Vanilla Black

4.5
1571 reviews
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£41 and over
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Vegetarian / Vegan
Top tags:
  • Good Vegetarian Options
  • Vegan
  • Creative Cuisine
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 1571 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 · Quiet
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

High quality , imaginative vegetarian food with great service.

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ET
London
5 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 2food 3service 5ambience 4

Small portions, extremely expensive

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LC
London
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I had the vegan 5 course tasting menu with matching wines. Not being a vegan, i wanted to try it, and the flavours were incredible, and the matching wines chosen expertly to compliment. Can not recommend highly enough.

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a
London
14 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

An excellent vegetarian/vegan meal! We had the 5 course menu option for the table and it was inventive, delicious and beautiful. Great place.

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OT
London
3 reviews
Dined on 16 May 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Found Vanilla Black at rather short notice, great location just off Chancery Lane - very easy to find. Service was friendly and efficient, but not too intrusive. Speaking not as a strict vegan or vegetarian, menu had plenty to offer and food was very tasty. Great wine list. Highly recommended overall.

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TV
London
4 reviews
Dined on 16 May 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding as always...just can't wait to be back!

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KD
London
1 review
Dined on 16 May 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is my wife's favourite vegetarian restaurant but, because we live in West Oxfordshire, we can't visit as often as we would like. Although I am not a vegetarian, I too really enjoy our visits as the dishes are so inventive, always flavourful and beautifully presented. The staff are also very friendly, courteous and helpful. We have recommended this restaurant to many other people and those who have taken up our recommendation have never been disappointed. I always tell people that if all vegetarian food was as delightful as that served at Vanilla Black, I would happily become a vegetarian myself

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MA
Hamburg Area
6 reviews
Dined on 14 May 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was so delicious. Amazing food and great service. The taste and the look of the food was very very good. Thanks a lot. Will come back.

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RS
1 review
Dined on 13 May 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The most interesting menu I have seen for a long while and the flavours and quality of the food matched up. Delicious food and 10 out of 10 service. Loved it.

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VH
London
1 review
Dined on 11 May 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Just amazing. The food is creative and delicious. The service is attentive but discreet. Even the bread and butter (thyme and smoked hay butter) were just glorious. We have been many times over the last few years and it just gets better.

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DS
London
1 review
Dined on 10 May 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really fantastic vegetarian dining experience. We need more places like this in London to help encourage more people to eat less meat and fish. Truly inspirational!

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DW
London
1 review
Dined on 10 May 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Beautifully plated delicious food that kept me "fuller for longer". Their vegan banana ice cream was divine - and I'm an unapologetic carnivore! Will definitely be returning :)

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PB
1 review
Dined on 8 May 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Visited London for my daughters 21st birthday with this restaurant being found on best vegan restaurant online search.
Usually choose a restaurant that covers all our needs as my daughter is vegan, my wife is a vegetarian with myself being a meat eater.
I was at first unsure of what was going to be available but after the menu was explained by the very helpful staff our choices were taken so we then awaited the dishes.
To all our surprise every single dish was excellent with a very happy daughter enjoying her birthday meal.
Thanks

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a
London
4 reviews
Dined on 8 May 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service! We loved every course - really innovative and tasty vegan plates. Thank you. We will try and come back again soon!

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KG
London
7 reviews
Dined on 4 May 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 3

We went there as we had a gift voucher, wouldn’t rush back. Dishes are over priced and the ones we had (4 different ones) were quite small and somewhat flavourless.

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KP
Norfolk
1 review
Dined on 29 April 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

A wonderful 5 course vegan tasting menu as a birthday treat. The food was amazing, the service attentive but unfussy and nothing was too much trouble...we were able to swap in an alternative dessert so that we got a taste of those available. We will be back!

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H
London
1 review
Dined on 27 April 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

It was great! Amazing food, wonderful meal selection (we took the 5 courses), and friendly staff. They explained everything very thoroughly once we asked. When we didn't, they told us very shortly what we were eating, almost too fast to understand. However, they were very nice and it was a great experience.

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OT
Orlando
1 review
Dined on 27 April 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 1

Great staff - very helpful and attentive. Did a great job of explaining each course and each wine pairing. Would definitely go back again next time I’m in London.

