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“Amazing TASTY unusual incredible food!”
Review of Vanilla Black

Vanilla Black
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Ranked #1,172 of 23,993 Restaurants in London
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $38 - $154
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Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Neighborhood: City of London
Description: Your mother's mantra of "eat your vegetables" probably never brought to mind dishes quite like this. Vanilla Black restaurant, originally from York but now located in the City of London near Chancery Lane, smashes the stereotype of bland, lentil-laden hippie dishes. Instead, Vanilla Black takes a modern, imaginative and ambitious approach to vegetarian cuisine. Result? It is the only vegetarian restaurant in London that's recommended in the Michelin Guide. At Vanilla Black, it's not "vegetarian cooking", it's "vegetable cuisine". The dining areas are spacious and done with art deco-esque flair, Vanilla Black's cool and comfortable dining room sets the stage for its innovative cuisine. Dishes such as hickory smoked duck egg and Ducketts Caerphilly pudding and sweet potato vindaloo with saffron risotto are sure to make an impression on even the most diehard carnivore. Vanilla Black's desserts like carrot cake and orange sorbet with crystallised coriander delight the palate.
Reviewed January 23, 2013

Gorgeous clean lovely restaurant, very attentive staff, incredible cucumber water, brilliant prices for such lovely food.

Vanilla Black is not for the faint-hearted - if you're a lasagne/pasta/stuffed pepper type vegetarian, this won't be your kind of place. If, however, you have a sense of adventure and an open mind, regardless of whether or not you eat meat, it definitely will be!

I've never tasted anything like the meal I had in Vanilla Black last Saturday night. Everything on plate was taste x 1000, intense, flavoursome, powerful. Portions are delicately sized, but so tasty and so rich that I was satisfied before our dessert even arrived! The flavour combinations are incredible, from the little appetisers between courses (a fruity compote with smoked cream) to the bread rolls (utterly delicious and served with smoky butter).

If you like a side of chips with your food, or are partial to smothering big bland dishes in tomato ketchup, go elsewhere. If you want to be amazed and astonished and have your tastebuds truly tickled, treat yourself to three courses at Vanilla Black!!

A perfect evening.

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4  Thank CJ0nesy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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620 - 624 of 776 reviews

Reviewed January 23, 2013

What a pleasant surprise! Beautifully presented tasty food. Original, creative, flavoursome. We were very impressed.
The restaurant was not that busy - but then we're in a snowy winter snap in London and hardly anyone is out. The restaurant is nicely fitted out - relaxed, good decorative order, tasteful soothing decoration.
Service was fine.
Two of the three of us that went were not vegetarians and we will all go again.

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2  Thank Catherine755
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2013

I went to Vanilla Black for my birthday this weekend and found the food innovative and interesting. I admired it, I talked a lot about it but I didn't like it. It was like being with a person who's desperate to be interesting and so constantly bombards you with jokes and clever bits of information. Eventually my palate just wanted a break. I don't like bland food. I've never liked bland food. But that night I would have killed for it and in my defence said I'd been driven to it by palate abuse. The restaurant tried so hard (even the sweet waitress seemed to be practicing her waitress face rather than actually smiling) and I've no complaints about the service or even the pricing but I after a my blacmange-like main course (some kind of blue cheese panna cotta), and bread so salty it made me gag I can safely say I'd never go again.

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3  Thank HunterDHunter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2012

I have a funny feeling that the people giving this restaurant 1 star are people who are either meat eaters or refuse to experiment with their food 
This was the second time I’ve visited Vanilla Black and I love it. It’s a real treat to visit not only a vegetarian restaurant, but a veggie restaurant which does something different, something high end, something more than curry or mushroom stroganoff!
The staff are friendly and helpful, they’ve clearly tried the food and so can help you decide what you would like.
The atmosphere is nice, it’s not the biggest restaurant, but due to the different levels and “rooms” you don’t feel too close to the other diners.
The food is amazing, it looks fantastic and it tastes fantastic. I had the brie ice cream for my starter and it tastes as strange as it sounds, but I was glad I tried it. I then had another “pudding” (walnut panna cotta) for my main and that was gorgeous. I think it’s good trying new things when you go for a meal and when you eat out, being veggie, you rarely get that option.
We had a little appetiser and bread rolls with smoked butter which were lovely.
Don’t go expecting massive portions with chips and 2 veg as this is fine dining so it is smaller portions but you leave full and I can eat a lot!
I don’t think the price is too unreasonable either, £35 for 3 courses…you’d pay that for 1 course for this quality of food if it had a sliver of meat on it. Wine was £18 for a bottle which again is a decent price, especially for London.
My fiancé eats meat and he loves Vanilla Black, says you don’t miss the meat at all, but he didn’t like the fact that the only alcohol served was wine or spirits, he would’ve like a bottle of real ale.
Don’t be put off by people saying there’s no choice, there’s plenty of choice, I would quite happily try everything on the menu which I think is the issue the people giving poor reviews have…if you won’t try new food, if you want something that looks like a traditional meal without the meat, then this isn’t the place for you. If you want something different, something that’ll challenge your taste buds and conceptions of vegetarian food, then you’ll love it!

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3  Thank Natalie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 21, 2012

Been a few times and I like this restaurant a lot. Whilst it's vegetarian, it doesn't get hung up on that but just tries to provide imaginative food that doesn't involve meat. I can see why it might upset vegetarians however as it doesn't attempt to pander to them like so many "veggie" places do. Went recently with my daughter as a Christmas treat. We had the set lunch which is well priced and has two options of starter, main and pudding (you can have two or three courses). I had a feta cheese starter, daughter had the soup. Both delicious. I then had a deconstructed breakfast with an egg on a smokey base, a divine cheesy souffle affair and some tomato sauce. Very witty. My daughter had a mushroom mousse dish that she really enjoyed. We finished up with liquid doughnut with a lovely coffee sauce and a fig based dessert. My daughter said she'd like to go back and work her way through the desserts on the main menu!

The decor and the lighting is a bit stark I have to say. Could do with softening up a bit. Service is great. Friendly and efficient without being over attentive. Go there to try the food, not because it happens to exclude meat and fish.

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2  Thank oldbutkeen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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