With January being the time to shake things up and try something new, thousands of people opted for a plant-based diet for the first month of 2017, with the encouragement and support of Veganuary and their partners, such as All Bar One! Loads of restaurants are dipping their toes into vegan options (some better than others), with offers so that those trying something new so that they can cater for those wanting to try something different and/or change their eating habits (after over indulging over the Christmas period)! All Bar One are definitely one of the better ones, with some great flavoursome varied vegan options. I went to test some of the dishes on the menu, with my fellow vegan friend Gemma.
On arrival at the Leicester Square branch of All Bar One (which I understand has recently had a total makeover – it looked great inside!), I noticed that all the tables were kitted out with their usual food and drink menus, plus the special little Veganuary menu too. Inside the Vegan menu there was a pretty good range of varied options – especially good compared to other non-vegan/vegetarian specific restaurants I’ve been to in the past. There were 9 dishes available in total, small plates, main plates and desserts – three of each, and two suggested ‘Firefly Natural. drinks.
They have an offer running for the month that’s listed as a “Veganuary Set Menu”, the wording for this was a little confusing, as it wasn’t clear if the set menu was a particular selection of dishes, or anything from the menu, but the waitress was helpful and explained we could choose anything. The deal was two courses for £10, or three for £13. We ordered two Peach Melba mocktails, a small plate, main plate, and dessert each (plus an extra small plate to share because it all sounded so good).
Patatas Bravas – potatoes served as small crispy chunks, with a bowl in the centre of spicy tomato & red pepper sauce for dipping. Perfect sized portion for us to share and the dish we finished the fastest.
Crushed Avocado & Tomato Bruschetta – my favourite of the small plates, simple but very tasty. They were also topped with chopped Kalamata olives, which added a nice extra flavour. A very simple dish and perfect if you’re a little peckish (or to have as a starter before a larger meal).
Tomato, Vegetable & Quinoa Soup – this was really tasty, but probably the least exciting dish out of them all for me. The portion was a little small, especially considering the menu price was £4.95 as a stand alone dish. (After double checking the menu it actually seems that this was supposed to be served with warm ciabatta topped with salsa, however sadly we didn’t receive this).
Miso Rice Bowl – not a dish I would have ordered if it were just me, however Gemma was super keen and I’m so glad we got it. It was very tasty, without being overly fancy. In the bowl was pak choi, peppers, sugar snaps, carrot, peashoot, and sesame. The menu said it should be served with sriracha and soy on top, but I think this might have been forgotten about. However, the presentation was rather lovely and it tasted great nevertheless.
Kale Pakora & Houmous Flatbread – when this arrived, it looked a lot like a falafel and houmous flat bread, but after trying it, I tasted the jackfruit chutney which was served with it, and it was seriously good… Much more interesting flavours than simply having houmous and falafel (which often seems to be one of the few vegan options)!
There was also a Superfood Salad on the menu that we didn’t try, with a whole range of ingredients including: baby kale, quinoa, cauliflower, carrot, pineapple and ginger dressing, and omega seed sprinkles.
We ordered all the food at the same time, but this did seem to confuse the waitress a little and she asked us if we wanted her to bring the desserts over with the rest of our food… I’m not sure there even would have been space on our table for it, even if we had wanted it right away!
Coconut & Vanilla Rice Pudding – I’ve never been a rice pudding fan, but rather than sticking to my usual choice of sorbet, I went for this. It was served with a dollop of blueberry compote and whilst the flavours were very tasty (I absolutely love coconut), I’m not really a fan of the texture of rice pudding, so probably wouldn’t order this again. I’m glad I tried something new though!
Chocolate, Chilli and Cardomam Cake – This was actually Gemma’s dessert choice, I was pretty unsure of the Cardomam ingredient, however the flavour of the cake was gentle and a little warming from the chilli, without being too overpowering from the unusual flavours.
Also on the menu was a Raspberry Sorbet – I chose not to get it this time as I aaaalways get sorbet for dessert, and although it is always delicious, I thought I would try the others that were a little different.
Overall the meal and evening was great, despite a couple of things being forgotten about on some of the dishes, everything was very pleasant and the atmosphere was relaxed and the location was great and easy to get to. I think this would be a great place to have a casual catch up with friends, or a date night.
Veganuary is still in full swing, and there’s time left for those of you dabbling with a plant based diet this month (or for the full time vegans) to pop down before January is up, to try out some of the tasty things on offer. I’m not aware if they will continue selling these vegan options after Veganuary finishes (fingers crossed they do – will update this blog if I find out)! Check out what All Bar One have to say about Veganuary and their Vegan menu here.
Big thank you to All Bar One for having us – it was lovely to be able to taste nearly every dish on offer, I really hope that some of the dishes will become permanent features on the food menu… We’ll have to wait and see. If you head down and try anything from the menu, please let me know in the comments what you thought!
This meal was free of charge, but this has not affected my opinion of the food, service or experience.