan but I took a slice of Victoria sandwich home for my mum. We also got to take home the jam and lemon curd.

The service throughout was impeccable, we were offered numerous refreshes on our tea and food. The only thing that bothered us was the tea room was FREEZING so we had to keep our cardigans on the whole time! I would definitely come back!

You can book afternoon tea at Fortnums online here and follow them online on Twitter @fortnums

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I’m putting these two places together because they are both in BoxPark in Shoreditch!
I’ve been wanting to go to BoxPark for ages, mostly because all the photos of the food I’ve seen from there have been jaw droppingly delicious looking.

First we stopped by Cook Daily for lunch (upstairs in BoxPark, unit 55). I had the Full English and my friend Ratha had the Rainbow. Each bowl is £8. My bowl came with a free cup of tea and Ratha got an iced pea flower tea! The pea flower tea is purple and tastes delicious! The man behind the counter also told us it was a natural anti-depressant. Our food was ready in 3 minutes – my kind of fast food!


A sign inside that made me smile!

The bowls are all posted up on the wall – you just pick the one you want! 

Full English Bowl

The Full English comes with tofu “egg”, vegan sausage, mushroom, tomatoes, spinach and homemade brown sauce on rice. It is ridiculous. Easily the best tofu scramble I’ve ever had. The portion size is great too – I was completely stuffed. I’ve never actually eaten brown sauce before but if that’s what it tastes like I’m now a convert. I can see why everyone was raving about Cook Daily. I’ve already decided I’m going back to try all the other bowls.

Ratha’s Rainbow Bowl – stir fried veggies and tofu on rice and the pea flour tea with lime!

After we stuffed ourselves at Cook Daily we went downstairs to East London Juice Co (unit 35) who I have been Instagram stalking for a while. I’m a big fan of juice and smoothies and all those magical nut milks that people make so I’m on a personal quest to go to as many London juice places as possible. I also wanted to see if they had any of their nut milks in the fridge but they only had their Killer Sunrise juice & the charcoal lemonade. I’m not a fan of pineapple so I gave it a miss!

Update!

The lovely folks at East London Juice Co recently contacted me by email to let me know that they’ve moved from Boxpark!

Their new location is at 100 Shoreditch High Street, Ace Hotel. You can find them online at www.eastlondonjuice.com

I ended up getting one of their Lux smoothies, the Chocolate Acai which was wild Balinese cacao, acai berry, date, banana, coconut, chia seeds + activated house mylk. Absolutely delicious! It was my healthy dessert after Cook Daily. East London Juice Co had a nice relaxed vibe about it that I really liked – I’ll be back – hopefully to get some of their nut milk and bottled juice!

You can find Boxpark at
2-10 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6GY

Find Cook Daily online
@kingcookdaily on Instagram

Find East London Juice Co
@eastlondonjuiceco on Instagram

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Most of my family is from Oxfordshire but the last time I went to Oxford was a good ten or even more years ago. Obviously, at that point I wasn’t a vegan. I spent the day there today and only ate once but I loved the food so much I wanted to write a short post here.

I’m also really happy to say that I found this place using Google maps and didn’t have to use HappyCow! It ended up being about a 10 minute walk from the Ashmolean Museum! I don’t drink but they also have vegan alcohol on offer.

The Gardeners Arms

39 Plantation Road, Oxford, OX2 6JE
Find them online here
O
n Twitter @gardenersarms

The Gardeners Arms is a vegetarian and vegan pub! It’s on a delightful little side street and full of that English pub charm.

 I went for the Medley Mushroom Pie but switched out the Italian style potatoes for chips because I was craving them! Happy to see it came with some substantial vegetables and not a sad bit of iceberg lettuce.The mushroom pie was rich with gravy and I was glad to see lots of different mushrooms in the sauce (continuing my quest this year to eat lots of different varieties of mushrooms!) The meal really hit the spot and gave me the fuel for the almost 9 miles of walking I did around Oxford during the day!

Whilst I was in the pub some other people on a different table ordered burgers and they looked INSANE.There was a vegan sticky toffee pudding that I was VERY tempted by but we wanted to get moving on so I will have to go back for that sometime!

I’m always so encouraged to find food that is cooked by people who have considered the needs of vegetarians and vegans. We like to go to pubs too! The Gardeners Arms is ticking all the boxes. Next time I’m visiting family I may have to make a detour.

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If you’re also a vegan or even just someone with special dietary needs going out to a high street chain restaurant can be a total pain in the back side.

