CLOSED: Vantra

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 20 reviews )



11-13 Soho Street, London, England, W1D 3DJ

Organic living vegan cuisine serves a fusion of imaginative world cuisine. Reportedly closed and looking for a new location.

Categories: Vegan, International, Organic, Western, Take-out

20 Reviews

First Review by veganaurora

Love It! - Edit

I do not understand the negative reviews about this place, as it is truly fantastic! Maybe it depends on what type of food you are expecting. I find it to be the healthiest selection in London, and one of the select few restaurants which truly serves 'superfoods.' The all-vegan buffet features a selection of delicious vegan stews based on fresh vegetables, beans and other legumes, in a variety of creamy sauces (for example: stroganoff, chili, thai green curry, pumpkin stew, chickpea curry). There is a great selection of raw foods, including salads and many kinds of sprouts, as well as various marinades and sauces. There is always fresh steamed brown rice and/or quinoa as a plain grain (very macrobiotic style). There are always two soups as well.

The drinks selection is also great and really interesting: with all types of super-food infused shakes, chai, lattes, etc. As for dessert, make sure to get one of their cakes or yacon-syrup sweetened muffins (mmm blueberry)!

Pros: Delicious, Very HealthyFood, Self-Service (quick), Nice Atmosphere

Cons: Staff Inattentive at Times

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Awful - Edit

Excellent cocktails and wines but the food is bland and tepid and too expensive for what it is , seats are really awkward, some of the staff is really lovely and helpful while others are snotty and pretentious

Pros: Wines , Cocktails , Juices

Cons: Bland food, Expensive

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I want to love Vantra, but it keeps on hurting me! - Edit

This could be the best vegan place in London, but keeps managing to fail!

We're really fond of the food there - it's tasty and varied, and there's lots of choice, and a decent choice of drinks too.

The problem with the place is that every time we go, they have changed the price and system! The first time, it was a buffet, paid per plate. Then it was a semi-buffet, semi-cafeteria. Then it changed to full-buffet style with differing prices (this was the best one, as you could eat well for about £8 per person), then everything was the same price but with two types of bowl. As of last week it was a buffet (pay per plate, and it's pretty expensive - £12 per plate, I think, one visit only). By the time you read this, it will probably have changed again.

The staff vary from helpful to ignorant, but rarely do you get a welcoming smile.

So, a mixed bag, really - very good food, but expensive and confusing.

Pros: Good food, Nice décor, Location

Cons: Staff attitude varies, Price (at the moment), Confusing

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  Contributions +51

Overpriced, food is hit and miss - Edit

I have visited Vatra on a couple of separate occassions and both times I have been underwhelmed.

The food is overpriced, especially considering it is a buffet rather than table service. The staff are aloof, the food is average and the decor a little bit too 'alternative'.

I might return for a takeout vegan hot chocolate but I would not recommend Vantra and I certainly wouldn't bring non-veg*n friends or family here.

Great idea, poorly implemented.

Cons: Overpriced, Food is average, Staff are aloof

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Disappointing - Edit

We had made a reservation but the staff member at the counter told us we could sit anywhere as "you can see it isn't busy". The food is very expensive - plates are around £12 for one visit to the buffet or £15 for unlimited. The food was ok, some things were good but hardly anything was labelled so I couldn't tell you the names of the dishes I would recommend, this also seems strange in terms of being able to easily find out about ingredients.

The biggest disappointment, however, was that while we were eating (about 15 minutes into our "reservation") a staff member came around to put "reserved" signs on the tables. Shortly after, a couple came to where we were sitting to ask us to move as we were sitting at their table. Pretty appalled that none of the staff had informed us that we might need to move, and the whole thing seemed to totally undermine the point of making a reservation in the first place.

Wouldn't visit again, wouldn't recommend either due to the expensive prices and poor organisation which really affected our enjoyment of the visit.

