SESSIONS RECOMMENDS IS OUR WEEKLY SERIES WHERE WE SIT DOWN WITH A MEMBER OF OUR TEAM FOR A 5 MINUTE CHAT ABOUT THEIR CURRENT FAVOURITE RESTAURANTS.
Ellie can be found with an Aperol Spritz in one hand and a veggie scotch egg in the other on the weekend as she storms a path through charity shops and questionable art exhibitions before refuelling with an overpriced oat latte. On working days she is a Partner Success Manager responsible for host relationships and making sure everything runs smoothly.
WHERE ARE YOU EATING AT THE MOMENT?
I had heard about Bubala a lot, it's the one that comes up the most when people talk about veggie restaurants in London. My sister got this little veggie/vegan book for her birthday that has the best places to go in London, and Bubala was in it. I think it was actually on the front cover of the book. It's also in Spitalfields and we live around Spitalfields, so it's like a 5-10 minute walk from us. Ultimately, it was everywhere so of course we had to go!
It's not that big, it's quite small - an intimate setting. Some people sit at the bar, but most of the tables downstairs. It has pretty dim lighting which makes it pretty good for a date but also there's quite a few tables of four. I wouldn't say that you'd go for groups of eight but anything less than that is perfect. I feel like when people go, they really look forward to going and it's like a special occasion. It was reasonably priced - well really reasonably priced for how much you got. We got the set menu which was about £40 for loads of food. I can't say that its £40 for a starter, main and dessert as it is more like nibbles then starters then main and then no dessert. We were starting to get full by the nibbles and starters...and what didn't help was that the set menu is either vegan or veggie and you can kind of roughly pick and mix. So, we asked if we could do a mix of veggie and vegan, and they actually ended up giving us both the veggie and the vegan option!
Dips and flatbread. That was the nibbles and wow, their flatbread is amazing. We asked and they get it from - Ararat Bread, which is in Dalston. Probably the best bread I've ever had. There was a classic hummus one topped with chilli oil and garlic, a whipped feta one and then a beetroot one which was also delicious.
The starters and the mains have almost blurred into one...oh wait I remember! We had a hot honey halloumi which came cooked in not Sichuan pepper, maybe black pepper. Oh my god, it was delicious. You know when you're like eating something and like no one says anything? Like, for five minutes? It was like that. Sometimes halloumi can be a bit rubbery but this was a solid block that melted in your mouth. That was 100% the star of the show. And then another starter was these oyster mushroom kebabs. These were insane because it tasted so much like meat. If I wasn't in a veggie restaurant I would have had to ask them to check it wasn't meat!
The mains, um, honestly, we barely ate any of the mains, we were so full. We took a lot away in the end but one of the mains was a feta with courgette and romenesco sauce and then a hispi cabbage one. If you haven't spoken to me about hispi cabbage...I'm obessed with it. It came with a sesame oil and tahini dressing.
We had really good drinks. I'd never had something like that before. I can't remember the name, but it's like soda water, I think with this fermented syrup that's added to it? So at the bottom sits this fermented syrup and then you stir it all in together and it all infuses. My sister got the mango and pineapple one, and it had like a huge pineapple stalk in it. I got the strawberry basil one and my sisters boyfriend got the cucumber and watermelon one which came which a massive slice of cucumber. They were not only delicious but I'd never had a drink like that.
It is very laid back and took quite a while but actually this was perfect for us. Sometimes with a set menu you can feel super rushed but this one was actually all at the right time.
It was perfect. Literally couldn't fault the space. Couldn't fault it at all. Service impeccable. The woman was new and she was really, really nice. You know that sometimes they can be quite pushy on the drinks and stuff. Nothing like that.
Can you tell I loved it?
Bubala (meaning ‘darling’ in Yiddish) is all about vibrant food and the best. They actually started as a pop-up which has since turned into 2 permanent restaurants, in the heart of Spitalfields and Soho. Their food takes inspiration from all across the Middle East focusing on bold, complex flavours. They only use natural ingridients which is special in the world of Vegetarian Restaurants. They use no meat substitutes and only use/work with the best and most natural vegetable and natural wine suppliers.
65 Commercial Street
OUR OTHER FAVOURITE VEGETARIAN PLACES IN LDN...
Fun, lively and totally vegan, Club Mexicana have multiple sites. Enjoy the best that chef and founder Meriel Armitage has to offer with a unique plant-based take on tacos, nachos and burritos – as well as the iconic frozen margs.
46-48 Commercial St
BEST CHINESE: TOFU VEGAN
This Chinese spot on Upper Street is heaving seven days a week, as everyone tucks into house-made silken tofu in Szechuan sauce, mock meats like Chongqing chicken, dim sum, and much more plant-based fare that may surprise you with how impressive it is.
105 Upper Street
BEST SET MENU: TENDRIL
Rishim Sachdeva describes the restaurant as "mostly vegan" and that's coming through in the new name - Tendril (mostly) Vegan Kitchen & Bar. Tendril has been popping up in many places before setting down some permanent roots in Mayfair. Enjoy items such as crispy leek, with smoked potato salad & curry leaf aioli and summer squash, white polenta, basil puree & crispy samphire in his new restuarant. Top tip: if you go pre 5:45 pm you can grab an amazing set menu for £35!
5 Princes Street
BEST PIZZA: FLAT EARTH PIZZA
Their dough is made with a mix of Gilchester’s Organic heritage grain flour and Wildfarmed. It’s not refined or processed resulting in a healthier base for their pizzas. Their ingredients are sourced locally, and with the seasons, reducing our carbon foot print and air miles from imported produce. They put veg centre stage encouraging you to reduce your meat intake without feeling like you are missing out on the sustenance or flavour that people associate with meat. Ultimately a very good place with delicious pizzas!
286-290 Cambridge Heath Road