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JA
1 review
Dined on 27 April 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Incredible flavours -the kitchen team really know how to make the essence of a vegetable sing. Lovely flavour combinations that surprised and intrigued us (the fennel dish was stunning, and the nutmeg custard dish had both our taste buds and our texture feelers in full alert). The last of the savoury dishes in the 5-course tasting menu (celeriac profiteroles) wasn’t on the same par we felt. The dish as a whole was a bit dry, the celeriac chips were a touch too hard and there was what tasted like a slight burnt flavour (also detected in lavender honeycomb) in the profiteroles. The Service was amazing and we loved hearing about the wine pairing which was very nicely and well explained. On a side note, the beer menu could be expanded a touch. The pricing for the set course lunch menu is what I would suggest for friends rather than the 5-course tasting menu which was rather hefty for us. Overall a real treat and we particularly enjoyed the relaxed feeling of the restaurant.

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A
London
5 reviews
Dined on 26 April 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

The food was disappointing. Too much purée, which made it overly rich - not enough freshness to the meal. For a vegetarian meal not to have a single fresh vegetable recognisable in the whole 5 course meal is strange.

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Z
London
4 reviews
Dined on 12 April 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

I went for my birthday and it was pretty good. I got the 5 course vegan menu. Very unique dishes which I appreciate. Although the dishes were small, I did feel pretty full by the end of it without feeling heavy. However, its not somewhere I would go again as nothing wowed me. Don't get me wrong, the food is good but I feel like there is just something missing. Considering the high bill at the end - I don't feel like it was quite worth all the money.

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MJ
1 review
Dined on 10 April 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

As a vegetarian it was quite an interesting experience. The food was delicious and combinations I had never tried. The ambience and staff were good. The only problem I felt was that they were rushing us. We had to make choices very quickly and the staff kept poking while we ate, to see if we finished. I have never had that at a Michelin star restaurant before. And I have been to plenty between London and NY.

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T
London
1 review
Dined on 8 April 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had the tasting menu with the paired wine. Every part of the meal was fantastic. All the waiting staff were friendly, attentive and warm and the restaurant was beautifully decorated and pleasantly busy without being too full or noisy. A wonderful, wonderful evening.

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MI
London
3 reviews
Dined on 2 April 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Lovely business lunch.
The food is delicious !! Fresh and creative !
My friend who is a met eater loved it !!!

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HD
Newcastle
1 review
Dined on 29 March 2019
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 3

A review of Vanilla Black’s Vegan Tasting Menu. £55pp.

Vegans Beware!
I feel like the only person in the crowd who could see the emperor was parading around in his birthday suit. Without doubt the most shockingly overpriced and hugely underwhelming dining experience I’ve ever had.
My suspicions were aroused early on when the waitress didn’t understand my order of a bottle of Provence Rosé. Given that there’s only two on the list, the other being from Italy, it shouldn’t have been difficult.
Then came the clattering down of extra cutlery by a different waitress showing a distinct lack of care. Having said that, all of the staff were nice and friendly.

The first dish served was an amuse-bouche. A shot glass of a fairly pleasant tomato concoction with two homemade crisps. Sadly, it was downhill from there. A bizarre hard crusted fish finger looking block of sticky rice in some sort of deconstructed sushi. Then a very bland forgettable fennel dish followed by a potential highlight of cocoa cauliflower with a final savoury dish of incredibly greasy, rubbery mushrooms and an unsubstantial afterthought of a dessert. It’s a sad state of affairs when probably the best thing you eat is from the bread basket. A slice of warm sourdough alongside what may have been a smoked thyme oil.

I’m at a complete loss as to how they can charge £55 per person. That’s £11 per dish! Utter robbery.

I was fortunate enough to experience the award winning Vegan Tasting Menu at Gauthier Soho recently. A restaurant award a Michelin Star in 2011. Their menu is £10 per dish and is nothing short of incredible.

If you’re looking for high end vegan dining, where you can have a complete experience that leaves you feeling happy and satisfied you’ve had value for money, head to Soho.

If you don’t mind throwing your money away and still fancying chips on your way home, Vanilla Black’s for you.

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OT
London
2 reviews
Dined on 29 March 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Excellent as always. Love the combination of flavours.

