• December 27th, 2009mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    I cannot lie. I’ve found myself wandering, hungry, around the West End after a night on the town more than once over the years. On the most recent occasion, as I was walking back to Camden Town from Leicester Square, I happened upon Joi Buffet on Percy St., right off Tottenham Court Road. There was a large board outside with the word “Vegan Food” written on it in chalk, and somehow I found myself inside and seated semi-automatically (vegan restaurants have a habit of sucking me in) on the verge of a very interesting dining experience.

    Joi has, by far, the largest vegan self-serve buffet I’ve ever seen. I stopped counting the number of dishes when I got to 70, and there were many more to go – probably in the order of 90-100 or so food items from every kind of fake meat and Asian-influenced cuisine you can imagine (Chinese, Thai, Indian, Indonesian and Japanese) to vegan staples like meat loaf, roast potatoes and gravy as well as salads and 8 different kinds of hot sauce! About the only food item missing was pizza, but that was more than made up for with several kinds of pasta and sauces. Also, new dishes kept coming out from the kitchen every few minutes. It seemed like when one dish was empty it wasn’t always replaced with the same thing, so the food item turnover during a typical dining interval added to the sheer amount of stuff you could feast on.

    And feast we did. Buffets are always difficult for me — I act like a starving man in some post-apololyptical food oasis, filling my plate to the brim on each of way too many visits. And dining at Joi wasn’t an exception. I ate food from all eight continents (the 8th, by the way, was the buffet table itself – somewhere between the size of Antarctica and Australasia).

    There were way too many food items to take pictures of them all, or even remember which ones we ate, but we were delighted with our nice table, friendly waitstaff (who were not in the slightest bit bothered that we kept asking if everything was 100% vegan) and huge selection.

    Now, many people think that a vegan diet is healthy – and indeed it can be – but eating this kind of food every day will be anything but healthy. Everything tastes great, because it’s cooked in plenty of oil with little to no regard for calorific content. I can vouch for that as I’ve rarely been so stuffed after leaving a restaurant (only myself to blame, of course), and I probably didn’t eat a thing for 18 hours afterwards.

    Bottom line: Joi Buffet is conveniently located, has great opening hours and an unparalleled choice of vegan food, of which you can eat as much as you like. Just don’t eat there three times a day, and be prepared for some decompression time and extreme exercise to work off the thousands of calories you’ll undoubtedly consume unless you’re very diligent with what you eat.

    Oh, and the whole place is excellent value – the “all you can eat” option which includes every food item in the place is only £6.50 (around $10), and you can also fill up a to go box for just £3.50.

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  • December 19th, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    one great thing about london is that there’s no shortage of all you can eat vegan buffets. on our recent trip, we hit up 3 of them, my favorite being at 222 veggie vegan. 222 has an entirely animal-free food menu, and the only non-vegan item in the restaurant is the choice of skimmed milk for coffee. by day, 222 operates as a lunchtime buffet, and by evening they are an a la carte eatery.

    the buffet menu when we went was on the simple and on the healthy side, with a large focus on vegetable-based dishes. it was a great deal for all-you-can-eat at just ₤7.50 per person, and we did eat absolutely all that we possibly could. take a look at our spread:

    starting in the upper left and going clockwise, we had a small lentil veggie patty, a slice of quiche, some stir-fried vegetables, roasted potatoes, rice and channa dal. all of it delicious. here is the same plate again from the other side:

    while i loved every single thing pictured, my two favorites were the quiche and the channa dal. i went back for multiple servings of each.

    slightly burned with a soft fluffy texture, this was definitely the best vegan quiche i’ve had anywhere.

    along with hot foods, 222 also offered a huge cold salad bar. here’s what i took away from there:

    a mix of cold soba noodles, marinated vegetables, a bean salad, and several types of leaves. this really hit the spot.

    if you are looking for a tasty, nutritious, affordable lunch in london, 222 veggie vegan is your place. this is the kind of vegan food we SHOULD be eating—vegetables, grains and noodles rather than loads of fake meat. i can’t wait to return.

    check out this dude, he liked his lunch! and lemme just say that it’s a crime this restaurant wasn’t PACKED.

