It’s safe to say ‘treat yourself’ is a frequently repeated mantra here at House of Coco HQ. Given the chance to indulge we nearly always will, except this time it was gloriously, guilt-free. We sent our travel and lifestyle writer Fleur Rollet-Manus to check out the W London’s 100% vegan menu as part of their new dining series with Ravinder Bhogal.
We first fell in love with Ravinder Bhogal when she won Gordon Ramsay’s F Word way back in 2007, we continued our love affair as she opened her Marylebone restaurant Jikoni and now she’s won us over all over again with her vegan menu at the W London’s Perception Bar, part of their new dining series.
Picking up where Magnus Reid left off the 100% vegan menu is a homage to her niece, who Ravinder admits is more like her best friend. When her niece turned vegan it helped Ravinder to think about food in a more creative way. “I have really enjoyed the process of working with vegetables, fruits, grains and pulses without having to rely on the safety blankets of meat and dairy.” The menu is a love letter to her niece and we’re swooning over it.
A colourful array of different textures and spices, with many dishes bound to be things you haven’t tried (or heard of) before. It’s adventurous without being too daring, catered perfectly for grazing and screaming to be shared with friends. Whether your vegan or not the menu is an explosion of Indian and Kenyan flavours ready to tackle any of the misconceptions that vegan food is simply bland tofu and carb-ladden starters.
Our advice? Order heavy and take your time picking through the mountain of dishes you’ve ordered. The portions sizes are slightly deceptive and will quickly fill you up, but it just means you’ll have longer to linger over the crisp (also 100% vegan) Chardonnay.
The Crispy Beancurd and Rice Noodle Summer Rolls were light, fresh and just on the right side of crunchy. It’s a great mini-plate if you’re not ordering traditionally and just want something to snack on. The Besan Fritters and Coconut Yoghurt completely divided our table. Besan is a chickpea flour making the dish quite heavy and the coconut gives it a bircher-type consistency. One side of the table loved the texture in comparison to the crunch of the rolls, whilst the other felt it was a bit too starchy for a starter. If you’re a fan of granola and yoghurt combos then this is definitely the starter for you and we both agreed it was ideal for nibbling at.
Nutty, smooth, and just the right side of thick, with perfect amount of chunky pumpkin the Cheela, Pumpkin & Cashew Curry is a great entry dish for those who want to expand their tastebuds without committing to tofu. Order two portions of the Coconut Kari, Potato, Onion and Pea Bhajis as they’re perfect for scooping up the rest of the curry.
Make sure you’ve left room for dessert. As we said, we like to indulge so ordering every dessert on the menu (in the name of research of course) is practically second-nature. The Charred Pineapple was super sweet, but cleverly offset by the tart lemongrass sorbet and the classic sugary-sour combo was devoured in seconds. The Safron, Mango and Passion Fruit ‘Cheesecake’ was obviously void of all dairy, but you’d never realise as the creamy texture was so cleverly constructed we asked for seconds. Lastly we’d like to write an ode to those doughnuts. Practically salivating as we stuffed not one, but three into our gluttonous gobs. Whatever sorcery Ravinder Bhogal conducted we’d like to applaud as we’ve fallen head over heels with them. Not too sweet nor too sugary the Rose, Coconut and Cardamom Doughnuts were incredibly moorish and a brilliant end to a hearty feast.
Meat-free Mondays? Totally-Tofu Tuesdays? Veganism may be a diet fad or it may be a lifestyle choice, but one thing is for sure; the W’s new dining series is a culinary experience that’ll leave you full, satisfied and pondering whether you really could go meat-free. It’s a guilt-free indulgence and isn’t that the best kind?
Available Monday – Sunday, 6PM – 11PM at The Perception at W London.
For further information on this menu and W London – Leicester Square, please contact:
WickerWood on WLondon@WickerWood.com | +44 (0)203 883 5620