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|Address:||17-18 Tooks Court, London EC4A 1LB|
|Tel:||020 7242 2622|
|Price: £48.00||Wine: £18.00||Champagne: £42.50|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Fri 12N-2.30pm Mon-Sat 6-10pm|
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
I openly confess to being of the school of thought that there is nothing wrong with a vegetarian meal that a slab of bacon cannot cure. Vanilla Black, however, needs nothing of the sort: the food is creative, light and full of flavour. OK, not everything works (pickled pineapple with the Ribblesdale pudding), but the fact that it doesn’t work is nothing to do with the fact that it is vegetarian, more to do with the fact that some thing will never work, even with addition of a slab of bacon.
Not actually being vegetarian, I can’t really say whether there are better places in London to go for the non meat option. Eat and Two Veg is long gone, and the only other vegetarian restaurants that I am acquainted with are some of the odder ones on Brick Lane, where BYO lager is as important as the flavour of the food (in some, more so).
At Vanilla Black the dishes, whilst delicate, are flavoursome and perfectly filling. The combination of flavours, the picture painted on the plate, everything about the food is extremely good. Not so good that I will forego the pleasures of a crusty bacon roll, botulism bap or sphincter releasing doner, but good nonetheless.
The room is the least interesting part of the place: it is dull when it should be light. Claustrophobic when it should be airy. In other words, it doesn’t match the food. It seems as if the restaurant itself and the food on the plate belong to different places, which is a shame, as you can just imagine what the immediate reaction of an already sceptical omnivore on walking in is going to be: “looks dull, just what I bet the food will be like”. And it is quiet. I’ve been there for lunch a couple of times, and it is never more than half full, and always hushed.
This is such a shame, as not only is the food of a high standard, but the set lunch is astonishingly good value and is perfect for a light lunch: two courses, with no need to worry about the arteries or getting it through expenses.
Having been with both veggies and omnis, I shall continue to go back with both: the former to show them the best place I’ve so far found for them to eat, the latter to rid them of prejudices about those unfortunate enough not to eat meat.