Pros: Good range of dishes

Cons: Badly organised, Food not labelled, Overly expensive

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Great Place - Recommended!! - Edit

Having read some of the very negative reviews here I did not have huge expectations but the raw vegan chocolate pie on the website menu was enough to tempt me. I am so glad I went. This is a great place with a huge variety of choice which was all tasty. They have the largest variety of vegan desserts I have ever seen in one place and delicious fresh pressed juices. We had one plate and that was plenty. You won't need to keep filling your plate up with return visits unless you have a massive appetite. The food was warm rather than hot but other than that I was more than happy. I would definitely recommend eating here. It's good value, loads of choice and well worth a visit. We'll definitly be returning.

Pros: loads of choices, all vegan, great desserts

Cons: food could be hotter

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Food ok but nothing special. - Edit

I visited Vantra for my birthday last week and was quite disappointed. Although there were 20 vegan dishes on the help yourself buffet, the only dish that had any flavour was the Thai curry - the other dishes were quite bland and needed a lot more flavour (especially the tofu dish which was awful, and I love tofu!). If you like salads, then you probably wouldn't be disappointed although there were no nice dressings/dips to make the salad interesting. Luckily my friend sent me a link via Groupon for a 2 for 1 voucher for 'all you can eat' for £14 because otherwise I would have felt I had significantly overpaid for my meal if I had paid £14 for 1.

I won't be going back and I wouldn't recommend going. [edit by staff- see ToS]

Pros: Plenty of vegan dishes, Healthy

Cons: Bland food, Overpriced

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nice variety - Edit

I had heard about this vegan eatery for a while,and visited it with a couple of my veggie friends.
As I walked in there seemed a good variety of food for the buffet dinner. However,on close inspection,a lot of the trays were practically empty,and a lot of the food was cold,which was disappointing,as it was a place I had been looking forward to vist.
The staff seemed friendly enough though :-)

Pros: good location

Cons: cold food

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Pricey and not the best food - Edit

I was there in August 2011. The bowls are small, so if you are hungry you need several of them. The food is (typically for a buffet) overcooked and thus not that good. There are better vegan options in London.

Pros: all vegan

Cons: pricey, overcooked food

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A must - Edit

I think this place is slightly pricey, I think we paid some 11 pounds and you only get to take food once. This results in the food being mixed all over the place, but unless you are a very fussy eater that won't exactly ruin the whole experience. There was such a great selection of dishes, we had difficulties choosing. These problems can be avoided for a few extra pounds, if you prefer the all-you-can-eat option, but then you end up paying more than you perhaps intended. This is not the case at the more affordable Vita Organic, located nearby, which was the early version of Vantra, but apparently is not organic anymore, just vegan.

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Pick-me-up on a Plate - Edit

In need of a trip to Foyles, I was in search of a vegan friendly eatery around Charing Cross Road, and luckily Vantra is just off Charing Cross Road! The decor is simple and natural, but pretty with lots of wood and light bulbs suspended from the ceiling. The look is polished, but with a hint of the rustic. You dine at wooden tables and benches/stools. At the moment, it's just the buffet option, but go on an empty stomach- you'll want to try everything! Usually, I am trying to salvage one veganisable item from restaurant menus (having almost entirely omni friends, but here it is all beautifully prepared, Vegan, organic fayre...I took a small spoonful of everything, and before I knew it, I had a hearty, healthy banquet on my plate! There is basmati and brown rice, a selection of curries and moussakas, a salad bar with fresh leaves, sprouted beans, greek salad and crudités, as well as spelt noodles, oriental stirfry, bulgar wheat salad and a free soup of the day with your plate! I went back once more, and after two plates I was stuffed, sated and very,very nourished! I washed it down with a fresh, frothy latte and strolled back through Soho with a spring in my step. Friendly and helpful staff and delicious, healthy food! Not too pricey for being so central, either. They also have Vegan desserts, but I was too full! So wonderful to be able to eat EVERYTHING on the menu! :D

Pros: Central, Organic, Healthy!

