With the rising popularity of Veganuary and more people making sustainable lifestyle choices, veganism is becoming more mainstream. With that in mind, Londoners are seeking more options when drinking or dining out. For a short time only, Dirty Martini have a limited-edition vegan cocktail menu. On offer until the end of March, the menu features a choice of five dairy-free, boozy creations, all priced at £9.
I went along to the Covent Garden branch last week to try them out with a friend. Upon entering the subterranean space, we were given a cosy, leather booth in the corner which was perfect for a girlie catch-up over cocktails. Despite being a Tuesday night, the atmosphere had just the right amount of party with a DJ playing a mix of new and classic hits in the background. We dove straight into the new vegan menu, with my eye naturally being drawn to the gin cocktails. I ordered The Pink Garden (Beefeater gin, basil liqueur and beetroot shrub with pomegranate, raspberries and citrus), while my friend opted for the 24 Carrot Gold (Havana 3 year rum, green Chartreuse, carrot, ginger, mango, pineapple and citrus). The Pink Garden was a unique flavour – with the beetroot, pomegranate and basil really coming through strong. Surprisingly, the contrasting sweet and savoury flavours worked really well and it was my favourite concoction of the evening.
Next up, I continued with the mother’s ruin theme with a more traditional-esque cocktail – the Lemon and Ginger Collins – a modern twist on the Collins (Beefeater gin, elderflower, ginger and lime, topped with soda). It was refreshing and light and would make a fabulous drink at a spring or summer party. Meanwhile, my friend wanted a sweet treat with the Smooth Operator (Absolut vodka, Kahlua, vegan cream and vegan chocolate), which she declared was a delectable dream and was drunk very quickly!
Delicious drinks aside, we also ordered food to accompany our drinks – well it was a school night! Having ordered vegan cocktails, it was only right to go for the vegetarian sharing platter. The board included Mac & cheese bites; vegetable dumplings; grilled halloumi, vegetable & pesto kebabs; Korean vegetable samosas and grilled flatbreads with mint yoghurt and hummus. Despite being a carb fest, the food was perfectly cooked and wasn’t oily. I particularly loved the mac and cheese bites and the kebabs, they were a great accompaniment to our cocktails. Overall, we had a fabulous evening. The cocktails were experimentally excellent, while the food, service and ambiance were also brilliant.
- The special Vegan cocktail menu are available at all Dirty Martinis until 31 March 2019. London branches at Bishopsgate, Covent Garden, Hanover Square, Islington, Monument, St Paul’s and Minories. For more information, visit the Dirty Martini website.
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Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you may have noticed the avocado is having a moment. In fact, this is more than a moment as it has been happening for a couple of years now and you’d be hard pushed to find a brunch spot without avocado on the menu.
With this in mind, avo lovers are in for a treat this spring as Amsterdam’s famous The Avocado Show is coming to London for a limited time. The team behind the world’s first all-avocado concept will setting up camp at the Bluebird Chelsea from 11th to 24th March. The Avocado Show pop-up will be serving their stunning, stand out dishes using sustainable and socially responsible avocados.
The menu will feature creations influenced by chef Jamie van Heije. Among the dishes on offer include The Avo Garden (salad composed on top of an avocado), The Bun Burger (a wagyu beef patty with bacon and toppings served between two avocado halves) and The Benny Boy (poached eggs with house-made hollandaise served atop crispy bacon slices and avocado halves). The Bluebird Café will be transformed with plenty of foliage and greenery. Staff will be wearing branded The Avocado Show shirts as they bring TAS’s unique vibe to Chelsea.
The Avocado Show was launched in 2017 and was a big hit with foodies and critics. Today, The Avocado Show is open in several locations, has published a cookbook and developed avocado fries for sale.
- The Avocado Show Pop Up runs from 11-24 March 2019. At Bluebird Chelsea, 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU. Nearest station: South Kensington or Sloane Square. For more information and booking, visit the Bluebird website.
