Shahee Bhelpoori- Pure Vegetarian Indian in Norbury

Official website: http://www.shaheebhelpoori.com

Train station: Norbury

I had been meaning to go to this place for ages and have a friend who lives around the corner, so finally made it on Friday night. The menu was extensive and had marked any items that were or could be made vegan (although I didn’t quite trust some of the labelling, as I did spot a paneer dish with the blue vegan star next to it)

We started with poppadums and some of the best lime pickle I’ve ever had. Then came samosas- 3 each apparently! But they were so nice we each ate all 3- crispy, freshly fried pastry with plenty of filling and, strangely ketchup on the side, which we both ignored…

For mains we each had a Thali. I requested the Vegan Thali of the day (£7.95- Bargain!!!) : A big portion of rice in the middle with 4 small curries around the outside, my favourite ones being the shredded potato and a tomatoey chickpea curry. It was all quite mild but perfect for me! There was also a paratha bread on the side, which I wasn’t familiar with but seems to be similar to a croissant in texture (with layers) and clearly plenty of fat in it- but delicious!!!!

My friend, who is not a vegan but loves vegetarian food, went for the Shahee Thali which included some deep fried pakoras, a nice soupy dall, poori and a strange deep fried syrupy cake.

As vegan desserts were available, even though I was stuffed I couldn’t resist ordering some vegan ice cream, which I suspect was Swedish Glace Neapolitan, as I got a scoop each of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. Very nice though!! And then some black massala tea.

Service was very friendly and attentive, food was tasty and very reasonably priced and the atmosphere was relaxed, so we stayed for a few hours chatting over our teas and coffees.

I will definitely be returning, and possibly ordering take-away too as it’s only a few miles away.  I can imagine the Sunday all you can eat buffet would be nice too!

Today, I am trying to make my first vegan hot cross buns, they will appear here if successful.

Wabi- Gourmet Japanese in West Sussex

Official website: http://www.wabi.co.uk/

Train station: Horsham

My favourite restaurant in Horsham, West Sussex (where I’ve been working for the past year and a bit) is Wabi. I took R here for Valentines day last night, and had every intention of taking to photos of my meal to share here, but forgot (well it was valentines day!)

So, let me describe the food I usually have here. The first time I came, I asked for a vegan tasting menu (£32) and the food just kept coming…

Edamame– always lovely, and always a big portion.

Sesame Kelp Salad with Goma Ponzu Dressing  – Really tasty kelp salad with a mustardy dressing with sesame and mustard seeds. Portion size has varied a lot with this dish but last nights was nice and big.

Tofu Tataki with Onion Ponzu – one of my favourite dishes, as I love tofu, not so popular among those who don’t. It’s slices of raw tofu with a kind of onion marmalade on top and dressed with a vinegary sauce. I can’t get enough of it!

Takikomi Gohan (Rice Hot Pot with Japanese Mushrooms) – This is like the Japanese version of a risotto, so lots of different mushrooms and rice with a soy type flavour. Very tasty and comes with a flame underneath the pot to keep it hot.

Nasu Dengaku  (Baby Aubergine Grilled with Miso Sauce) – I just don’t like this dish. The aubergine is difficult to eat (especially with chopsticks) and too watery which just isn’t pleasant when it’s too hot. The yellow sauce has a sweet/umami taste which I don’t like. I only ordered this once and won’t again. 

Vegetable Tempura with green chilli dipping sauce – The sauce here is amazing- green and sweet and zingy. Perfect green chilli flavour. Vegetables include onion, broccoli, sweet potato and something that looks like a nettle leaf and I haven’t yet identified.

Japanese Mushrooms Grilled Over Hoba Leaf -Miso flavoured mushroom selection. It comes with the flame underneath as with the Takikomi Gohan and is served on a big Hoba leaf. It’s a good idea to have some rice with this dish as otherwise you are just eating mushrooms.

Vegan Sushi selection – pretty standard sushi selection, lots of mushroom and some unidentifiable vegetables, but delicious and comes with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled radish.

Fresh fruit selection – Pineapple, berries, passionfruit. Very nice 🙂

I think that’s everything. Can you imagine the first time they brought all of that out for me to eat?? I left a lot and took the sushi and fruit home in boxes. The waiting staff are very attentive though, and happy to make recommendations, although I would recommend warning them ahead if you require vegan food as if it’s busy they won’t do the tofu tataki unless they know you’re coming.

Last night I just went for my favourites: edamame, tempura, tofu tataki and kelp salad and it was perfect, with a couple of mojitos to accompany. The cocktails are excellent and the drinks menu is extensive with many sake options and wine too.

Upstairs, there are large tables behind curtains at floor level for “shoe free” dining (apparently like the Japanese do it) and you sit on cushions. Good for a large party.

Wabi comes highly recommended and apparently they’re opening a branch in High Holborn soon!

