Thursday 11 August 2011

London - Soho

Nick & I spent last week in London. One of our favourite bands ever, The Bouncing Souls, were playing all of their albums, all the way through. They played two albums a night, it was seriously awesome & only made me love the band even more! As this is a food blog I'll get down to what else we were doing in London though and that's eating!

Soho wasn't where we were staying, or where the shows were but we ended up spending quite a bit of time there due to the high concentration of vegan eateries.

First off it's a great place to grab breakfast. We had a hard time deciding between Mrs Marengo's and Milk Bar but ended up choosing Milk Bar as Mrs Marengo's menu is similar to places we can eat in Brighton. Also Milk Bar has French toast, yep that's right, vegan French toast!

This French toast doesn't even need to be made vegan, I love it when that happens, I think it shows people that vegan food isn't weird! This wasn't the best French toast I've ever had, that award goes to The Gentle Gourmet B&B in Paris, but it was pretty damn good. Nick enjoyed it even more than I did but I think that was because I'm not so into banana unless it's in baked goods and this was very bananaey French toast. The French toast in Paris was served with baked apples which I love.

Milk Bar also serve fantastic coffee - I don't really trust my opinion on coffee but my caffeine drinking friends also agree! I went for my usual decaf soya latte & it was perhaps even better than the coffee at Red Roaster in Brighton which is really saying something.

Another must visit in Soho is Whole Foods, we found loads of vegan goodies.

There was also great selection of vegan cakes from Cat & The Cream bakery, we picked one Vegan Chocolate and one Vegan Banana Cashew Butter. The Chocolate was just straight up chocolate with chocolate frosting but the Banana Cashew Butter was more interesting.

This cupcake was a moist banana cake, almost muffin like, topped with chocolate cashew butter frosting, it was delicious. Cat & The Cream aren't a vegan bakery but keep an eye out for their vegan options in Whole Foods stores all over London.

Whole Foods also stock sides of cake, cookies & brownies made by Camden based vegan eatery InSpiral Lounge. These guys make some of London's best baked goods. Both the Chocolate & the Mint Chocolate brownies are delicious & their Chocolate Mousse Cake is one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. If for some reason you can only pick up one vegan treat in Whole Foods the InSpiral goodies are the way to go.

On our way home on our last day we decided to nip back to Whole Foods to grab a couple of quick easy things for dinner.

It was late & we were pretty tired by the time we got back to Brighton so hot dogs & boxed mac 'n' cheese was the perfect easy meal. I love the Amy's / Daiya Rice Mac 'n' Cheese but it's probably a good thing that I can't get hold of it in Brighton because I'd probably eat it every day!

Another must visit place in Soho is Mildreds. I've eaten there a couple of times before but for some reason I'd never managed to fit in a dessert, that may have something to do with how huge & delicious the vegan burger with sweet potato fries is. I've blogged about it before so there's no picture this time.... d'you like how I'm pretending that I hadn't scoffed half of it before remembering to take a picture?! I went for the dessert I'd heard great things about, the Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake.

This was seriously good, dark and creamy & full of fresh raspberries. This was so good that we tried to head to Mrs Marengo's later in the week so that we could get another slice but sadly we arrived only a moment after they closed at 4pm. Mildreds & Mrs Marengo's are run by the same people and they opened their second location to cater to the demand of Mildreds take away food.

If it's as hot in London when you visit as when we were there last week you'll be in need of some of the cold stuff. We usually head to Neils Yard Salad Bar for vegan soft serve (they only do chocolate or mango but you can get a chocolate /mango twist of that's your thing!) when we're in the area but this time we thought we'd try something new.

I heard about Scoop from a vegan friend on Twitter & I'm very grateful to them because this stuff is gooooood! Scoop are a luxury gelato store so they serve plenty of delicious milk, egg & gluten free fruity sorbetto's.

When we visited they had 6 flavours to choose from including Lemon, mango, Raspberry, Pear, Melon and Watermelon. I went for the mango...

I really liked it, it was perfectly smooth & there were no gross ice crystals, a pet hate of mine. Nick chose lemon and I have to admit I was a little jealous, it was refreshing, not too sweet and had just the right amount of tartness. I'll definitely be ordering it next time.

On our second visit there was no lemon but they had their wonderfully dark chocolate sorbet.

This was amazing and SO rich. Even I could have been quite happy with a scoop half this size! To help people with allergies Scoop have little logos for Milk, Eggs & Gluten so if you're vegan or gluten intolerant you just need to go for the sorbets without any of the logos.

Scoop are currently situated in Soho & Covent Garden and they're in the process of opening a third store in Kensington.

It's a bit of a stretch to say that this last place is in Soho, Tibits is in fact situated on Regent Street, but it's close enough for me. Tibits is Nick's favourite place to eat in London so we always try to visit when we're up there. We both really like their hot & cold food bar & they always have plenty of vegan options.

As I said in my last post about Tibits the buffet is pay by weight, I love this idea & it never seems to end up being too expensive. I also like that the roll is free, you just take it off the plate before you weigh it. This time I filled up my plate with a couple of pasta salads, a tofu & tomato salad, onion bhaji's, potato wedges, a quinoa & cranberry salad, an apple & ginger salad and an olive ciabatta roll. As always everything was delicious but especially the quinoa salad and the apple & ginger salad. Recently Tibits have started to make a vegan apple turnover which of course we had to try.

The pastry was perfectly flakey & it's apple filling was perfectly sweet . We loved it & if there had been more available we'd have gotten a couple more to take away.

If you're going to be visiting London make sure to fit in some time to explore all Soho has to offer, alongside all of this wonderful vegan food (and more that I haven't had the chance to cover in this post, Maoz, Vantra, Sagar & Beatroot to name a few) you'll find quirky shops, charming streets & a vibrant almost village like feel.