Vanilla Black is a posh vegetarian restaurant near Chancery Lane. I went there with friends a couple of weeks ago. I don’t like to do restaurant reviews, but I wanted to write about it and writing about it without reviewing it is quite difficult!
There were separate vegetarian and vegan menus. The vegan menu mainly contained modified dishes from the vegetarian menu but there was a dessert on it that didn’t feature on the vegetarian menu – I thought this was strange. The words “foam”, “dust”, and “deconstructed” all feature on the menu, which is not always a good sign… but we all enjoyed the food we ate. The wine list deserves special mention. There wasn’t a huge amount of wine available by the glass but we tried three different wines that were all excellent. We assumed that if that was the starting point, then the wines available by the bottle (there is a wide selection) ought to be very good indeed.
Bread rolls were served with two little pats of butter, one peppered and one sea salted. We really couldn’t get enough of the salted butter. Cakemix went for the vegan option and got to dip her bread roll in olive oil.
Amuse of tomato juice and cucumber I think… it had a kick to it, like a Bloody Mary without the alcohol.
Beetroot terrine with horseradish cream and fennel salad – this was very tasty, the flavours went together very well.
Amy ordered the feta cheesecake, which was delicious with the pear and vanilla chutney on the side.
Cakemix had the deconstructed puy lentil dhal (there’s that dreaded word). I think it’s “deconstructed” because it has the spices sprinkled on top. She liked the firm texture of the puy lentils rather than the mushy red lentils usually found in dhal.
We all opted for the same main, the Baked Mushroom Duxelle and Burgundy Sauce with Butter Onions, Creamed Salsify and Jerusalem Artichoke Crisps. The mushroom duxelle was very tasty, and I loved the onions and the Jerusalem artichoke crisps. I found the creamed salsify delicious at first, but then slightly overpowering as I kept eating. I felt there was a little too much on the plate. Too many different things, and too much of each thing. It was still good, just not brilliant. In the end it defeated me and I was forced to admit I had no room for dessert. Cakemix had the vegan version, sans salsify, and managed quite well.
I would eat here again, the service was lovely and at £24 for two courses (£30 for three) it was quite good value.