What: Vegan raw (not heated above 42C/118F) dining
Why: Creative vegan dining, not a lettuce leaf in sight
Where: 41-51 Inverness Terrace, London W2 3JN
Our Favourite Thing: Chocolate fudge cake with salted caramel sauce – oh my
Website: Click to visit
The uber modern La Suite West Hotel is the proud owner of a raw vegan restaurant which also boasts a summer terrace too. Now before you recoil in horror at the idea of a meatless, dairyless world, just hold your horses. Since before Christmas bonafide vegan, Head Chef Nik Heartland, has been racking his brain to come up with creative and flavourful dishes to help to introduce new options into the London vegan scene. He has spent the past few months carefully creating a brand new vegan a la carte menu, vegan salad bar menu and London’s first vegan fine dining five course tasting menu which we went down to try out.
The menu begins with crispy seeded flat bread and hummus dips including one with a spicy Spanish pepper. Sitting outside in the terrace with the sun shining and snacking into the flatbreads is a great way to spend an evening. Most people are off to the pub to unwind but I couldn’t help but feel smug, sipping on a mocktail and dipping into the raw vegetable concoctions.
Next on the menu was a chilled yoghurt and cucumber soup with lemon nut feta and dill although soup is probably the wrong word. I wasn’t keen on this dish reading the description but I was pleasantly surprised as the petite bowl arrived with tiny cubes of cucumber and this amazing vegan cheese in a watery, yoghurt ‘soup’. Very refreshing and a nice palate cleanser.
As the evening cooled (damn you English weather) we moved inside and sat down on the springiest chair my derriere has ever had the pleasure of perching on. The main dish is Spiralized Courgette Pasta with Red Pepper Sauce, Cashew Nut Cheese & Summer Herb Pesto and was very realistically created with the courgette pasta looking like real spaghetti even in texture…until you bite into that is. Keeping up with the raw theme, the courgette was crunchy to the bite but floppy in the fork which was a brief shock as for a second I was expecting the softness of real pasta. I love nut cheese, the more the merrier so I was pleased to see it in as many dishes as possible. I was surprisingly full by this point although it felt as though all I had been eating were vegetables.
The Tofush dish was a play on words from tofu and fish although I couldn’t pick up on any fish flavouring which was actually a relief as I hate fish. Whatever tofush is, I do not like it and after a few tentative bites pushed it to the side, and everything had been going so well in the tasting menu until then. The bed of vegetables in vinaigrette and tartare sauce also failed as I was not on board with the over powering vinegar taste.
Feeling pretty stuffed by this point we got on with dessert; Lemon and Lychee Cheesecake and Chocolate Fudge Cake with salted caramel sauce. I’ve had vegan cheesecake before and liked it so knew I was on to a good thing although I’m not a massive chocolate fan so was not overexcited about the cake aspect – until it arrived in its gooey glory. The cheesecake was cruelly shunned as I speared the moist looking cake with my fork, this is easily better than any ‘normal’ chocolate cake I have ever had – Head Chef Nik confessed to adding syrup in to give it that squidge factor. The delicate flavours of the cheesecake were slightly overlooked after gobbling down the sweet chocolate so could not be fully appreciated, next time I will swap them over.
There is a no alcohol policy at La Suite West but they offer a whole host of mocktails, non-alcoholic beers, raw juices, smoothies and other beverages sure to tickle your fancy. Definitely a go-to spot in summer with the lovely terrace which is surrounded by a wall of foliage so you don’t feel too on display. I would wholly recommend heading here either if you are vegan and want some high end dining or if you are any other food denomination and just want to try something healthy and delicious.
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