Posts for the 'Vegetarian' Category


Grain Store

Grain Store is the latest restaurant by French born chef Bruno Loubet who brought us the successful Bistrot Bruno Loubet in Clerkenwell, a restaurant that celebrates modern French bistro classics. But the emphasis at Grain Store is different with a strong focus on earthy seasonal vegetables. Although it makes good use of meat and seafood there are also lots of lovely vegetarian options. Grain Store is not a vegetarian restaurant, but a vegetarian would definitely not go hungry here. The menu is vibrant and interesting and tells a tale of seasonality and refreshing earthiness.

Grain Store occupies a massive space in a former warehouse in Granary Square, right next to Caravan. It’s an inviting restaurant with the décor being as engaging as the menu. There’s an open kitchen, white woodwork, whitewashed brick walls and quirky touches that make the restaurant interesting. There was also a good cocktail selection and we thoroughly enjoyed the Babydoll (£8.50) with rum, rhubarb syrup, orgeat, violet essence, lemon juice and egg white as it was delicious.

A light pea mousse tartlet (£9) was gorgeous as the pastry was crispy and thin and the pea mousse filling was as light as a feather. The tartlett would have been better warm rather than cold, but it was nevertheless delicious, especially with a topping of shaved summer truffle and parmesan.

Grain Store - Pea mousse tartlet

Pea mousse tartlet

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Skip Garden by Global Generation

Skip Garden

Skip Garden

The Skip Garden was established in 2009 by Global Generation, a charity launched in 2004 whose core purpose is to inspire and empower young people to develop a living relationship with the natural world and to take a lead in generating positive environmental and social change in their communities.

The Skip Garden is the base for the Global Generation’s youth work programme and is located within the King’s Cross development site. It is a portable urban garden where a variety of organic vegetables, herbs and fruits are grown out of both skips and polytunnels made out of reused materials from the surrounding construction site. It is at the garden that the young people are trained in leadership and accredited vocational business and horticultural programmes, whether it be working on the garden or building furniture.

One of the skips in the Skip Garden

One of the skips in the Skip Garden

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Amico Bio

It’s not often that I blog about vegetarian restaurants. But the concept of Amico Bio is rather unique and seemed worthy of a visit. Not only is Amico Bio vegetarian, it is an Organic Italian vegetarian restaurant. Head Chef and owner is Pasquale Amico who trained with the likes of Gary Rhodes, Bruno Loubet and Giorgio Locatelli. Prior to Amico Bio he also owned the successful Via Condotti on Conduit Street which held a Bib Gourmand.

There are two Amico Bio outlets in London – one in Holborn and one in Barbican. There’s also a third restaurant in Naples, Italy. The menu contains a range of starters, antipastas, pastas and main courses with vegan options and gluten free pasta. Amico Bio uses ingredients from Pasquale’s family farm in Capua, Italy, and given the efforts to bring the produce over from Italy (organic no less), its surprising how reasonably priced the menu is. Amico Bio sings of heartfelt, green, healthy cooking.

We started with a lovely roulade of potato and mushrooms with aubergine caponata and roast pepper sauce (£7) which was nicely done. The mushrooms were delicious with an excellent texture and well placed alongside the potatoes. The caponata and pepper sauce worked well with the roulade.

Amico Bio - Roulade of potato & mushrooms

Roulade of potato & mushrooms

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Ottolenghi – Islington

I can never resist the patisserie delights at Ottolenghi. Whenever I walk past the branch on Ledbury Road in Notting Hill, I invariably end up gazing longingly through its shop window at all the treats on display and walking away with one a few minutes later. But Ottolenghi does much more than the sweet stuff. There is also a savoury selection at the display counter, and at the Islington branch (there are also branches in Kensington and Belgravia), there is a laid-back communal dining area, furnished in white, where you can choose from a menu (Islington is the only branch to offer this serviced dine-in area).

This menu is updated daily, and is split between dishes from the display counter and those ‘from the kitchen’. The dishes are all starter-sized, and so Ottolenghi recommends that you order three dishes per person. There were 15 choices on the menu on the evening of our visit (the menu is updated daily), and as there were 5 of us, K came up with the excellent idea of ordering all 15 dishes for us to share. I love to share! And I love to taste lots of little things, so this was ideal for me.

Left in a clockwise direction: tuna, pear, pumpkin, beef, aubergine

Left in a clockwise direction: tuna, pear, pumpkin, beef, aubergine

We started with the dishes from the counter selection. A line-caught seared tuna (£8.80) wrapped in nori (seaweed) and panko (breadcrumbs) was resoundingly fresh, and given a burst of life from the gentle heat of an accompanying wasabi cream.

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Vanilla Black

Bubble and squeak cakes

Bubble and squeak cakes

I am not a vegetarian (obviously), but it wouldn’t do not to try a vegetarian restaurant now and then. I have many vegetarian friends and they always lament the lack of good vegetarian restaurants around the shop. Moreover, they lament the lack of vegetarian options in most restaurants, which usually limit their choices to pasta or risotto.

So Vanilla Black, which has been on my hit list for a while now, seemed to be an interesting choice for my first veggie write-up. All the more so when you consider that their approach to vegetarian food, as explained on their website, “is not that of vegetarian in the traditional sense, but rather a passion for meeting the challenge of cooking without meat or fish”. So I went along to Vanilla Black with some veggie and non-veggie friends to test how well they would meet this challenge.

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