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Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you would have noticed the huge rise in popularity of vegan and vegetarian diets in recent years. This autumn, a new pop-up offering plant-based food will be coming to Clapham. The Meet will be serving indulgent comfort food along with vegan cocktails.
The Meet will launch on 2 November 2018 in an urban, industrial space of railway arches in Clapham North. The pop-up is a new concept from chef Dominic Taylor, former Executive Chef of London favourite, The Jam Tree. His menu will feature popular millennial dishes revamped into indulgent vegan alternatives. Committed vegans, healthy eaters and experimental foodies alike will find a dish to whet their appetite.
Expect sharing plates, burgers and late night bites. During the weekend, there will be bottomless vegan brunches and Sunday roasts. Among the breakfast choices will be cold press juices, ‘uppers’ (Chai seed and acai Bircher muesli pot) or ‘Avo go’ (crushed avocado on garlic sourdough toast topped with jalapeno spiked pico de galo). Meanwhile, among the lunch dishes will feature Seitan and Jackfruit zingy herbs and spices to transform recognisable meaty dishes into unexpected vegan delights. Meanwhile, the extensive drinks menu features fresh pressed juices, vegan cocktails, vegan wines and craft beers. The cocktail menu will comprise vegan reworkings of classic cocktails.
- The Meet launches on 2 November 2018 (soft launch from 25 October – 1 November). The Meet @ Fu Manchu, 15-16 Lendal Terrace, Clapham, SW4 7UX. Nearest station: Clapham North. Tuesday – Friday 5pm-10pm, Saturday & Sunday 11am-9:30pm. For booking enquiries, visit The Meet website.
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It has to be said – I love a good brunch. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, but I like to sleep in on weekends (when I’m not working that is), so brunch becomes a viable and attractive option by the time I emerge sleepy-eyed from my home. For Mother’s Day, I only had a few hours to spend with my dear ol’ ma (less of the old I’m sure she would say when she reads this!), so we decided to keep it simple and stay local.
Together with my sister and brother-in-law, we headed into East Dulwich and I had list of potential brunch venues to check out, depending on where had availability without a booking or queue. Having parked in the Northcross Road area, a sign for the Blue Brick Cafe caught my eye so we headed straight there. Although we were a party of four and the café looked pretty busy, they were able to accommodate us. The café is an inviting, small corner building with large windows letting in lots of light and attractive blue tiling surrounding the exterior. The café includes around seven tables and features outdoor seating for warmer months. The venue has a vintage, homely feel with old tables and schoolchairs and old bottles decorating the shelves and windowsills.
After sitting down, we were presented with the breakfast menu (vegetarian and vegan), with additional specials on the chalkboard behind us. As it was around 2pm, most of my party were opting for brunches, although my sister fancied the vegetarian risotto from the lunch specials. I ordered the Full Veggie – homemade baked beans, sourdough bread, scrambled eggs, vegetarian sausage, spinach, mushrooms and tomato. Although it was busy, we ended up waiting around 15 minutes for our food, which went quickly as we chatted while sipping our drinks. While most of my party opted for traditional hot drinks like cappuccino and lattes, I ordered the spiced hot apple and elderflower, which was a really tasty drink. When my brunch arrived, my plate was full to the brim with food, which was the perfect portion for me. The food was delicious – I particularly liked the homemade baked beans, you could really taste the difference and it was nice to have spinach included, as so many brunch places don’t offer the vegetable as an option.
Overall, we all enjoyed our brunch – and my sister her lunch of risotto. The service was friendly and swift and the café was a relaxed, quaint place with a nice, local clientele. I must go back and try lunch or dinner.
- Blue Brick Cafe, 14 Fellbrigg Road, East Dulwich, SE22 9HH. Tel: 020 8299 8670. Nearest station: East Dulwich or buses: P13, 40, 176, 185.
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