Vanilla Black

WARNING: The following words are rife with vegetarianism. Carnivores, please approach with caution. If the thought of a meal void of meat or fish is disturbing, instigates rage, disapproval or depression, please click HERE.

Question 1? What is the colour of Vanilla? Blue? Red? Purple?

If you’ve answered either of the above, please see THIS.

The answer is black, the colour that THIS is written in. Somehow, the name Black Vanilla doesn’t have the same ring to it as Vanilla Black. It’s the obvious reversed, which doesn’t make it suoivbo. Nevertheless, I know I should start making sense of what I’m supposed to be talking about, so the long and short of it is that Vanilla Black is London’s latest addition to meat/fish free dining. Here’s what we encountered.

Yukon Gold Potato Cakes, smoked mayonnaise, vinegar dust, heritage potato crisps, cucumber ketchup. Best part of the meal. Delicious potato cakes – or crepe parmentier for reference points and the smoked mayo adds the element of bacon without porcine richness. The cucumber ketchup was refreshing tang, whilst the crisps added a fun ‘mock-truffle’ element to the dish.

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Salted and Ash Baked Celeriac and nutmeg yoghurt curd,  whey poached celeriac, chestnut puree, brussel sprouts. I chose this dish simply because I love celeriac and had a magical version of a celery and celeriac dish at Viajante. This however, was depressing. The ash piece was over salted, the curds were rubbery and didn’t taste of nutmeg, the whole dish was barely tepid and I lost interest after a few bites. M had a dish of Goats cheese and cauliflower millefeuille, which was equally sad – with too much goats cheese and raw cumin not being supported by other ingredients.. We wished we’d chosen some of the other dishes that were appearing on tables around us that were colourful, multi-textured and seemingly nicer.

Iced Malt and Burnt Orange Marshmallow, muscocado sugar meringue, parsnip puree. Slightly better than the main course. The malt/horlicks parfait was nice, but could have done with double strength in flavour, whereas the marshmallow was extremely poor showmanship – heavy, dense and artificial tasting and the parsnip puree was flavourless – more of a base for the parsnip crisps to stand on. M’s White Chocolate and Cep tart with Picpoul Sorbet and Tarragon was not much better – the white wine sorbet was lovely and the tarragon paste was gorgeous, but the tart was fattty, cep-less (it was brown) and pretentious.

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.We also had very poor service. It took ages for food to come, for orders to be taken and this was the case for all the tables in our section of the restaurant.

Nevertheless, there were dishes we would like to come back for and the restaurant is smart and does take vegetarianism to a new level. The ideas are definitely exciting and do challenge the boring stereotype of veggie food – we just happened to choose the least exciting option – possibly the trial options on the menu.

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Overall Experience: 7
Food: 6
Recommend you go: 6
Website
Vanilla Black on Urbanspoon
Square Meal

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