    222 Veggie Vegan Restaurant
    222 North End Road
    West Kensington
    London W14 9NU
    Hours: lunchtime 12:00 – 15:30 evening 17:30 – 22:30

    PS: on a previous london trip, we had a bad dinner experience at 222. after this amazing lunch though, i can’t wait to give their dinner another try!

    Tel: 020 738 12322

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  • December 11th, 2009mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    inspiral lounge

    Camden Town is London’s (arguably Europe’s, and maybe the world’s) epicenter of counterculture influences. If you take six of Haight Ashbury, half a dozen of Carnaby street then cook at 500 degrees for 30 years, Camden is pretty much the result you would expect.

    I’ve lived and worked in Camden on and off since the 80s, and my memories stretch as far back as seeing an early Smiths show at the now-defunct Camden Palais music venue (London’s very own version of CBGB back then), and flash as far forward as a few weeks ago when I was treated to one of the best vegan meals I’d ever eaten, in an environment that kicks big vegan ass.

    The Inspiral Lounge occupies a superb location in Camden Town, a few steps away from the tube station, with a commanding view of the canal and on the southern edge of Camden Market. Inspiral is, er, inspired by the founders’ experience as architects of IDSpiral’s “chill out zones” at UK music festivals. If you’ve ever been to a music festival, you’ll know all about those places and what goes down there. If not, check out IDSpiral’s “IDDome”.

    Anyway, let’s talk about about the FOOD. Inspiral has a deli-style counter where you choose from either a main course and any three sides or as many sides as you like, a la carte-style. The counter is cleverly positioned on the left immediately as you enter the restaurant, so if more than a few people are waiting, the line will stretch out into the street (and often does).

    The entire menu is vegan, with the odd exception of something called a “Pizza Bagel” which I think was a special offering when we went there, as it’s not on the current menu, and they have cow’s milk for adding to your coffee or tea.

    One thing that’s immediately striking is what good value everything is, especially when you consider the quality and quantity of what you get. We plumped for two dishes and six different sides between us for only ₤15.

    tofu tarragon parcel: organic tofu and tarragon puff pastry parcel with a light truffle sauce. comes with 3 sides. ₤6.95

    tofu tarragon parcel: organic tofu and tarragon puff pastry parcel with a light truffle sauce. comes with 3 sides. ₤6.95

    First, the Organic Tofu and Tarragon Puff Pastry Parcel was absolutely divine, with a crispy, rich pastry shell containing a tofu and herb medley that was pungently spicy while battling for richness with the pastry.

    vegan tofu tarragon parcel at inspiral lounge

    Next up was the Mediterranean Vegetable Lasagna, a cornucopia of crispy, cheesy topping with a creamy vegetable base, topped with layers of spelt pasta and béchamel sauce.

    vegan lasagne: an ingenious lasagne with succulently roasted vegetables, saturated with a vegan bechamel sauce and delicious layers of spelt pasta. with 3 sides. ₤7.95

    vegan lasagne: an ingenious lasagne with succulently roasted vegetables, saturated with a vegan bechamel sauce and delicious layers of spelt pasta. with 3 sides. ₤7.95

    Usually, side dishes are an afterthought, but not at Inspiral. We gorged on steamed mixed greens with coconut and flax seed, roasted sweet potatoes with garlic, basmati rice, lentil dal, purple cabbage and roasted potatoes and they were all amazing. Perhaps the highlights of the sides were the lentil dal (every bit as spicy as a real Indian dish) and the roasted potatoes which were perfectly crispy on the outside and soft n creamy on the inside.

    inspiral lounge

    The vibe at Inspiral is pretty down to earth. Hard working staff rush around to get your food for you, never skimping on the amount they serve (the nice man that served me even asked if I’d like any more of anything as he was spooning stuff onto my plate).

    inspiral lounge

    We nabbed a seat right by the window and had one of the best views of Regent’s Canal looking east towards King’s Cross and chowed down on our tasty food. With two large main dishes and six hearty sides, we opted out of the Vegan Ice Cream dessert, but as we left there was a line of people getting a scoop or two, and I bet few of them knew or cared that what they were eating was vegan.

    inspiral lounge ice cream

    On the subject of vegan desserts, we’d had a few hints about the vegan Tiramisu, but alas they were out of them when we were there, which of course provides the perfect excuse to go back again on our next visit.

