|Photo credit: http://www.mildreds.co.uk|
I had a great time meeting with two old school friends in London yesterday! It's hard to believe we've known each other for around 26 years and have still kept in touch with each other even through various house (and country!) moves! It's now time for another one of us to move so before C skips across the pond to New Jersey we thought it'd be nice to meet up for drinks and lunch in London.
H doesn't eat meat so suggested trying out Mildred's which having been running since the late 80s seems to have built up quite a following!
We were all travelling from different locations (Reading, Leighton Buzzard, Twickenham) and decided to meet somewhere sort of central for us - the French House (one of the teeniest pubs I've ever been in!) was close to Leicester Square so perfect! After a few Breton Cidres we wandered through China Town and into Soho.
We arrived at about 4.30pm and the bar area at the front was already starting to get full. Unfortunately they don't take reservations so after we were added to the waiting list we thought it only right to try out the cocktails…
I'm not much of a cocktail girl but the ones we tried were stunning (I might have been converted)! I opted for the "Porn Star" as it sounded like the least "spirit-y" of the twelve available. Vanilla vodka, passoa (a passion fruit liqueur) and passion fruit juice all shaken together and served with a slice of passionfruit and shot of prosecco - sweet from the vanilla, sharp from the passion fruit and very refreshing! C had the Turkish Rose which a little tart and fragrant, H had the French 75 which tasted just like fresh lemonade (dangerous!).
We didn't have too long to wait before we were taken to our table. While the bar area felt quite dark and cosy, the dining area was light and airy even though it was quite a small and narrow space.
The menu wasn't massive but managed to squeeze in a really good variety of flavours from around the world. We chose two starters to share between us - the gyoza dumplings (well obviously!) and the hoummus, babaganoush and flat bread.
I am a picky gyoza eater but really enjoyed these - the skin was just the right thickness, crispy on the bottom and filled with what I think was some sort of mushroom mix which was umame all the way!
The rose harissa hoummus was good as far as hoummus goes but didn't really pick up on the rose harissa. I've never tried babaganoush before so wasn't sure what to expect or whether it was good or not but it certainly was tasty! Both of these dips were scooped and dunked with warm flat bread that was crisp on the ouside and fluffy on the inside - delicious!
Mildred's was already quite busy when we arrived but by the time our main courses arrived (about 40 minutes after our starters were delivered) it was packed and the bar was heaving.
Having had a not very healthy meal the night before (a LOT of meat…) I went for the veggie stir fry which was served with brown rice. H ordered the black bean and tomatillo rice burrito, C went for the portobello, wild mushroom and ale pie. The burrito was massive - packed with black beans and tomatillo rice and topped with grilled cheese. The mushroom pie was bursting with mushrooms and topped with a flaky golden pastry lid.
My stir fry had the perfect mix of veg - red peppers, bok chou, baby corn, coriander and slivers of chilli - and although the tofu was a beautiful texture I wish there was more of it! The sitr fry was described on the menu as "stir fried vegetables in shiitake, mirin, chilli, garlic and ginger" but couldn't really pick out any one of those flavours specifically however it did go very well with the veg and I did enjoy the dish.
We didn't go for any dessert but did spy a rather epic looking brownie on the table next to us…next time!
Overall it was a really pleasant meal - it's clear a lot of love and attention is put into the food, the cocktails were something else and the overall atmosphere was "bistro-y". The prices were a little higher than I would have expected but I'm still getting used to these "London" prices…if you are planning on visiting I would keep in mind that you will probably have to wait for a table (I overheard when we were leaving there was a 45 minute wait) so be prepared to drink cocktails!
Porn Star - £7.50
Gyoza dumplings with soya sweet chilli dipping sauce - £6.00
Rose harrisa hoummus, smokey babaganoush and chargrilled flatbread - £6.00
Black bean and tomatillo rice buritto with ranchero sauce and grilled cheese, smashed avocado, sour cream and pico de gallo - £11.00
Portobello, wild mushroom and ale pie with minted mushy peas and fries - £11.00
Stir fried vegetables in shiitake, mirin, chilli, garlic and ginger with brown rice, tofu and toasted cashews - £11.00
Mildred's Vegetarian Restaurant
45 Lexington Street
0207 494 1634
*prices correct at time of writing