One thing I’m always on the look out for is whether dishes can be veganised at restaurants. I’m always reading those nutritional info PDFs. A lot of the time there’s only one thing to eat and it’s usually chips or potatoes. Sometimes restaurants can totally surprise me and  have a special separate menu for vegans!

Carluccio’s was one of those restaurants! (They also have a separate gluten-free menu)

The vegan menu. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were multiple starters and side dishes available. Obviously there’s only one main course – the spaghetti – however, in a restaurant that’s basically a homage to the cheese, meat rich Italian cuisine I wasn’t too surprised.

For my starter I had Caponata, a Sicilian sweet and sour aubergine stew served with grilled focaccia. The stew had an incredibly rich tomato taste, dotted with pine nuts. Sometimes aubergine can be tough and chewy but this was melt in the mouth soft. I loved this dish!

For my main I had the only main dish available – the Spaghetti Al Pomodoro e Basilico. Spaghetti with tomato and basil for us non-Italians. This dish was inoffensive but there’s not too much you can say about pasta with tomato sauce. After I was brought this dish the waitress offered me parmesan cheese, assuring me it was “vegetarian!” which I politely declined. Slightly awkward.

For my side dish I had Verdura Fritta which was courgette, peppers and aubergine in a crispy batter. Think Italian tempura. I really liked the fritta, it was crispy and salty.

Overall my experience was positive. I only have one vegan friend and frequently go out with people who don’t have dietary requirements. Having a mainstream restaurant where everyone can eat what they want is great!

You can find Carluccio’s online here and on Twitter here

I visited the Muswell Hill branch. 

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I was invited along with my friend Eleeshia to a vegan bloggers dinner by Millie from La Belle Assiette. The premise of La Belle Assiette is simple – you choose and book a chef, they come to your house, work their chef magic for you and then clear up and disappear! To me it sounded like a really great way to relax during a dinner party. For someone with a vegan or plant based diet it would be a godsend – I often think there’s a need to prove to others that vegan food can be delicious and sometimes after work you really do not want to put the effort in. For more information on La Belle Assiette you can go here.

Our location for the dinner was a flat in Hoxton, in a sort of industrial looking, behind the train tracks area. When we arrived there was a little rave with a bonfire going on next door, so Hoxton chic! Thank you to Jerome for allowing us into your home!

Our chef was the lovely Rowena Humphreys. Before we were served an amouse bouche she explained to us when she became a vegan, her influences in food and what she was going to be serving us! Later on I got to chat with Rowena properly and she’s lovely – she runs a stall at Alexandra Palace market which I am going to go feast at soon. If you want more information on Rowena, you can find her Facebook page here.

Our first course was an amuse bouche called Rowena’s Surprise! It was grapes in a cashew coconut cream cheese covered in nuts. I’ve made a lot of cashew cheese before but never thought of adding coconut to it. It made it a lot sweeter and creamier and I think it went so well with the grape!

For our starter we had a Chanterelle ceviche served with a pineapple and avocado salsa. Since my husband and I found the morel mushrooms in Yosemite I’ve been on a personal quest to try any kind of unusual mushroom I can. I’ve managed oysters, enoki, shiitake and most recently chicken of the woods so I was so pleased to see this on the menu! Rowena had marinated them in citrus juice and with the pineapple avocado salsa (which tasted like a green smoothie!) it was delicious! I don’t normally enjoy pineapple so when I whatsapped my husband to tell him I had had pineapple he was really pleased, haha! Definitely going chanterelle hunting soon!

For the main dish Rowena served us Involtini di melanzane with salsa verde. A mandolined aubergine stuffed with cauliflower rice (what a great idea!), roasted asparagus, sultanas and other goodies. It was completely delicious. As someone who has used their mandolin about 3 times since using it I’ll definitely be getting it out some more now.

Finally for dessert Rowena served us a Coconut Cream Tiramisu. I only recently got into coffee and I can tell you it turns me into She-Hulk. Thankfully the coffee here wasn’t overpowering at all. The coconut cream was super light and fluffy and Rowena had told us earlier that she had made the ladyfinger biscuits herself. As someone who was a former dairy milk lover it was really refreshing to get a really creamy vegan dessert. The tiramisu was probably my favourite dish of the evening.

Overall my experience was great! I really liked the casual feel of the dinner and enjoyed getting to chat to some fellow vegan bloggers. A lot of the time blogging can feel quite lonely and I think a lot of us put pressure on ourselves to constantly be creating and putting stuff out there. It was nice for once not to be the one cooking!

You can read more about Rowena on her La Belle Assiette page here.

A big thank you to Millie for inviting us along to share in the delicious food and a huge thank you to Rowena for sharing your passion for vegan cooking with us!

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