    If you’re ever in my home town, take a trip up the Northern Line to Camden Town, walk up Camden High Street and pop into Inspiral Lounge for some awesome vegan food, great service and a great view.

    Oh, and after about 8pm Inspiral Lounge turns into one of Camden Town’s hottest clubs, hosting acclaimed DJs and heavy nu-jazz and trip hop sets with (as you’d expect!) organic vegan cocktails and munchies late into the night.

    inspiral lounge

    inspiral lounge
    250 Camden High Street
    NW1 8QS

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  • December 7th, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    sadly, one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants in the world has closed its doors. the time has come to say goodbye to eat and two veg in london.

    eat and two veg closed down in london

    i have written about eat and two veg before, when i posted on their vegan english breakfast. it’s still the best vegan english breakfast i’ve ever eaten, and it will be sorely missed. this all vegetarian restaurant had tons of vegan options, and it is the only eatery i made it a point to visit on every single trip to london. here is the last meal i ever ate there. oh so sad:

    crispy aromatic luck: crispy vegetable protein served with pancakes, hoi sin & plum sauce, spring onion, cucumber & coriander. ₤6.50

    crispy aromatic luck: crispy vegetable protein served with pancakes, hoi sin & plum sauce, spring onion, cucumber & coriander. ₤6.50

    we started out with an appetizer and a bottle of red organic wine to share. eat and two veg was a kind of swanky joint with a relaxing vibe and good drinks. i think the last time we were there, we stretched out and settled in for upwards of two hours. our starter was a vegan version of crispy duck, complete with hoi sin plum sauce and thin tortillas to wrap it in. simply delicious.

    eatv burger: blend of vegetable protein, herbs and spices on a sesame bun with lettuce, caramelised onions, tomatoes & mayo. served with a mixed leaf salad, coleslaw & fries. ₤9.75

    eatv burger: blend of vegetable protein, herbs and spices on a sesame bun with lettuce, caramelised onions, tomatoes & mayo. served with a mixed leaf salad, coleslaw & fries. ₤9.75

    as a main course, we had a couple of eatv burgers and fries. these vegan burgers were thick and hearty, packed with flavor and nicely seasoned. the fries were thin and crispy, american-style, which is super hard to find in london. oh man, this food was so lovely and the wine was so good. i am getting sad just typing this.

    anyways, despite a fully functioning website, eat and two veg is now closed. a commenter left the bad news on my old blog post, and sure enough it’s true. according to propertyweek.com, “The two floor unit totaling 3,800 sq ft will be refurbished to re-open as a modern European brasserie in May 2010.” what a fucking shame.

    go out and support your local vegetarian/vegan restaurant. they may not be around someday. let’s hope eat and two veg, and doomies, and the vegan spot, and a taste of life all re-open soon….and for now i hope they are at least all playing together up in restaurant heaven.

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  • December 6th, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    chips and mushy peas

    ahhhhh…chips and mushy peas. they can be found on practically every street corner in england for just a couple pounds, and are almost always vegan. just stop by one of the many ubiquitous “chip shops” or “kebab houses”, and along with fish & chips, meat pies, and spotted dick, most of them offer some of the greasiest and most delicious vegan food known to man. take this hole-in-the-wall location in waterloo, for instance. chips (or fries, for your septics) were cooked in separate vegetable oil. wrapped up in paper to soak up all the grease, these potato wedges are served with a tiny portion of thick mashed peas. dip the chips in the peas, and you have perfection. this street food should be enjoyed while standing outside in the cold and biting weather….for the optimum experience. x

