By Maria Derevianko
So after a lucky escape from the rat race that is “work” last week, I now have the opportunity to use my time doing things that I really want to be doing such as travelling, eating lots of delicious vegan food, working on my gains and blogging about it all, your congratulations are welcome and apologies if you have been waiting for your vegan fix blog as I wasn’t able to to write last week, but I’m back..
And I am back to introduce you to this beauty, Vantra. I found out about Vantra a few months ago when I still hadn’t made the transition to vegan but one of my healthy friends suggested that we meet there and I have been back time and time again.
First things is first, location, location, location. They are are just a two second walk from Tottenham Court Road, at the bottom of Oxford Street, which is very handy when you have been shopping and want to have something other than McDonald’s or Subway. More of a healthy good for your soul type food, especially for anybody who has food intolerances as they cover all of them from lactose intolerant to people with Candida overgrowth.
The only thing that’s a little frustrating, especially for somebody like me who never has cash on her is that they only take cash, so be sure to draw some out before you give these guys a visit, if not there is a cash point across the road so you are not totally screwed if you forget.
The place is fairly cosy and dimly lit which seems to be a theme with a few of the vegan places which I have been to lately but I quite like that, it all adds to the ambience plus if I could have it my way and people who know me know that after the sun goes down I would happily live in a candle lit world (preferable all Jo Malone), all I need is sunshine in the day and candles at night… can anybody relate? So like with most places Vantra had candles on each table, pretty standard really. The interior is very… organic. Tables and chairs are made from huge logs of what seems like pine tree, just cut into to make round chairs which are made more comfortable with used coffee bean bags that are complimented by the thick slabs of wood for tables which all embody that wholesome feel and add to the rawness of the place, it being a vegan and raw restaurant. It was busy as it is most times and a lovely hippy waiter created a free table for me to sit at and enjoy my food, in the midst of dominantly female dinners chatting away.
You can either get a buffet and pay for how much it weighs or get an El Carte menu, but on this day I decided to go for the buffet.
Everything is presented in huge metal and wooden plates with an Indian twang to it, mountains of delicious food all labelled to give a bit more clarity of what is what. I took my metal round canteen tray and started from the hot dishes and went for chickpea curry, vegan moussaka, steamed brown rice, broccoli salad, pesto brown pasta and some marinated aubergines all piled up on my plate looking reaaal good, I can sometimes go crazy with buffets and get a bit excited, never finishing it all but on this occasion I decided to go for quality rather than quantity. After, I weighed my plate and was told that it was just over £6 and to pay at the end, so I sat down and did the honours..
The chicken curry was creamy thanks to the coconut milk which is used to make it and has a kick from the distinct ginger that adds some warmth to the dish and the fragrant lemongrass undertone ties it all together beautifully. The moussaka which is made from chickpeas again, I am not complaining as it’s full of protein and it was quite acidic for my pallet due to it being tomato base and as much as I love tomatoes they are quite acidic especially when cooked. It’s worth mentioning at this point that their food is never microwaved and I believe most things are cooked in a steamer which gives them mega brownie points as the nutrition remains in the food as we all know or don’t know how all nutrition is killed in food that is microwaved, so kids don’t do it! Now back to the food, the marinated aubergines with peppers and other yumminess was my favourite. It’s a cold dish and is packed with flavour and zing, a must try.
To top it all off I went for the chocolate genache with berry compote, this is by far one of the most amazing raw vegan desserts you can have. It being sugar free, dairy free, gluten free and still tasting just as good, if not better than the real thing, unbelievably smooth and so rich in flavour and consistency that melts in your mouth… no wonder people say chocolate is better than sex.