I have got the chance to test quite a selection of wonderful vegan food in Tendril recently, when I was invited to a wine tasting with Oxford Landing Wines. They are an Australian wine brand and they have sustainably produced vegan wines, which are really nice and reasonably priced. The event was created to introduce their new, lower alcohol range of Chardonnay and Shiraz wines. I find the idea great, as I do like wine but with lower alcohol wine I can keep my alcohol intake in moderation. What a great idea though: you don’t necessarily opt for alcohol-free wine when there are low-alcohol ones also available.
But back to the event and Tendril.
I did hear good things about Tendril prior to my visit, so I must admit I did have high hopes.
Tendril is very “the place to be” these days, located in fancy Mayfair. It’s a small, independent and mostly vegan restaurant with a huge buzz about right now. Obviously, there is still a shortage of interesting veggie restaurants where not everything comes curried. Even in London. So Tendril, great to see you. Created by executive chef Rishim Sachdeva (also founder), Tendril offers a very innovative menu based on plants. Mostly plants.
Address: 5 Princes Street, (2 minutes from Oxford Circus/Bond St. stations) London W1B 2LQ
What I thought about Tendril
People are raving about Tendril all over Instagram and Tripadvisor. Not surprisingly. Tendril aims to cook up such vegan and vegetarian dishes that aren’t represent any particular cuisine that to me is the very definition of modern, sustainable world cuisine. Middle-Eastern, South-Asian, a hint of Pakistani, French and probably more. Without anything fake or processed, just focusing on the best properties of each vegetable and combining them with a magic wand. It’s way past fusion kitchen. It’s food evolution.
The presentation is simply haute-cuisine. The dishes are absolutely beautiful to look at too. But the taste…. they taste superior to anything I had in really good restaurants as the only vegan dish in each menu section. Well, they are mostly there just to please the few vegans going out for a meal with their friends and family. Not in Tendril. In Tendril, plants are the standard. It’s a different world for sure. It’s where I belong. The food was so exciting, I felt like opening Christmas presents by tasting every new dish.
I’ve tried the following dishes:
These are from their set/festive menu £35 but they are also individually available a la carte at £5.5 – £19 and I choose the fully vegan options.
- White bean with chilli and garlic – Starter dish, as much excitement as you can imagine from puréed white beans, however the garlic and chilli really add a bit of an oopmh to it. Very delicate and smooth.
- Aubegine with kalamatas and tahini (with sourdough) – This was beautifully smoked aubergine with a lot of texture and flavour. I never knew smoked aubergine can be this delicious. I want to say this was my favourite, but to be honest the rest was up there too, really hard to decide.
- Smoked celeriac croquette with harissa – This was also one of my favourites, really crispy. The smokey celeriac was spot on, again such an unusual way of preparing celeriac.
- Leek fritter with curry leaf aioli – Deep fried heaven but soft in the middle (a bit like onion bhaji in texture but not the taste), I only managed to eat one as at this point I was really full. Not because I ate so much in quantities but because great flavours satisfy you quicker, even if you eat less.
- Cauliflower massaman with coconut and plums – Gorgeous dish, the sauce was very similar to ajvar. This was a showstopper. There were so many layers of flavours in this dish, a fireworks of flavours! And it was also beautifully served.
I’m not a dessert type of person, especially after a super satisfying savoury meal(s), so I skipped that, but looked lovely.
I want to go again and again. I want to take people and show them how exciting plant based food can be. So exciting, that you forget that it’s vegan, all you think about whilst eating, that just how beautiful is this food.
The service was ok and the ambience could be a little more upbeat – it’s a little bland and muted, even with the cocktail bar it’s just a bit underwhelming, but then again, you won’t be able to focus on much apart from the fantastic food.