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  • November 21st, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    hummus bros in soho is one of my favorite restaurants to hit up when in london. we’ve written about them before, and on a recent visit they were just as delicious.

    the way it works is: you get a hummus base with some pita, and then choose between their numerous vegan-friendly toppings. they’ve got vegetable salad, guacamole, and cumin chickpeas…just to name a few. last time we were there, we went with mushrooms and fava beans, both of which were awesome.

    hummus topped with fava beans

    hummus topped with fava beans

    the fava bean topped hummus was my favorite. the fava beans were prepared in a re-fried bean style (which i love), and were super creamy all mixed up with the hummus and oil. we got it with a side of vegan garlic dipping sauce, that was alright but a little too lemony for my taste.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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  • November 1st, 2009quarrygirllondon, stores

    when in london, be sure to pay a visit to the secret society of vegans shop in camden town. yep, one of our favorite vegan online retailers has their very own storefront just steps away from the tube station, in unit 29 of camden market hall.


    initially started as a project in 2004 to raise funds for the awesome restaurant/co-op pogo cafe, SSOV has expanded and become an independent organization, now offering rad vegan gear internationally. shirts, mugs, stickers and hoodies are all available to US consumers via their online store, but their camden shop has all those products and more!

    vegan clothing, books, belts, condoms, macbeth footwear…camden has it all. they have loads of cool shirts all priced at only ₤10-12, which is much cheaper than if you ordered them online and had them shipped to the states.


    so when traveling in london, make sure to put SSOV on your list of places to visit. supposedly they are looking for a bigger location, where they can expand and even have a tea room! that would be awesome. for now, you can find them here:

    camden market hall (unit 29)
    201 camden high street
    london nw1 7BT
    TEL: 075 2678 9432
    closed monday and tuesday
    Wednesday to Friday (2pm-6pm) • Saturday / Sunday (12pm-6pm)

    oh, and if you can’t make it to london…that shouldn’t stop you from stocking up on fab SSOV gear anyways. check them out online.

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  • October 17th, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    if you are in london this fall, consider yourself lucky. not just because you are in the best city on the planet, but because that means you have the chance to try the amazing autumn menu at manna cuisine in primrose hill. europe’s finest and oldest vegetarian restaurant offers a fresh, seasonal menu that changes every few months and this fall, all the selections are vegan, or at least vegan-optional.

    we had the pleasure of dining at manna a few weeks ago, and i can safely say it was one of the lovliest meals i’ve ever had. we started off with a side of organic bread, which is baked fresh at the restaurant daily. perfectly warm and fluffy with a side of olive oil for dipping, this really hit the spot.

    fresh organic bread: a selection of breads fresh from our kitchen daily with extra virgin olive oil. ₤2

    fresh organic bread: a selection of breads fresh from our kitchen daily with extra virgin olive oil. ₤2

    for our appetizer, we shared the quinoa and millet croquettes—pressed patties served on top of beetroot hummus with rocket salad and hazelnuts. the little cakes were beyond excellent with tons of subtle flavor and a texture that reminded me of falafel. the beetroot hummus was amazing, and also gorgeous with its bright red hue. the roasted hazelnuts were sweet and smokey, and added a perfect “holiday” taste to everything.

    quinoa & millet croquette: a pressed cake of these ancient seasoned grains, served with our beetroot humous and a salad of rocket and cumin roasted carrot & hazelnut. ₤7

    quinoa & millet croquette: a pressed cake of these ancient seasoned grains, served with our beetroot humous and a salad of rocket and cumin roasted carrot & hazelnut. ₤7

    we decided to split two entrees, starting with the organic bangers and mash. this dish came with two sausages made of fennel and pumpkin seeds, on a bed of carrot, parsnip, and dill mash….all topped off with crispy onion rings. i have had loads of vegan bangers and mash in the UK, and i can say without a doubt that these were the fanciest and the best. the homemade sausages were made of the finest ingredients, and the seeds gave them a really wonderful earthy taste. the mashed potatoes had several distinct vegetable flavors and were incredibly creamy…and the fried onion rings made for an awesome topping. this was the perfect gourmet version of an old school comfort food dish, i would eat this every single day if i could.

