Vanilla Black

4.5
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1802 reviews
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£41 and over
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Vegetarian / Vegan

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Good Vegetarian Options
We decided to open our own vegetarian restaurant back in 2004. We set some standards for the food: no dish would rely on pasta, meat substitutes or heavy spicing.
We would create menus of unusual combinations and flavours which challenged the norms.

At the restaurant we serve a twist on traditional English and French classical dishes, reinvented as vegetarian food.
The fact that it is vegetarian is not the point; in fact it's neither here nor there. The dishes we create here are forward thinking, our food is challenging. It's different. Smashing stereotypes.
You don't even have to be vegetarian.

'Apologies in advance, no pasta bake or vegetable curry.'
We didn't think we would have to put that warning on our website, but we did.

Thank you for visiting Vanilla Black and we hope you enjoy dining with us.

Andrew, Donna and the team
What 1802 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.5
service
4.3
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
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PC
Yorkshire
2 reviews
Dined on 14 March 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Lovely evening, great food, down to earth staff, great atmosphere.

F
Oxford
1 review
Dined on 13 March 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

*Such* delicious food and a really wonderful atmosphere - considering we had 5 'tasting' courses, all of which were also very decently sized, the value is great as well. Will definitely be back, thank you so so much !

DJ
1 review
Dined on 12 March 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fabulous. A must-visit for anyone who appreciates superb food.

B
London
4 reviews
Dined on 7 March 2020
Overall1food1service2ambience4

A hugely disappointing meal - much of it bordering, literally, on inedibel. Mad combinations of seemingly disperate and utterly mismatched elements. I got the feeling they were trying to go for a 'Heston Blumenthal' style inventiveness, but this resulted in unhinged dishes of tasteless strangeness! The wine flight was very average too.

OT
Angus
1 review
Dined on 7 March 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience3

A nice restaurant. The staff are very friendly and the food was nice.

t
London
1 review
Dined on 7 March 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food from start to finish.
It was a birthday celebration and was worth it

SM
1 review
Dined on 7 March 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great vegetarian food done differently, really impressed

h
London
60 reviews
Dined on 5 March 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience2

Great food, good service, was a bit quiet over the lunchtime. But not complaints really.

j
London
2 reviews
Dined on 29 February 2020
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Some of the food was delicious tomato and basil mayo and a baby fennel dish. All on the ‘adventurous’ side and some downright weird eg cep mushroom fudge and a claggy egg yolk. Staff were friendly but hard to hear what they were saying because of the noise level.

JD
London
1 review
Dined on 29 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food. Really different to anything I had tried before. Great service. A really lovely evening. Thank you.

M
London
1 review
Dined on 29 February 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

A lovely evening out - really good how they refresh the dishes so often here. It was a while since we have been and I reckon the entire menu had been updated so it was a like a brand new experience. Very tasty food and a good ambience. Just a little hard to find the place but that's not the venue's fault.

S
1 review
Dined on 28 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Another excellent meal... the menu was innovative, the flavours and presentation first class and the service superb.

c
1 review
Dined on 28 February 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Best around for a delicious vegetarian meal. Every dish I have tasted has been excellent

K
London
4 reviews
Dined on 27 February 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Great vegan and vegetarian options in a nice setting. Very helpful staff

EW
London
1 review
Dined on 26 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely inventive vegetarian and vegan dishes, and with a separate Gluten-Free menu. Among the best vegetarian food anywhere, ever. Informed and friendly staff. Unlike so many London restaurants the room sizes are small and cosy and the noise levels low.

JJ
1 review
Dined on 26 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious, inventive food. Would definitely recommend

IM
London
2 reviews
Dined on 25 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Totally different food from normal restaurants, and waitress was very knowledgeable.

OT
London
1 review
Dined on 22 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My daughter is vegan and this is why we chose this place. I was amazed. We chose the 5 course menu and every single course was a beyond our expectation.
Wonderful place!!!

B
London
1 review
Dined on 22 February 2020
Overall2food2service3ambience4

Pleasant place which we really wanted to like. The venue itself is nicely decorated with a good atmosphere. The food is underwhelming, in particular the starters.

SH
London
2 reviews
Dined on 22 February 2020
Overall2food2service3ambience3

Disappointed with the food

JA
London
1 review
Dined on 22 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Exceptional vegetarian food with some quirky, innovative dishes. Beautifully presented and excellent service. Staff were knowledgable about the menu and shared their experience of tasting the food. Higher budget restaurant but well worth the effort

DN
London
1 review
Dined on 22 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was so good we barely talked to each other during the entire meal. We were swept by the sensorial journey. We will definitely go back!

DB
London
1 review
Dined on 20 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent meal, thank you. We really enjoyed our time with you.

r
London
1 review
Dined on 20 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Very imaginative food. We loved it. Definitely recommend it.

KS
London
1 review
Dined on 17 February 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Lovely evening. Food was delicious, staff were informed, professional but friendly, and great ambience.

A
London
3 reviews
Dined on 17 February 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience3

I hadn't visited Vanilla Black for 10 years after being berated by the owner for asking for vegan food without pre-warning them and then the whole party saying the food was bland, and walking away hungry. However, I decided to try them again for a late valentines meal with my partner. The food is now Michellin quality, with a great mix of vegan and vegetarian choices. The only remining frustration is the portion sizes, especially the mains. I could do with additinal sides. Whilst delicious, it remains a bit 'nouvelle' for my preference... personally I prefer more plates than courses, if the portions are small.

