When vegan food is compared, like-for-like, to its meat and dairy-based counterparts, it can get a bad rep. But really, vegan fare should be considered as a cuisine in its own right, which is exactly what Mallow has set out to do. The Borough Market opening comes from the team behind cult veggie restaurant Mildreds - big shoes and all that - so does the food live up to its credentials?
We were led upstairs to the Floret dining room, where walls are decorated with sweeping floral murals and warm, globe-like lampshades hang from the ceiling. The giant pink painted flowers weren’t really to our taste, but they had managed to achieve a calm and cosy vibe via mellow lighting and fake foliage, which we appreciated.
The menu comprises small and large plates that are designed to be shared. For those who balk at the words ‘sharing menu’, Mallow have artfully designed each plate to be easily split down the middle, offering generous portions for a pleasingly reasonable price. We kicked off with a caramelised wedge of hispi cabbage, which was smoky, laced with heat and bejewelled with tahini, chilli bean oil and clusters of candied seeds. While three plump mushroom croquettes were gorgeously rich and, although paired with leeks and aioli, could have easily stood alone on the plate.
The menu transports you all over the world with its flavours, which we did via mushroom tacos and a squash lattice with gravy. The tacos took the top spot for us, where two homemade flatbreads were topped with meaty padron oyster mushrooms, sweet pineapple chunks and a nutty mole. It was back to blighty with dessert - a carrot cake sticky toffee pudding with ‘cream cheese’ mousse – that delivered all the sticky sweetness it needed to. A glass of merlot from its low-intervention wine list paired nicely.
We’d go back to Mallow in a heartbeat. The restaurant was packed and buzzing, the staff relaxed and the vibe sophisticated but easy.