I don’t very often do restaurant reviews here, generally because I usually forget my camera, or the room is very dark, or, even when I put my camera on the table to remind me, I still forget to take pictures.
However, on our recent trip to Manna on a beautiful spring lunchtime saw us sitting in the window with camera at the ready. Manna is in a lovely part of London. I’d been twice before but I wasn’t vegan then and neither was the restaurant. Manna still refers to itself as a vegetarian restaurant but close inspection of the menu reveals that everything they serve is vegan. Our group of one vegan, one vegetarian and one omnivore drooled over the menu and the choice of specials.
Of the three starters, the smoked tofu and potato roulade was the dish of the day and brought out the worst in my food envy side.
However, the other 2 starters were none too shabby either – a rich, creamy courgette and ricotta tart:
and mine – I can’t remember the extact name of it but it was chickpea cakes with raita and tamarind chutney, or similar:
On their own the cakes were a touch dry but with the raita and chutney they were delicious.
On to the mains. I had the Sunday roast special, which was a roast butternut squash and almond wellington with roasted potatoes, cauliflower and a tasty sauce (can’t remember exactly what it was). Slightly sweet from the squash but balanced by the rich sauce.
The organic bangers and mash were a big hit with the omnivore, who pronounced the onion rings as the best he’d ever eaten
If there is any kind of pasta dish with meatballs on a menu I would put my house on Matthew ordering it and I’d have been right this time too. I didn’t think this was all that brilliant; it was bit like tinned spaghetti to me, but he enjoyed it:
Finally desserts. I was pretty full but I wanted a glass of dessert wine so I chose to have the petit fours
Intensely chcocolatey truffles, melt in the mouth cantucci biscuits and little lemon pastries. Delicious. The boys showed no such restraint. One of them had the German chocolate cake, which defied my expectations by being feather light, yet sweet and unctuous
Matthew went for the fruit crumble, which happened to be apple. When presented with a choice of cream, ice cream or custard, he hesitated just long enough for the waiter to offer all three. In the name of research, he bravely agreed to try all three
This is the first time I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant in this country and been able to try everything on the menu. Even though three of us were eating, giving me a triple opportunity to try things, I was still paralysed with indecision and I was quite pleased that I don’t usually have so much to choose from. All of us thoroughly enjoyed the food, even the omnivore, which I think is a sign of a restaurant doing vegan food well. This isn’t food for vegans, it’s food for anyone which just happens to be vegan. And judging by how busy the restaurant was by the time we left, there are plenty of other people who enjoy it too.