HJ
London
1 review
Dined on 15 February 2020
Overall4food4service3ambience4

I found the restaurant online and booked for a Valentine's Day evening meal with my girlfriend. We were seated quickly and ordered two Espresso & Hazelnut cocktails. Though delicious, these took a while to arrive and when they did we were (unfortunately) told that these were the final two espresso cocktails remaining, which was a shame. Additionally, the seats are not particularly comfortable. They are wooden & small and I found myself constantly adjusting my seating position as my back experienced some discomfort.

The food menu itself is diverse and interesting. I am an avid meat/fish eater but I was more than satisfied with the options provided, with many dishes being vegan takes on traditional dishes. For starters, I had the Tamarind Potato dish (Indian-themed) whilst my girlfriend had the Tomato Tartare. For mains, my girlfriend had the Mushroom Pate whilst I had the Cauliflower Croquette. All dishes were really enjoyable. No faults with the food itself. Flavoursome and beautifully presented. Well done.

I must, however, say that the dishes were rather small, and but for the desserts that we had, I suspect we would have been a tad peckish after the meal. I ordered a bottle of Rioja to accompany the main courses, which was certainly pleasant, though I was topping up our glasses myself. Not once did a waiter take note and carry out this basic but essential task for us, which was a shame, especially as this is a restaurant cited in the Michelin Guide.

Lastly - I'm not so sure about value for money. The bill was a bit dear for what we experienced. Perhaps slightly larger portions and more attentive waiting would have altered this conclusion. I would recommend Vanilla Black to friends as the experience of fine-dining veganism is currently a novelty, and herein lies a well-executed one, at that. However, I do hope the restaurant takes my constructive criticism on-board so that any small issues can be ironed-out and the experience refined. 3.5-4 stars out of 5.

FM
Cambridge
1 review
Dined on 15 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Polite, helpful and warm team looking after you.

Lovely setting.

Food was tasty, refreshing and inspirational. Some really thoughtful dishes.

I look forward to going again soon!

Would definitely recommend.

Regards, Kev and Fiona

GB
London
1 review
Dined on 15 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

When every we have been to Vanilla Black we have always been very impressed with the food. The staff and are always friendly and accommodating as well.

LR
Oxford
2 reviews
Dined on 15 February 2020
Overall4food4service3ambience5

We went for Valentines and it was very busy and the service seemed to suffer because of the this. Overall we enjoyed our visit and this still remains one of my favourite restaurants and so unique in the Vegetarian world.

SG
London
1 review
Dined on 14 February 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Lovely food & service, I probably would avoid busier times as I found the noise volume high, but the staff and food more than made up for it. As a vegan its so nice to be able to eat somewhere that the food is presented with such thought & care, a little hidden gem.

S
London
2 reviews
Dined on 14 February 2020
Overall2food2service2ambience2

Overall I was quite disappointed with my experience in Vanilla Black. Neither the service or the food was commensurate with the high end asking price. The food, while imaginative, lacked depth in flavour and cohesion on the palate.

I appreciate that it was Valentine’s Day, the menu was set, the kitchen busy, but the conclusion we all made was an absence of love permeated this Feb 14th.

J
London
1 review
Dined on 14 February 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Wonderfully creative dishes, fusing interesting tastes that work really well, with beautiful presentation. The service was also excellent.

AL
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on 13 February 2020
Overall4food3service5ambience5

A little noisy but service was great. Food was average, had high hopes given the reviews but felt it was nothing spectacular especially for the price point.

OT
London
1 review
Dined on 13 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food and sevice

JM
London
10 reviews
Dined on 12 February 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Selecting this restaurant due to its reviews and status in the vegan/veggie category, the dishes were meticulous and practically creative and difficult to produce. The portions were not too large, but included many different colours, flavours and textures.
If I had not read so many reviews, it would have perhaps been a five star review, perhaps my expectations had been raised too much. I cannot however fault the meal, appreciating the culinary skill and various methodologies applied to create each dish.

WR
1 review
Dined on 12 February 2020
Overall1food1service2ambience2

It was the biggest waste of time and money. Go anywhere else. I believe the other negative reviews have been able to say what I would have echoed. (Overpriced, rude owners, horrible flavours and food).

I have never been so disappointing and left upset by a restaurant experience in my life. I so wanted to enjoy and like this place but some of the food was inedible. I mentioned 3 times that I couldn't eat my food I was told that it was my opinion and they have purposely created a 'controversial menu so not everyone would like it'.

If controversial means food which cant be stomached by 'inexperienced taste buds'- (said by one of the business owners) then that is true... not appropriate when the bill comes to £200 for a half eaten vegetarian meal- (maybe put it on your website.)

Save your money and go to any other restaurant in London. Would 5/5 not recommend .

D
1 review
Dined on 12 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Vanilla Black has been our best (vegan) restaurant experience so far. We chose the five course vegan menu and each of the courses managed to surprise us. The dishes are refined and while each element on the plate is delicious by itself, combined they are carefully and perfectly paired. We especially loved the tomato tartare and mushroom pâté. The restaurant has a really nice atmosphere and the service was great. We will definitely come back when we visit London again. We've already recommended Vanilla Black to family and friends. Certainly do not skip if you get the opportunity to visit!

ME
London
25 reviews
Dined on 11 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Spoilt for choice. Everything on the menu was outstanding, quirky and unexpected. Beautifully presented too. Only regret is not being able to try the tasting menu! Service attentive but not overbearing and despite having a timed slot we were able to stay the whole evening from 7m, which I really appreciate.

R
London
7 reviews
Dined on 11 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

An excellent evening. Time to relax. Perfect service with gorgeous vegetarian food