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  • Vantra Vitao: Vantra Mantra

    Vantra Vitao is a small, bustling, vegan restaurant in the heart of London. The interior is dark and intriguing; candle light, foliage and chairs made out of tree stumps. This is our most centrally-located vegan restaurant. The rent must be astronomical and I’m always petrified it’s going to have shut down by the next time I go, although I don’t know why as it’s always rammed. Despite its location, 2 doors down from Tottenham Court Road station, backing onto Soho and with an open window onto the street, the moment you step into Vitao you no longer feel like you’re in London. Or anywhere else in England.

    There’s a menu but it’s so long and full of information and the lighting is so dim I’ve never got to the bit about the food. There’s no point anyway as you need to look no further than the buffet. Pick up a warmed silver platter the size of small flying saucer and fill it to the brim with 100 exotic dishes. They’re ambitious and varied but somehow all complement each other and then there’s the multitude of dips and sauces to choose from at the end. Try the mustard oil. Then go and have it weighed and sit back down so the waiter can serve you an unusual drink. When you’ve finished you pay at the till and any one of the colourful, friendly staff will somehow know exactly what you owe. I think I had roughly 6 main courses with lots of accompaniments, a kefir drink and a raw, chocolate cheesecake to go. It cost £20 and was worth every penny; every mouthful was a joy and you can’t double the cost with the wine bill as they don’t serve alcohol. It was a strange sensation going to a restaurant, eating my body weight in food and leaving feeling healthier than when I went in.

    I can recommend Vantra as a pre-Theatre/going out meal as it’s so conveniently located and if you do the buffet there’s no waiting around. I’d run out of time but couldn’t pass on the raw, chocolate cheesecake so ate it haring down Charring Cross Road on my 3 minute walk to see Eddie Izzard.

    When asked, the incredibly friendly and efficient staff told me they regrettably don’t serve tofu as some people are allergic to it. Fair enough. I’m not sure if that means I can’t justify a tofu-related blog about it. But I don’t care. I’m going to write it anyway.

     

    Update

    Vantra has now moved to Vantra Loungevity, 5 Wardour St, W1D 6PB and it is still brilliant. In fact, it is better.

     

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