zoo_music_girl: (chocolate pearl)
[personal profile] zoo_music_girl
Wow. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to do justice to this, but I'll try.

For the benighted, Vanilla Black was York's best vegetarian restaurant. It was always fully booked and apparently they didn't like turning people away all the time but couldn't find bigger premises in York so they decided to move to London. I worry a bit about this. Firstly, it was in a great location in York, and the overheads were presumably lower, so it was a good bit cheaper. It's now in an obscure alley off Chancery Lane and really wasn't very busy on a Thursday night. I really hope they can make a success of it because they are lovely, friendly people (they remembered Simon from York!), and the food is absolutely amazing.

It's actually really good value if you bear in mind it's not a stopping to refuel place, it's a proper going out for dinner restaurant. It's £24 for two courses and £30 for three and I think it's worth every penny.

Starter: "Deconstructed Puy Lentil Dhal". This was alternating smears of creamed potato and piles of puy lentils topped with fresh coriander and fresh chilli. I picked the chilli off because I'm a wuss, but I left the coriander on despite the fact I don't usually enjoy it much. Except it was absolutely gorgeous, including the coriander. I don't know what they did to the lentils and the potato but they were scrumptious and the textures were great. I could have eaten it two or three times over and I scraped my plate clean.

Main: "Hickory Smoke Duck Egg and Ducketts Caerphilly Pudding with Pomme Purée Croquette and Pineapple Pickle". Basically a caerphilly cheese souffle with a poached duck egg on top, some pineapple pickle on the side, a slice of cooked tomato and a hickory smoked potato croquette. This was not as good as my starter or my dessert as it was merely very tasty indeed. The tomato was bursting with flavour, the pineapple pickle went perfectly with the cheese souffle and the egg was probably the best I've ever had.

Dessert: "Chocolate Parfait and Candied Pineapple with Blackcurrant Sorbet". Oh. My. God. Most of you know I like to think of myself as something of a chocolate connoisseur, and I tend to avoid chocolate desserts because they so rarely match my expectations, but the rest of the meal had been so good I decided to risk it. Amazing. There was a pyramid of rich but not cloying chocolate parfait, a scrape of dark chocolate cream, and a wonderfully sharp globe of blackcurrant sorbet sitting on a slice of candied pineapple. It was sweet, rich, tangy and acidic all at once.

All in all it was quite possibly the best meal I've ever had, and Simon, Kate and Tony seemed to enjoy their meals very much too. (Actually I tasted some of Simon's and can vouch that it was also excellent, although I was very pleased with my choices.)

With dessert they brought Kate and me a plate decorated with "happy birthday" in red edible ink, raspberries and strawberries, after I'd mentioned that I celebrated my last birthday in Vanilla Black too (when they were still in York).

A very good start to my birthday weekend. You should all go there and keep them in business. They deserve it and so do you.
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March 2009

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