Vitao- Organic, Vegan, Raw in Soho

 

Official Website: http://www.vitao.co.uk1741_2

Address: 74 Wardour Street, London, W1F 0TE

Tube station: Piccadilly Circus

 

I’ve been to Vitao (previously known as Vita Organic) several times before, but not for a while. Previously, even on an evening, there had only ever been buffet food on offer. The buffet food was always fantastic and there was always an excellent selection of herbal teas, juices and dairy free milks. This is why my friend and I thought it would make an excellent choice for our non-alcoholic dinner out in wintry-spring. It is fully vegan and about 50% raw too.

When we arrived, we realised that it was now a la carte on an evening. The menu was wonderful so we didn’t mind not having the buffet selection. To drink, my friend Judi had a mango and mint lassi (made with vegan yoghurt) and I had a hot chocolate made with raw cacao and sweetened with coconut nectar and it was amazing!!! I am craving that drink again this morning.

As a starter I had hummus with raw crackers which was lovely and quite a good sized portion. Judi had a salad called something like “Green goddess” [Or maybe I made that up!] which was lots of different leaves in a slightly spicy guacamole dressing. Very tasty- maybe a bit too much chilli and garlic for my taste but I think it was another raw dish!

For my main meal I had a huge bowl of Laksa- which was what I’d fancied all day since a friend had it for lunch. It was warm and spicy without being too hot and had lots of lovely vegetables, pineapple, macadamia nuts and noodles in. Judi had a volcano curry which I didn’t try but she said was nice- it was served in half a cooked butternut squash which looked like a nice idea.

We were really full after big portions so the waitress suggested we ordered some teas to aid digestion- I had a herbal one specifically for digestion and Judi went for fresh mint. We then magically found room for pudding!!!! I had an amazing chocolate ganache tart with cocoa nibs which was creamy and rich and smooth and wonderful. Judi had an amazing mango ‘cheesecake’ I think it was made with nut cream and I really liked that too. I’m often disappointed with raw desserts but not with these!!!

The bill came to £60 for both of us, which is quite reasonable considering what we’d had, although I had remembered it as a ‘cheap’ place but found mains were ~£13 and starters and puddings ~£6 which isn’t as cheap as I remember but for the wonderful food I thought it was completely reasonable.

I would say this place is every bit as good as Saf, just lacking the cocktails and wine list!!! There was a great selection of dishes on the menu many of which I was tempted by, the décor and atmosphere is quite laid back and nice and I will be back soon for another amazing hot chocolate and pudding!!!

Advertisements

Onion Soup

I am so excited that this weekend we’re going to Stockholm and seeing my lovely ex-housemate from university days! Amy taught me many things about life and one of the many important ones was how to make onion soup! The secret is burning the onions a little bit for flavour!! I have made a low Calorie version to fit in with my fasting recipes so omitting the wine but feel free to add a glug of wine or really any alcohol you can get hold of!! I remember Amy once making me teriyaki and absinthe sweet potato which was yummy.

Ingredients (Serves 2- under 60 Calories per serving)

½ tbsp. vegetable oil – 62 Calories

½ yellow onion sliced very finely (I used a mandolin)-30 Calories

1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar – 10 Calories

1 vegetable stock cube – 14 Calories

600ml boiling water

A twist of pepper

 

Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onions gently until soft and translucent. Then fry them a bit more so that they start to burn. This is ideally how they should look:

onion2

Throw in the Balsamic vinegar and then the vegetable stock (dissolve the cube in the water at some point) and add the pepper. You may also add any herbs, wine (I say one glass is perfect) or other flavourings you like.

Simmer for 20 minutes and serve.

If you can find a bowl with a picture of a cat on to serve in you get extra points.

onionbowl

The 5:2 diet and ratatouille with raw cauliflower rice

The alternate day fasting or “5:2” diet is very popular right now. The basic idea is that you eat normally for 5 days a week and then ‘fast’ for 2 days. That is, have 20% of normal daily allowance of Calories for the day- so this is around 500 for ladies and 600 for men. There are loads of supposed health benefits, as well as fast weightloss! I’ve been trying this for the last few weeks to try and get thinner for my impending wedding (81 days to go! Eek!)

A normal fast day for me will be nothing but water and green tea until 1pm- some of the studies suggest that an actual fasting period of 16 hours is beneficial. I will have a serving of soup for lunch- the Calories will range from 95 (for Morrissons Spiced Butternut Squash soup) to about 140 for Marks and Spencer Tomato and Basil. I sometimes also have 1/2 bag of mixed salad leaves for an extra 7 Calories or so!

During the afternoon, I will continue having herbal tea and water and I also have some Clearspring brown rice miso, for which a teaspoon makes a mug of miso soup for under 20 Calories.

For dinner I will eat as much as I can for my Calories! It’s often about 30g (dried) quinoa, boiled in salted water with some vegetables- like mushrooms and cauliflower, and soy sauce and tabasco. I’ll have a treat like a square of chocolate or a slice of toast if I’ve managed to save the Calories! It’s theoretically easy to stick to 500 Calories but can feel quite hard at times. But the beauty is that you can eat whatever you want the next day!

Today was a fast day, so I’m sharing my recipe for ratatouille with raw cauliflower rice.

IMAG0007

Ingredients

a few florets of Cauliflower (about 1/2 cup) – 13 Calories

5-6 mushrooms, sliced – 10 Calories

1/2 courgette, chopped – 9 Calories

1/2 tin chopped tomatoes – 41 Calories

3 sprays of spray oil – 3 Calories

pinch Salt

Pepper

Few drops tabasco

(I’m not a big fan of garlic and onion but feel free to add these too)

Total Calories – 76

 

Put the raw cauliflower in a food processor and pulse a few times until it has the consistency of rice. Put this on the plate ready for serving.

Fry the courgette and mushrooms in a wok with spray oil for 5-10 minutes until softened. Add the tomatoes, tabasco, salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes.

Serve on the Cauliflower rice.

I added a little bit of grated vegusto on the top- for an extra 37 Calories 😉

It was lovely and quite filling!!!

 

Curried chickpeas

An easy dish for those days when there’s nothing in the fridge.

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
Small clove of garlic, crushed
½ can chickpeas
2 teaspoons turmeric

Heat oil in a frying pan and add garlic and mustard seeds. Fry for 2-3 minutes.

Add the chickpeas and turmeric, along with 2-3 tablespoons of water and fry until dry, shaking
the pan to mix thoroughly.

4-CFEED9B4-851138-480

Squash some of the chickpeas with a spatula and leave some intact, they should be quite soft

Serve hot in a flatbread or on the side of a meal.


4-616CB31B-657907-480