    organic bangers & mash: organic fennel and pumpkin seed sausages on a bed of carrot, parsnip & dill mash, seasonal mixed greens, a red wine, leek & thyme jus and onion rings. ₤13

    organic bangers & mash: organic fennel and pumpkin seed sausages on a bed of carrot, parsnip & dill mash, seasonal mixed greens, a red wine, leek & thyme jus and onion rings. ₤13

    we also shared the saffron chestnut cake, which was served in a wild mushroom ragu with pan-seared kale. this thing blew me away after the first bite….i never knew vegan food could be this unique and beautifully presented. the tender cake was filled with perfectly-seasoned grains and nuts, and was a completely new taste. the creamy ragu was rich and decadent, and was great soaked up by the soft cake and eaten with bites of kale.

    saffron chestnut cake: a delicately balanced herbed grain and nut cake, served with a wild mushroom ragu, truffle oil and pan-seared kale. ₤13

    saffron chestnut cake: a delicately balanced herbed grain and nut cake, served with a wild mushroom ragu, truffle oil and pan-seared kale. ₤13

    for dessert we were really looking forward to trying the knickerbocker glory, an ice cream dish served with cake…but unfortunately, that was only available on the summer menu. (even though the online menu at the time still had it listed!) instead we went with the timbale, which according to the menu was a “chocolate sponge and cheesecake” combination. unfortunately, i wasn’t a big fan of this thing…it was very full of blueberries which weren’t listed in the description, and i don’t care for fruit in my dessert. oh well, i guess you can’t win them all—and the rest of our experience was spectacular.

    chivu's timbale: a long time favourite daily special, a chocolate sponge and cheesecake layered combination. ₤7

    chivu's timbale: a long time favourite daily special, a chocolate sponge and cheesecake layered combination. ₤7

    on top of the food being excellent, manna has very friendly service and a comfortable atmosphere. the place is pretty swanky with small tables and moody lighting, and i hear it can get pretty crowded so i would definitely suggest you make a reservation.

    on our way out, a friendly man who was unloading bags of food from his car asked us if we enjoyed our meal. we said we did, but made a comment about the knickerbocker glory not being available even though it was on the online menu. he immediately pulled out a business card and introduced himself as roger, the owner. he profusely apologized and said on our next visit we could get a free dessert. how sweet is that?! it made me even more sad that we were leaving to return to america the next day.

    as you can probably tell, i just can’t speak highly enough of manna. they really take vegan food to the next level with their creative dishes, and offer the kind of gourmet meatless dining that is very hard to come by. i will be sure to visit them as much as possible when i’m in england.

    4 Erskine Road
    Primrose Hill, London NW3 3AJ
    020 7722 8028

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  • October 14th, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)


    whenever i travel to london, i always look forward to eating at maoz vegetarian. the concept of the restaurant is simple: a small shop that serves open pita sandwiches with base ingredients such as falafel and hummus, with a heaping salad bar full where customers can fill up on any toppings they want. fast food without all the dead animals…what a great idea!


    my default meal is a pita with hummus and falafel, generously stuffed with the delicious salad bar options. their falafel is some of the best i’ve ever had, perfectly spiced and crispy, and they don’t skimp on it either! almost everything at maoz is vegan, and i always wind up a sandwich weighing about three pounds—overflowing with broccoli, cous cous, cauliflower and hot sauce. everything at the salad bar is crisp and freshly prepared…i really wish maoz would open up in los angeles, because i would be there everyday.


    the only down side of maoz in london is, it can get pretty packed and hard to find a seat—and you don’t wanna be huddled under a roof in the rain, juggling an overflowing sandwich. luckily though, the line moves fast and the tables turn over pretty quickly, so my advice if the place is crowded would be to wait until a seat frees up. we’ve posted on maoz in london before, and since then they’ve re-arranged the shop a bit to make it more classy and fit in more seating. the falafel is still exactly the same though, so tasty that it haunts my dreams when i’m back home in los angeles.

    luckily, london isn’t the only place you can enjoy maoz vegetarian. they have locations in paris, spain, amsterdam and nyc as well. and soon they will be opening a shop in san francisco! if you are reading this maoz, please open up in LA ASAP.

