s_k_'s review of Vanilla Black from Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 59319"/>

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Respond to Review of Vanilla Black
by s_k_

Review: We both eyed the Fried Onion Broth. I love a good French Onion Soup and it's so hard to find one that isn't or doesn't taste beefy. But here we were, two vegetarians at an all-veg restaurant with numerous options, and we were both getting the same dish? I also had my doubts about how it'd go with my main, and my waitress concurred the ensemble might be too salty. That gave me the out I needed; I got the Whipped Jacket Potato instead. The Broth was nothing quite like I'd expected -- much thicker than a soup. It was good, but my little taste of it seemed very salty. The Potato was sublime. My partner's comment was, "I didn't know a potato could do that". For the main, she got the Goats Cheese and Toasted Cauliflower Mille Feuille. She said it was good overall, and the cauliflower sublime. I got the Salted and Ash Baked Celeriac and Foraged Garlic Leaf. My whole plate was brilliant. The ash did something amazing to the celeriac, and the remaining members of the ensemble held up their end of the bargain. After this we had to get dessert. She got the Peanut Butter Cheesecake and Cracked Cocoa Beans. The "cheesecake" wasn't anything like we expected in form factor -- they were little sticks. They unfurled in three distinct flavors: first a setup, the second a solid peanut butter, but the third a cleanser that left no PB taste in the mouth. Brilliant engineering, but a bit odd. The toffee sauce and banana bread were very good. I had the Iced Malt and Burnt Orange Marshmallow: a soft but spottily crunchy marshmallow with an orange infusion. My meringues were too hard: you want them to crunch a bit and then yield, but they persisted a little longer than one anticipates (though they tasted fine). The puree tasted a bit like Horlicks or Ovaltine (I can never remember which one's which), a bit on the malty side, and a lovely complement to the crunchy sugar marshmallow. A superb ensemble. My partner chose conservatively and got solid dishes; I picked the riskier options and in each case it paid off splendidly. I'd gladly eat the same set again, and I wouldn't trade any of my three dishes for my partner's. We expected snooty service, given the price and location and concept and that we weren't dressed up, but got the opposite: the staff were friendly, helpful, and seemed to know precisely when and how to glide in and out. 95 GBP for two people to have three courses and a glass of wine each + service. Totally worth it.


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