Respond to Review of Vanilla Black
Review: We felt the previous reviewers' criticisms concerning the decor to be unwarranted. So, too, the criticism of the restaurant's request that vegans give advance notification. Given that this restaurant is located in an area frequented by lawyers and other professionals, it makes sense that it has a formal decor and restrained ambiance. The restaurant does state on its website that they be notified if the diners want vegan options. The main problem is with the food. We know vegetarians that love Vanilla Black and this is probably because they have a different experience eating there. On arrival we were presented a vegan evening menu. Sadly, it was a vegan menu by omission -- in that they had simply taken dishes and veganized them by omitting or substituting ingredients. The amuse-bouche of horseradish turkish delight wrapped in edible rice paper with a mint-lemon shot was unusual and tasty. The bread was flavorful as was the olive oil that accompanied it. A starter of potato cakes with black radish slices, capers, and tomato sauce was disappointing. The potato cakes were creamy but lacked flavor. The tomato sauce that came with it was overpowering. We avoided the peculiar-sounding starter of asparagus with "salt and vinegar gel" which normally would have included feta cheese. For mains, we had a onion tartin with purple potatoes (not dyed as a previous reviewer speculated!), parsnip crisps and wilted spinach. The portion size was small, and the dish underwhelming. The other main course of fried mushroom mousse was lacking in mushroom flavor and we didn't like the texture. It was accompanied by baby potatoes, fennel and broccoli. The restaurant had omitted the tarragon waffle that was in the vegetarian version. The vegetables were cooked appropriately. Our disappointment was compounded when we saw that the only vegan dessert options were two granita/sorbets. As mentioned by a previous reviewer, this is an uninspired and tired offering. The staff was friendly and attentive. I doubt we would eat again at Vanilla Black. London has much more interesting and vegan-friendly options available.