    43, Old Compton St
    London, UK, London W1D 6HG

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  • June 3rd, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    of all the places i’ve dined in london, pogo cafe is definitely one of my favorites. the small co-operative acts as a hub for activism, a book trader, and one of the city’s few 100% vegan restaurants. there are a couple dining tables in the place as well as comfy couches, computer stations, and coffee tables covered with anti-government literature. all this stuff is really rad, but the best thing about pogo cafe is of course the delicious food. i’m talking really good, cheap vegan fare served in huge portions.

    punk burger: served with cheeze, mayo, rasher, tomato and lettuce in a bun. with potato wedges and a salad. £4.95

    punk burger: served with cheeze, mayo, rasher, tomato and lettuce in a bun. with potato wedges and a salad. £4.95

    when fellow vegan blogger melisser of the urban housewife heard i was going to london, she insisted i visit pogo cafe. after finding it on the map, i was put off by how far away it was (i had to take the tube plus a 45 minute bus ride to get there), and showed up with my husband not expecting much. however when the giant portions of appetizing food arrived, we knew pogo cafe was a winner, and our lunch there ended up being one of the best on our entire trip.

    my husband ordered a punk burger, which was hearty and tasty beyond belief. the thick vegan patty came topped with cheezly, mayo, vegetables, and a meatless “rasher,” or bacon as they call it here in america. he upgraded his burger to the meal option, which means they served it with a huge pile of spicy potato wedges and side of leafy greens. clocking in at under £6, this thing was a deal and an awful lot of food.

    nacho plate: organic corn & sesame tortilla chips, with homemade salsa, guacamole, sour "cream" & melted cheeze. (GF) £3.90

    nacho plate: organic corn & sesame tortilla chips, with homemade salsa, guacamole, sour "cream" & melted cheeze. (GF) £3.90

    i ordered the nacho plate, which was an impressive mound of chips topped with fresh salsa, guacamole, vegan sour cream and melted cheezly. i was so excited when my plate arrived and it was covered in cheezly, one of my favorite vegan cheeses that is almost impossible to come by in the states. it had an amazing rich cheese flavor, and it actually melted. i seriously think this is the best plate of nachos i’ve ever had in my life, and it was only £3.90! how is it that a couple of DIY kids in a tiny kitchen can make me a lunch this amazing, but fully staffed restaurants in fancy facilities can’t turn out something half this good?


    one thing to note about pogo cafe, although it is awesome in almost every way, is that some of the staff can be snobby cunts. you see, my husband is english, and i’m american and we both placed our orders out loud. the minute i placed mine, the dude taking them turned to his fellow co-worker and started bad mouthing americans and barack obama. it’s like he was being intentionally rude and shit talking the (soon to be at that time) president, in hopes to offend me. whatever douche, i don’t care if obama is too conservative for you, i just want some fucking nachos. phew, rant over.

    all rude staff aside (and just one dude was rude, mind you, the rest of the staff were lovely), pogo cafe serves such good food you would be a fool not to eat there when in london. i didn’t get a chance to try their desserts, but i hear they are amazing as well. i can’t wait to return to pogo cafe again, i will definitely stop by there on my next trip across the pond.


    pogo cafe
    76 Clarence Road
    London E5 8HB
    020 8533 1214
    Wed-Sat. 12:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
    Sun. 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

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  • May 3rd, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    as you probably know, i am madly in love with london and all the fabulous vegan food the city has to offer. i tried out so many restaurants when i went a few months ago, and i can safely say that mildred’s vegetarian restaurant in soho was one of the best. although the menu isn’t entirely vegan, there are more than enough vegan options to choose from, all of which are clearly marked. the popular restaurant is usually buzzing, and with small tables and dim lighting, the atmosphere is ‘fancy,’ but the prices are reasonable and the food is excellent.