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Proof that HappyCow works - Edit

I've visited Vantra a few times in the past, and thought the food was very good, but a little bit pricey, BUT, to my surprise, I found a way around the expensive price tag. You have to know how to work the system. Here's how to take food at Vantra. They have a small bowl for 3.90, not very big in circumference, but it's quite deep. If you pack the food in, and pile it up, you can then get a plate from them to place the food from the from the little bowl to your plate, and you'd be surprised like I was that it is almost a full plate, in fact, a very substantial meal. If you are still hungry, they also have a smaller bowl, for 2.50, and have a top up, which I'm sure will be enough for 99% of people, very filling and delicious. You could have the large and small bowl for 6.50, a desert or smoothie and still come out spending only ten £quid.

If you been there before, and you were disappointed, I think you should try again, because I spoke to the owner and he said that he took the complaints on HappyCow, very seriously and he's been working to improve things to make sure people feel like leaving better reviews in the future. It looks like HappyCow really works : o )

The location is excellent as well. Lots of choices of hot dishes, I think more than ten, maybe even 15, they just seem to go on and on. The salads are great as well. Definitely give this lace a try, using my tips.

Pros: Economical, Tasty, Location

Cons: Large plate pricey

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Loved the food, disliked the bowls system - Edit

Vantra is a nice looking restaurant with friendly staff. The buffet holds a nice variety of very delicious dishes. You feel like you should try all of them, because they all look great. Except you get stuck with having to help yourself with a bowl no bigger than a cooking cup. Yes, you can get several bowls if you wish. They charge about £3.50 each. But you still have to manage putting the food inside them. And then you have to eat from them, which is not really wonderful. I like separating the food I eat and not jamming it together in a small bowl. Really a big turn-off. Even having enjoyed the food, we didn't come back. Too bad...

Pros: Delicious food, Friendly staff

Cons: Hated the bowl system, Expensive if you're hungry

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could be cool - Edit

Went here on a sun early evening. Food was good not great, service was fine but no atmosphere at all ? Not even some background music ? Might still come back another time

Pros: all vegan, good deserts, nice venue and location

Cons: no music, no atmosphere

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not impressed - Edit

The guy at the counter was friendly, But
the food wasnt nice though, I think they really should do something about the raw food section, there wasnt one raw dish which i couldnt say that i couldnt make it my own at home easily. The cucumber/tomato salad looked the most 'ok' but tasted boring, no flavour...and the brazil nuts they put in it didnt make any sense to me. This gives a bad reputation to rawfoodism like raw foodists only eat either boring salads or overpriced dehydrated crackers (?) I dont think so. They might consider hire someone who actually knows how to make raw dishes if they want to promote the latter. I havent tried the cooked dishes, they might taste better, but they didnt look too appealing to me.
They might seem overpriced, but this is in the middle of soho right?
Sorry, not impressed. :s
Ill go again in a few months to see if any improvement is done ;)

Pros: decoration, friendly and excited staff, location location location

Cons: more exciting raw dishes please

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Raw food and awkward service - Edit

We ate at Vantra's buffet two times during our stay in London. Raw food salads were tasty and raw crackers with dips ok. Warm lasagna was nice too. Berry smoothie and vegetable smoothie soup were also very good. Location is really good at the Soho squere but service was pretty slow and generally bad. The system of selecting dishes you want and presenting your choices to staff just doesn't work very smoothly and the desk is easily crowded. Prices seem ok for what you get, but don't expect huge portions.

Pros: Location, Raw food, Smoothies

Cons: Service, Crowded

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  Contributions +155

Poor value - Edit

I visited this place when it first opened and you could have a full plate from a wide selection of food for a single set price. However now they charge by the ant's portion dishes which are about a third the size of a side bowl. Although the food is very good quality i felt i was financially abused and paid £7 for a cats bowl of food. I will not ben venturing back there again unless i win the lottery.

Pros: fresh, vegan, Locality

Cons: ripp off, tiny portions, rip off

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An ok experience - Edit

We got to Vantra on a quiet evening around 5:45pm. When we entered there were about 4 staff members milling around but no one actively engaged us. We had to actually ask what the set up was and how to get a plate. We were told that we had 15mins until the buffet increased in price.

