Please wait, the site is loading...

In our March issue we rated a few of the top veggie restaurants in the country - along with Vanilla Black in East London, Terre à Terre in Brighton and Greens in Manchester, Pippa Ridley visited The Gate (EC1) and our former Art Director, Liz, visited Manna restaurant, Primrose Hill. Needless to say, they were both pretty impressed!

We also tried and tasted Woodlands in Marylebone and Rasa in Stoke Newington, both vegetarian Indian restaurants...scroll down to see our recommendations of what to pick off the menus.

The Gate by Pippa Ridley

Veggie Pippa Ridley visited with her carnivore husband, Robert.

THE RESTAURANT

The Gate is the younger sibling of The Gate Hammersmith, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. Run by brothers Michael and Adrian Daniel, the menu is a fusion of cuisines from 'a couple of guys who knew food was sacred and should be celebrated'. They describe their upbringing and foodie influences as 'Indo-Iraqi Jewish'.

THE FOOD

Our evening began with a bottle of Picpoul at a hefty £25, being promptly served at the perfect temperature for a Frenchman, but maybe a tad too warm for our British taste. Scrumptious breads made by Flour Power arrived with infused extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic for dipping – well worth the extra £3.

TO START: We shared a couple of mezze dishes. The baby artichoke filled with goats' cheese and basil came served on a salad of Puy lentils and was simply delicious and clean-tasting. Unfortunately the Parmesan galette, despite tasting 'wholesome', somehow lacked the finesse of the former. A feta and couscous fritter was moreish, the wild mushroom ceviche less so.

MAINS: Chargrilled aubergine coated in chermoula couscous with an array of fillings was perfectly presented and executed considering the number of ingredients used, while the asparagus rotolo was clumsy – harking back to veggie dishes of yesteryear.

DESSERTS: Both full but tempted by the desserts on offer, we plumped for the selection – and they were great! A stunning summer pudding, a lavender crème brûlée with a delicate aroma, a squidgy chocolate marquise and the best elderflower sorbet, which cleansed the palate.

OVERALL EXPERIENCE

Pippa: As a veggie it was amazing to have choice – all too often there is only one option. This, plus the lovely atmosphere and charming waiters made for an enjoyable evening. 8/10

Robert: On those occasions when meat is not an option, this would be a good alternative – just be bold with your choices. 7/10

Starters £5.50-£7.75
Mains £12.75-£15.50

Manna restaurant by Liz Baird


The restaurant

Manna is a cute understated neighbourhood restaurant that sits on a leafy side street in the affluent north London village of Primrose Hill. It's more than 40 years old, making it one of the oldest vegetarian restaurants in London, if not the country.

The food

TO START: We chose the Manna meze (£20) – a selection of any three starters or salads. We opted for nachos especiales (crisp tortilla topped with black beans, homemade cashew cheese, guacamole and salsa), vegetable tempura and the jalapeno cashew cheese croquettes. All were really generous in size. The tempura was beautifully crisp and was served with sweet chilli and tempura dipping sauces, which were a real hit with the girls.

FOR MAINS: Isabella (eight) and Imogen (five) chose organic fennel and pumpkin seed bangers with parsnip and carrot mash, which they enthusiastically demolished without realising that the sausages weren't meat.

I chose the Caribbean platter – a warming Jamaican pot stew of coconut milk and seasonal vegetables, aromatic rice, a jerk tofu, plaintain and red onion kebab, served with a pineapple, ackee and a grated courgette salsa. I loved the mix of flavours and textures in the food but found the salsa a little watery.

Alistair had smoked cashew cheese fajitas, which were served with green rice, guacamole and carrot salsa. He loved how the smokiness of the cheese cut through the dish.

DESSERTS: The definite highlight for me. Lemon and blueberry cheesecake packed a fruity punch and the ice cream was lovely and creamy. I encouraged our daughters to order one each, then proceeded to help them to eat them.

OVERALL EXPERIENCE

It's not often vegetarians can have any pick of the menu - so Alistair ate far too much! The prettiness of the food had a positive effect on our children and encouraged them to try and enjoy bean sprouts, carrot and celeriac. The food was good with lots of subtle details and big, bold flavours from around the world. The staff were friendly and attentive without being fussy. Nice atmosphere and popular. It got busy around 7.30pm, so you'll need to book.

A three-course meal with wine for two adults and two children came to around £100.