Great Vegan Blogs

Here are my absolute favourite blogs, where I find great recipes and recommendations:

Fat free vegan kichen: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/

This site is amazing! There are so many recipes and ideas, all pretty healthy and many are simple enough to do with a basic vegan store cupboard. This site taught me what to do with nutritional yeast, the mac and cheese recipe is a favourite and I am looking forward to trying out the Beetballs as they look great! There’s tonnes on this site and the photos never fail to make my mouth water.

Chef Chloe: http://chefchloe.com

Oh Chloe Coscarelli, you beauty. She can veganize anything so great for anybody who misses non-vegan food. The raspberry tiramisu cupcakes always go down a treat (and beat non-vegan cupcakes to win “cupcake wars” in the US),  the mexicali sliders (along with the spicy mango sauce and guacomole) are simple to make and so tasty, Avocado pesto pasta is a bit unusual but very lovely. I’ve tried about half the recipes on this site and never been disappointed.

To Happy Vegans: http://www.tohappyvegans.com/wordpress/

All sorts of reviews and lifestyle comments on here, and the 2 happy vegans are London based so I get lots of reviews of local places which is great. They also run a vegan cake shop if you want to treat anybody.

Vegan Backpacker: http://veganbackpacker.com/

This is where I check if I’m travelling anywhere for the best tips and restaurants in different areas. Some great comprehensive reviews of where to go…and where not to! I wish I’d found it sooner and known to visit the vegan ice cream shop in Rome!!!!

 

I am so grateful to the lovely vegans who write these blogs and share their wisdom!

Amico Bio- Italian Vegetarian food in the old city of London

Official Website: http://www.amicobio.co.uk/

Nearest tube: Barbican

So, my first restaurant review. I should start out by admitting that the reason we chose to go here for a pre-concert meal, as well as it being so conveniently located for the Barbican, was because I’d bought a Groupon for 2 courses each plus a glass of prosecco for £21- bargain!

We arrived at 5:30pm on a Saturday to a little out-of-the way restaurant opposite St Bartholemew’s church. It was probably half- full and many people were eating on the same offer as us or one they were also running through toptable.

There was a good selection of vegetarian and vegan food on the menu and very reasonably priced- £2.50-£7 for starters, £7-£10 for mains.

For starters, I had the koalrabi, radish and fennel salad. I didn’t know what koalrabi was, and wikipedia hasn’t helped me much, but it seems it’s a vegetable from the cabbage family and it was served raw and thinly sliced and was, to me, a kind of cross between a radish, an apple and cabbage- that crunchy watery texture with fruityness mixed with cabbageyness. Anyway, it was a lovely fresh, light salad and I’d definitely recommend it. R (fiance) went for focaccia and olives and got plenty in the portion- 6 or so 2 inch cubes of soft focaccia, with some olives and oil for dipping.

We got 2 vegan mains to share:

Tofu cake on braised red cabbage, and

Seitan and vegetable kebab.

I was a little confused by the kebab. I had expected skewered vegetables and seitan, in fact we got a kind of flatbread stuffed with lots of different vegetables, and a great chilli sauce on the side. It was very nice, although I didn’t manage to identify any seitan in there.

The tofu cake was lovely though, basically as expected a well seasoned burger made from mashed tofu. The cabbage it came on was good too and I’d definitely have that again.

R had a glass of red wine that tasted strongly of cherry which we both thought was rather pleasant. I think it was the Sangiovese, Boirà IGT Marche 2008.

We were pretty full due to the early hour and the good portion sizes, so couldn’t manage pudding but did eye up a selection of homemade “vegan cheeses” to try next time.

I think I found a gem and will definitely be returning next time I see something at the Barbican!

Hello and Welcome

Hello,

Nice to meet you. I’m Jen and this is my new blog to cover all things vegan (mostly food because that’s my favourite part)

I plan to include my own recipes, restaurant reviews, my favourite vegan blogs and anything else that comes to mind.

I live in South West London with my lovely fiance and I love cake and eating out (and in :)). Originally for the north east of England, I’m still getting used to city life, but love the variety of vegan options available in London.

On Saturday, on the way back from my power plates class (doing it hungover was a mistake and I felt even less fit than usual) I popped into Whole Foods in Kensington and OH MY GOD- Vegan paradise!!!! I got all sorts of treats, including actually the nicest cupcake I’ve ever had. I wish I’d taken a photo but it was from “Cat and the Cream” bakery, pear and hazlenut flavour and was completely vegan and gluten free. I have no idea how this was possible as it had a lovely texture and taste and the pile of icing on top was perfect, with a little bit of praline at the very top mmm. I will definitely be going back to try more flavours.

http://catandthecream.com/

Although I spend my days masquerading as an IT consultant, I’m actually not that technical so imagine I’ll take a while to get used to this!

Bye for now.