    chargrilled artichoke crostini with lemon aioli £5.25

    chargrilled artichoke crostini with lemon aioli £5.25

    when i went to mildred’s with my husband, we started off with the vegan-optional chargrilled artichoke crostini. huge thick slices of artichoke came piled on top of little crusty toasts, with a dipping sauce that was incredibly tasty. while the appetizer was simple, it was cooked and seasoned perfectly. i would definitely have this again.

    mixed mushroom, porcini and ale pie served with fries and mushy peas £8.75

    mixed mushroom, porcini and ale pie served with fries and mushy peas £8.75

    mildred’s menu is pretty extensive, with offerings that range from asian to mexican food. they also have a pretty big selection of vegan pub fare, which is hard to come by. my husband ordered the mushroom pie with chips and mushy peas, which i stole many bites from. growing up in england as a vegetarian, my husband used to eat mushroom pies in pubs all the time…however the buttery crust and creamy innards make them totally off limits to vegans. i am so glad mildred’s created a cruelty-free version so he could enjoy pub food just like back in the day.

    even though i’ve never had a ‘real’ mushroom pie, i can vouch for this thing and say it was absolutely delicious. the flaky crust was filled up with succulent vegetable bits and covered in a savory runny gravy. damn, why can’t i get food like this in los angeles? oh, i did have one complaint about the pie though…it came with MINTY mushy peas, which are gross. normal mushy peas are awesome, i hate it when people add mint to them. wtf.

    sundried tomato, tarragon and kidney bean sausages served with celeriac mash, braised red cabbage and rosemary red wine gravy £8.75

    sundried tomato, tarragon and kidney bean sausages served with celeriac mash, braised red cabbage and rosemary red wine gravy £8.75

    i also went with traditional pub fare for my main dish and ordered mildred’s take on bangers and mash. the sausages were amazing, like nothing i’ve ever tried before. they were thick and meaty, but also full of chunky tomatoes and large kidney beans. the mashed potatoes were wonderfully fluffy and creamy, and soaked up all the red wine gravy just perfectly. i love mildred’s take on classic food, they really made delicious and unique vegan versions of old favorites.

    coconut tofu cheesecake with caramelised banana £4.75

    coconut tofu cheesecake with caramelised banana £4.75

    for dessert we shared the vegan tofu cheesecake, which i was very impressed with. mildred’s only has a few vegan dessert options, and i wasn’t really in the mood for coconut, but this thing definitely won me over. it is the closest thing to a ‘real’ cheesecake that i’ve ever tasted. the coconut flavor was subtle, as to not overwhelm the amazing cheesecake taste. the carmelised bananas were a nice touch as well, good stuff all the way around.

    i really don’t think i could speak highly enough of mildred’s. our food was so excellent, i can see why the place is always packed. definitely don’t miss this one when you are in london, it’s one of the best restaurants i’ve ever been to.

    45 Lexington St
    London, W1F 9AN, United Kingdom
    +44 20 74941634
    12 noon till 11pm Monday to Saturday

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  • April 26th, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    i know i have raved about los angeles’ latest whole foods in venice being the best whole foods EVER…but i was lying. there’s an even better one across the pond in london on kensington high street, and it’s just one more reason that i know i NEED to move to the uk. seriously, this 3 story whole foods makes all the ones in los angeles look like scrubs. they have an entire vegan section with more mock meats and cheeses than you could ever possibly try…i’m talking double or triple the size of the sections at our local markets.