Woodlands restaurant, Marylebone by Jane Wellings

We really liked it there. The prices were reasonable and the portions generous. The restaurant is tucked away off the High Street in Marylebone and simply decorated but clean and comfortable. The staff were welcoming and attentive. It always seems to be busy whenever we pass by and that must be a good sign.

I ate the cashew nut pakora, which was absolutely delicious and the Medu Vada (lentil doughnuts – they might sound weird but they are lovely) and some dosas. The lemon rice was amazing and all the pickles and relishes were delicious– quite different to any other Indian restaurant I've been to. All the food was very fresh-tasting with lots of herbs, spices and coconut flavours. I also know someone whose sister's wedding had been catered by Woodlands and she said it was wonderful food.

Rasa Vegetarian, Stoke Newington by Lisa Harris

A bright pink beacon to vegetarian cuisine, Rasa has been serving North London a real South Indian feast since 1994. Famously championed by the likes of Jamie Oliver and India Knight, Rasa has twice earned the title of Time Out's Best Vegetarian Restaurant – and we can see why.

The menu is almost entirely based on traditional dishes from Kerala, on the West coast of India. Rasa's flavours are as vibrant as the noisy Kathakali dancing that echoes through the region's temples, and the menu is scattered with quintessentially Keralan ingredients like fragrant roasted coconut, mango and hot green chilies. Whilst many Indian restaurants give you a dry poppadom to nibble on whilst you sip a Cobra beer, Rasa's snacks are as delicate and thoughtful as the main event.

Try crisp banana chips, crunchy murukku sticks or battered poppadoms dipped in cumin and sesame seeds for extra crunch. Unless you're a regular, one of the joys of Rasa is that so many of the dishes will be new: do try the steamed lentil idli cakes (traditionally eaten for breakfast) or dig into the paper-thin, black gram masala dosa pancake, wrapped around a comfortingly spiced potato filling. Both come with sambar sauce and coconut chutney – we always order extra!

 

About the author

Sarah Alcock

We value your privacy

We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our site and to allow us and third parties to customise the marketing content you see across websites and social media. For more information see our cookie policy.

Cookie Preference Centre

Learn more about what each cookie category does and choose your settings (toggle right to opt in or left to opt out). Cookie policy


Strictly Necessary

These technologies are needed to enable our websites and apps to run and to keep it secure.

Sainsbury's Magazine

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
PHPSESSID Until the browsing session ends
device_view 1 month
recentlyViewedRecipes 1 year
subscription-{popup-version-date}-PopupClosed 12 days

Vimeo

Enables Vimeo videos on the site

Cookie name Duration
_derived_epik 1 year

Constant Commerce

Enables shopping tools for recipe ingredients

Cookie name Duration
cc_a_h 10 years
cc_a_s Until the browsing session ends

DoubleClick

DoubleClick Digital Marketing (DDM) is an integrated ad-technology platform that enables us to more effectively create, manage and grow high-impact digital marketing campaigns.

Cookie name Duration
DSID 10 days
IDE 1 year
RUL 11 months

Performance/Analytics

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Google

Google Analytics tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
__gads 13 months
_ga 28 months
_gat 1 minute
_gid 1 day
1P_JAR 1 month
ANID 10 days
CONSENT 18 years
NID 6 months
__Secure-3PAPISID 2 years
__Secure-3PSID 2 years
__Secure-3PSIDCC 1 year

Marketing/Targeting

These technologies help us decide which products, services and offers may be relevant for you. We use this data to customise the marketing content you see on websites, apps and social media. They also help us understand the performance of our marketing activities. These cookies are set by us or our carefully-selected third parties.

Pinterest

Pinterest conversion tracking gathers conversion insights and builds audiences to target based on actions our visitors have taken on the site.

Cookie name Duration
_pinterest_ct_rt 1 year
_pinterest_ct_ua 1 year
_pin_unauth 1 year

Outbrain

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
outbrain_cid_fetch 5 minutes
adrl 5 weeks
apnxs 6 weeks
criteo 2 months
obuid 6 months

Twitter

Twitter conversion tracking enables us to measure our return on ad spend by tracking the actions people take after viewing or engaging with our ads on Twitter.

Cookie name Duration
personalization_id 2 years
muc 2 years
ads_prefs 5 years
auth_token 5 years
dnt 5 years
guest_id 2 years
twid 5 years