With that in mind we were given cardboard plates and headed for the buffet.

The buffet was extensive and was laid out in front of the window. There was a strict policy of a one plate limit per customer so I began piling a little of everything on to the plate to try it all.

The buffet was laid out with salads and cold dishes on one end, with hot dishes at the other.

While all the dishes were ok, there was nothing outstanding on offer. Most of the hot food dishes tasted very similar to each other and the salads were mildly tasty with just a hint of them not being as fresh as they could have been.

I feel Vantra has the makings of a great vegan restaurant. However, it seems in need of a little refinement, better service and a need to focus more on quality and not quantity.

Having said this, it certainly stands as a good vegan lunch option if you're shopping in the West End.

Pros: Good Location, Decent price, Relaxing ambience

Cons: Food quality, Service

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Ditto - Edit

I agree entirely with Dec 19th review. The front of house staff did try hard but they can't deliver what they don't have coming from the kitchen! A real shame as I had high hopes for a special evening, and I would like to see their venture succeed. Their buffet bar did look very appetising and I'm disappointed that when pre-visiting, planning, and phone-ordering 4 days ahead of time, that I was led to believe that the buffet would be ending at 6pm with only the set menu available thereafter. As it was the buffet WAS available and I'm sorry that we weren't directed to this as an alternative once it became clear that things in the kitchen were going pear-shaped. We would have been happy to have selected from there and to have been in control of the number of 'variations on a nut' theme we ate.
I'd give them the benefit of doubt and try it again if passing, but as already suggested, I too think that Vantra would do better to stick to the buffet style for now.
Also the restaurant did feel a bit chilly. We moved away from the door, and needed several cups of hot water while waiting for our food. The atmosphere on the night, due no doubt to all the above factors, also seemed rather cold and certainly not what I had hoped for for a special meal out.

Turn up the temperature, speed up the service and fill us up from the buffet!!
Best of luck for success of your venture in the future. And of course thanks for a providing another vegan outlet!

Pros: Front of house staff tried hard., Buffet looks good., Restaurant looks nice and atmospheric.

Cons: Food delivery far too slow., Small raw portions., Was pyshically and atmospherically cold

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They need to get organised and serve better food - Edit

My friend and I went to this restaurant yesterday evening to enjoy their special christmas set menu (normally they have a buffet service but this was supposed to be something unique). We had a terrible time for several different reasons. The food was not very well thought out and mainly wasn't particularly tasty despite them charging £35 each for 4 courses and a cocktail. This would have been acceptable if the food had been good. Instead, it seemed like they only used about about 4 different main ingredients for the four courses and we had so many variations on crushed nuts we were starting to go nuts. The soups were so-so, I make better at home and the raw soup was steaming hot so obviously not raw! The starters a bit better (dim sum was actually quite good), but the mains were awful. The Emperor's live noodles dish was a smallish patty thing made of long shavings of what we think was butternut squash, on top of which was some chopped lettuce and chopped tomato. It was nicely spiced but hardly a main meal. My unroasted nut roast was a small mound of seasoned mushed nuts with a thin layer of cashew (or something) cream served in an uncooked scooped out butternut squash with some spots of cranberry sauce on the plate. If only they had cooked the butternut squash and let me eat that!
It took half an hour for them to give us our cocktail even though there were 5 staff at the front. Then we had only been served one course after 1 and a half hours despite the restaurant only being half full! The buffet was still out and looked tasty but when we said we couldn't wait any longer for the other courses and suggested we just eat that they said the main would be out any minute (came 15 minutes later). After two and a half hours we left taking our desserts with us.
I really hope this restaurant does okay as I always wish the best for any veggie venture, but they need to be a lot more organised in the kitchen They also need to stick with the buffet and be honest with the customers if they are having problems with the kitchen or can't cope. I've never waited so long for food in a restaurant and have never been quite so fed up when it eventually arrived.

Pros: nice layout, staff tried to be friendly

Cons: waited a very very long time for food, When meals arrived they were not good

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