I wouldn’t have put vegan meals and comfort food in the same box but my latest dining experience has flipped that preconception on its head.
The Perception at W London has launched its latest dining series (running until the end of June) with British chef, Ravinder Bhogal, making her debut.
The culinary whizz has crafted a vegan menu in homage to her niece who became a vegan two years ago forcing her to think and cook in an original way – to design delicious dishes that were satisfying, creative and nourishing, but were incidentally vegan too.
The result is a hearty spread of plant-based foods with a colourful Indian twist.
You’re certainly guaranteed to leaving feeling well fed!
I checked into the Perception at W London on a Tuesday night and as always, the place had a great buzz.
If you haven’t popped down to the restaurant, it’s worth a gander with hip interiors, flattering lighting and conversation-friendly acoustics.
I’m not vegan but I decided to test the menu on my friend Mary Lou who turned to veganism last year and feels much better for it.
Ravinder’s menu took a little explaining, as she has injected a mix of unusual ingredients influenced by her Indian-Kenyan heritage.
‘Besan’ translates to chickpea flour, while ‘cheela’ is a type of pancake.
In the end, we went for a spread of three starters and two mains to share.
The deep-fried cauliflower popcorn quickly got hoovered up and the sprouting broccoli on a bed of spelt helped balance things out.
The weighty scotch egg-shaped beetroot and walnut-fried balls took a bit more tackling with their crusty exteriors but the burst of flavours inside got our tongues tingling.
On the drinks front, there are also two vegan wines on offer including a chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon – both from Chile.
Back to the food, we moved on to mains, with a plate of tempura-battered mung beans and a sweet caramel-glazed hunk of tofu.
Both dishes satisfied our hunger pangs and we slowly grazed on the colouful creations until there was nothing left. All of the textures worked well, with the garlic-crunch of the tofu, softened by a bed of rice. Meanwhile, the crisp tempura parcels lay on mattresses of chopped tomato.
With our tummies feeling a little weighted down by the flavoursome fried goods we were unsure about dessert, but our friendly waitress convinced us to take the plunge.
I promise you the rose and cardamon doughnut balls will seduce you. I found the syrupy morsels pretty difficult to resist and I’m usually not a doughnut person!
Commenting on her vegan offering Ravinder Bhogal said: ‘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. I suppose this menu is a love letter to Avneet – I always want to make sure she is well fed.’
I think Ravinder achieved her objective, with this belly-filling menu. I was ready to roll home – after the last bite of doughnut, of course!
The Perception at W London is located at 10 Wardour Street, London W1D 6QF
To book a table visit www.theperceptionbar.com or call 0207 758 1060