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LH
London
1 review
Dined on 28 March 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

As a vegetarian, it was great to eat somewhere and have so much choice. It made a change to having slim pickings of a mushroom risotto or Mediterranean tartlet. To also have the option of Vegan was also refreshing. My friend isn't vegetarian but was equally as wowed by the variety and high standard. Would definitely visit again, next time I'm in the city.

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MS
London
1 review
Dined on 26 March 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

They went to a lot of trouble to accommodate our dietary requests (vegan, gluten free, low fat) and the staff were very friendly and helpful. They were featured in a top vegan restaurant list but in fact a lot of menu items had dairy. The food was delicious but if you eat plant based, you may need slightly bigger portions of plants to not be hungry! I really enjoyed the meal though and would recommend. Thanks for helping with our requirements- it was much appreciated

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H
London
1 review
Dined on 23 March 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Lovely restaurant. I bit hard to find but worth it. Staff were really friendly. We had the tasting menu with wine. The wine waitress was excellent and all wines were explained. The food waitress whilst explained what we were eating was a bit quick and seemed uncomfortable with explaining it. Overall the experience was good and I would recommend.

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VK
1 review
Dined on 23 March 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 2

Brought a friend for a birthday lunch on Sunday. The food is wonderfully cooky and if you're a foodie you'll enjoy guessing what the various ingredients on your plate are and marvel at the beautiful presentation (particularly the starters and dessert).

I've been a few times and there has always been something not quite right about Vanilla Black that I could never quite put my finger on before. This Sunday I figured it out. There's a coldness and lack of ambience that permeates the service and the décor. It's almost unnerving. You are handed beautiful plates of food but it is done with such lack of warmth and life that you are not excited to eat it. Or rather, you feel as though you shouldn't show your excitement to eat because that might somehow be gauche of you.

I would describe the restaurant as being at the very top of mid-range restaurants. It doesn't need to put on airs and graces because it is not a high end restaurant in that sense. Given this, it needs to lighten up and maybe play some soft music in the background so it isn't so awkward, instruct staff to smile and deliver a lively service and maybe inject some warmer tones to the restaurant décor.

Also - I (woman) asked for the bill and paid. When I was finished paying the waitress handed back my card while making eye contact with my dining companion (man) and thanked *him* . Awkward.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 22 March 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We showed up an hour early and the staff was gracious enough to seat us early. The flavor pairings were inventive and yummy.

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SK
London
28 reviews
Dined on 20 March 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A real treat! I'd recommend to anyone, let along veggies and vegans. They provided a special birthday treat which was beautiful too.

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JK
1 review
Dined on 19 March 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Exquisite food, full of surprises. Our group of 5 carnivores and 1 vegetarian went for the vegan fixed menu and all found it a delight. Portion sizes are on the light side. The room was pretty noisy and the individual seats (none of us had the banquettes) were hard - and frankly, way too uncomfortable to sit on for two hours. Do consider changing them! The staff were very pleasant and efficient but we could have done with a bit more knowledge/enthusiasm in explaining about the food, since each dish was extraordinarily inventive; you are obviously passionate vegetarian cooks and it would have been nice to hear some of that passion and engagement in the delivery. But overall, bravo!

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NG
London
3 reviews
Dined on 19 March 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Nice restaurant, well presented food, but slightly too salty, good service, nice wine list.

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OT
London
2 reviews
Dined on 12 March 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was excellent and very unique. The staff were fantastic also, very professional. Location is easy to find and the place itself is beautifully decorated and presented. My girlfriend and I were there for our anniversary and they added an extra touch to make it a more memorable night. Will definitely be going back.

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EJ
London
1 review
Dined on 9 March 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious meal with excellent service and lovely surroundings

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GB
London
1 review
Dined on 9 March 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Only improvement is the noise when busy. You cannot hear yourself talking or your guest

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D
1 review
Dined on 5 March 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great, innovative food in a lovely atmosphere. Definitely recommend

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KR
London
1 review
Dined on 4 March 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really nice evening, great wine and food! Would definitelycome again.

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M
London
1 review
Dined on 4 March 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing dining experience! We were intrigued by the idea of a gourmet vegetarian tasting menu and decided to give it a try. The dishes are extremely creative, while using a minimal amount of ingredients each (one course is fully made out of fennel and nothing else!). Vanilla Black's atmosphere is intimate and allows for the conversation to flow easily amongst diners. Good wine options round off a delicious menu. Ideal for a romantic dinner or trying something new!

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