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  • April 25th, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    vegans, pack your bags up and move to london. seriously, i would if i could. LA has got nothing on that place…even in terms of vegan food. london’s west end is packed with tons of meatless restaurants, and beetroot in soho is one of the best we visited. entirely vegetarian and mostly vegan, beetroot is a restaurant where you choose your container size and pay for it, then fill it up with your pick of 10 hot dishes.

    trays of vegan food at beetroot in london

    trays of vegan food at beetroot in london

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  • April 20th, 2009mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    Not very far from where he met her in a club down in old Soho, I used to hang out at one of London’s most famous music venues – The Marquee Club on Wardour Street. Back in the 80s this part of London was teeming with the post-punk and new wave music scene and was rapidly becoming a center for obscure indie acts – many of whom, by the end of the decade, would be mainstream pop idols. I saw bands like Guns N Roses, Thomas Dolby, Thompson Twins, The Clash and Marillion, to name but the ones I recall.

    The Marquee Club is now long gone (replaced by a crappy Italian restaurant and block of apartments) but that area has a different draw for me these days, as it has become the epicenter of London’s vegan/vegetarian friendly restaurant scene. All the best restaurants are within a very short walk of where the Marquee was – Maoz, Beetroot, Mildreds, Itsu (for example). Indeed, only four doors away from The Marquee’s old entrance is Hummus Bros restaurant. While not vegetarian, it is vegan friendly with all but two things on the menu being veganizable. So, it was with a certain sense of nostalgia that I walked into the restaurant that I used to line up outside, inebriated and smoking cigarettes, so long ago.

    Let’s get to the point (hooray!). Hummus Bros does an AMAZING job at making a boring, middle eastern garnish (hummus, of course) come alive with flavor and texture. It’s right up there with Maoz, serving top-notch and fresh hummus with delectable trimmings and the warmest, softest pita bread on the planet. While Maoz is almost entirely self-service, Hummus Bros take each order and individually prepare it to your liking, served right to your table in moments.

    hummus and warm pitta bread with stewed button mushrooms and caramelised onions. £6.90

    hummus and warm pitta bread with stewed button mushrooms and caramelised onions. £6.90

    We ordered hummus with mushrooms (sauteed with onions and herbs, sprinkled with paprika), and a side of falafel balls with pita. We could have gone nuts ordering tabouleh, aubergine, pine nuts and various salads and salsas, but we were a little full on arrival after a HUGE lunch of chips and mushy peas, so opted instead for some of the lighter menu choices.

    Those prophets of popular culture, Bananarama, said “It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it…” and that applies so well to Hummus Bros. I mean, hummus, pita and sauteed mushrooms are pretty freakin’ easy to make at home, but you can never get the experience of such good food, a super atmosphere and great location, adding immensely to the experience. Inside the restaurant there are long tables, so dining is “family style” (meaning you could be sitting next to some asshole NOT in your family who is on a cell ‘phone talking loudly), although when we were there late at night, the place was pretty empty so we had a 16-top table to ourselves.

    hummus bros in london

    hummus bros in london

    The quality of the food, and its presentation, were absolutely lovely. The whole experience reminded me of fine dining – extremely attentive and competent servers (though you order at a counter), shiny silverware, impeccably clean tables with nice lighting, décor and ambience, only without the high prices. Hummus Bros should be a stop-over, or mainstay for every vegan visiting London. I know I’ll never be able to go home again without paying them a visit!

    Finally, I can confirm that the Champagne in Soho clubs DOES taste just like Cherry Cola. I’ve been there and I’ve drank it. But that’s a whole different story.


    hummus bros

    88 Wardour Street
    London W1F 0TJ
    tel 020 7734 1311
    opening times
    Sunday – Wednesday 12pm – 10pm
    Thursday – Saturday 12pm – 11pm

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  • April 12th, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    harrods is what has to be the dopest motherfucking department store ever. located on brompton road in london’s knightsbridge, it’s absolutely massive with over a million square feet of selling space and 330 departments. you can buy everything from groceries, to a flat screen tv, to a car, or even a house at harrods. you can probably adopt kids there as well…who knows. i’ve only been to harrods a few times, and while i love wandering through the enormous space and drooling over things i could never afford to buy, the one thing i have left with every single time is a cup of vegan gelato.

    vegan gelato at harrods in london

    vegan gelato at harrods in london

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