Friday, July 18, 2008

Vanilla Black, London

17- 18 Tooks Court
London EC4A 1LB Map

Vanilla Black used to be in York and on my visits to the city I never managed to get a table as it was always full. It always got good reviews and the menu always looked fantastic. When they announced that they were moving down to London, I was excited.

The restaurant itself is a five minute walk from Chancery Lane tube and looks quite unassuming from the outside. Inside, it is nicely and professionally laid out with white-clothed tables all perfectly set.

We were given a very friendly welcome and were shown to our choice of table. We were given the menus and wine list. Some nice home-made rolls were brought to the table along with a couple of small pats of butter, one saffron and one salt.

Vanilla Black is totally vegetarian, but its not your "nuts and lentils" place, this is vegetarian fine dining with a very imaginative menu.

Shortly after ordering, the waitress turned up with an "amuse bouche" of some small choux-pastry rolls stuffed with olive paste and topped with yoghurt. They looked like small chocolate eclairs and tasted great.

Then came the starters. My starter was chosen for me by "The Rules". It was a Cep Creme Brulee. On the scale, due to the consistency of the custard, thickness of the sugar etc it rates a 7.5. However, I still can't quite decide if it worked or not. The Cep custard was lovely. It had a really strong mushroom flavour and was very smooth. Did it go with the caramelised sugar? Not sure. Let me know what you think if you go there and its on the menu.

For main course, I had Poached Duck Egg and Duckette Cairphilly Pudding. The pudding was like a cheese souffle and the egg, just runny enough without being too runny, was perched on top. Accompanying this was a hickory smoked potato croquette along with some pineapple pickle which, when eaten together were divine.

My fellow diner had Mushroom Duxelle Torte with Parsley Custard which I had a mouthful of. There was definitely a taste of truffle in there and it was really nice, but slightly dry. With a sauce of some sort, it would have been perfect.

For dessert I had Brandied Apple and Crumble Shortbread which was very thinly sliced apple steeped in brandy topped with shortbread and ice cream. It sounds great doesn't it? It was...

I also had a taste of Fig Roll and Black Tea Syrup which was also very nice. But the highlight of that dish was the Iced Milk that accompanied it.

It's great to see that more vegetarian restaurants are serving this kind of imaginative, well-presented fare these days. One of the nicest things about Vanilla Black though, is the price. For two courses, no matter what you have, it's £24. For three courses, it's £30, which is pretty good for food of this standard in a London restaurant.

On the way home, my fellow diner who isn't veggie like myself, mentioned that he'd quite to visit it again as some of the other dishes on the menu sounded great. That has to be a great recommendation for Vanilla Black, and I totally agree with him.


shiveringgoat said...

Superb Gaz! I had this place on my list to go viit will def give it a try....:)

shiveringgoat said...

Just around the corner from here is an amazing sushi restaurant called Matsuri - the vegetarian sushi boat at £19 is a killer - nest sushi I ever had....