For Dan’s birthday I was tasked with finding a nice restaurant that was not only vegan, but black owned! I rose to the challenge & found a place through a friend’s recommendation, (thanks Sophie!)
I met Dan after work in bustling South Kensington station, calculating my route as I went along. Getting off at West Kensington, we walked down to the restaurant, noting that the buildings in West London look different, & that I should not have been in charge of navigating – I had misjudged how far the restaurant was from the station. The outside of the restaurant boasted of tasteful minimalism & the promise of a carefully curated plate.
I had a quick look at the menu beforehand & had already decided I wanted to have a burger. (In the past, I had always ordered burgers at restaurants; so naturally, I was curious to see what an equivalent might be like). I felt safe knowing that I could potentially order anything on the menu & not have my tummy grumbling afterwards. Not that I’m allergic to everything under the sun; but I am lactose intolerant have a hard time digesting red meat, as I had given it up over a year ago. Becoming vegan just seemed logical! I watched a documentary that pushed me over the edge, & so…. I’m just over a month into my journey.
Dan & I sat down, giving the menu another obligatory look. We settled on sharing a starter & opted for the gluten free bread with three dips; roasted pepper, hummus and guacamole. We absolutely demolished the guacamole & the roasted pepper dip. I was not as impressed with the hummus as it was a little bitter, and quite granulated, Dan didn’t enjoy it too much either. I also thought the gluten free bread was quite different to anything I’d ever tasted. I’m not afraid of gluten so I don’t actually go out of my way to avoid it, & I still don’t think I will. Overall, the starter was so-so.
The main was a completely different thing though. So as I mentioned, I ordered a burger. I think mentally, I was expecting something far more traditional; a bun with a veggie patty. I still feel that was a reasonable expectation, so was naturally incredibly surprised with what arrived at my table. The gluten free bread made a guest appearance, though this time clearly over cooked and quite tough. If I say I wasn’t disappointed, I’m lying.
I enjoyed the accompanying sauces, & it’s hard to hate a well cooked potato. The main feature of the dish – for me, was ruined. The patty was literally just some fried mash and mixed veg. I suppose that’s what a veggie patty would be made of, but I would have much preferred it if the the veg was blended in to make it smooth, instead of the unfortunate lumpy thing I was given. I did enjoy the slices of avocado, but again was underwhelmed by the salad. If I find myself at 222 Vegan, I will not be ordering a burger. Sorry, not sorry.
So, unto something far more positive. My dessert was actually kind of lush, and almost made up for my meal. I ordered an apple crumble, as I haven’t managed to have one in SO long. It wasn’t as sweet as I was expecting and was a little dry unfortunately. The scoop of vanilla ice-cream wasn’t quite big enough to combat the lack of moisture. I imagine that was because of it’s “vegan-ness” – by this I mean lacking in butter. I did enjoy the presentation & the random sprinkling of the blueberries; I also enjoyed the warm bites of cinnamon infused apple under the crumble, but I did think it lacked a little in sweetness. It was actually almost neutral, & I feel that’s not where a dessert should be. If I’m being honest, the first few bites were a little like a mildly sweet gravel. Maybe that’s a little harsh?
On a lighter note, it was topped with this delightfully sweet, yet tart fruit garnish, (I think). Does anyone know what this is? It’s like a very sweet cherry tomato. Also, the raspberry coulis was yummy, I wished there was more of it.
Dan had a different dessert to me, opting for a chocolate fudge cake. He chose a coconut whipped cream to go with his cake. I tasted both, & honestly it wasn’t for me, but Dan loved it. To be honest, I don’t really like cake, chocolate or otherwise… Credit where credit is due, the lightness of coconut cream was unexpected & really quite delightful. The cake was heavy with chocolate, a tad stodgy & I guess what you would/could/should expect from a chocolate fudge cake.
Overall, I’d like to think we had a nice meal. I’d like to say that I would happily go back, & more importantly I’d like to say it was worth the money… What I will say is; I’m glad I went to a black owned restaurant. If you are going to 222 Vegan, don’t order the burger.
I’ll leave you with my final thought: does vegan mean dry?