Chocolate Cupcakes, Black Vanilla & Victorian Vaults

25th September 2009

Yesterday after a morning full of chores I jumped on the no. 32 bus and headed off to West Hampstead and the bakery Bake-a-boo. I have probably known about the place for a year but the last time I thought about going they ran out of vegan cupcakes before I could get to them. I called ahead and was very excited when they were able to reserve me two of the chocolate variety.

It is very similar inside to the Primrose Bakery with shelves filled with non edible cutesy stuff and a nice homey feel. The sponge was nice and moist, but very crumbly and the icing was quite hard to the touch but wasn’t crunchy when eaten. This is probably the best shop bought vegan cupcake I have had so far, but I won’t be hanging up my apron just yet!

Next stop was meeting Sash, we had decided to try out Vanilla Black in Clerkenwell. Ring up ahead if you intend on dining here as they need notice to prepare the special vegan menu. We started off with bread rolls (freshly baked) and olive oil, this was followed by the most amazing amuse bouche of tomato and celery (I could have drunk a whole pint…I know, how unrefined of me!). The menu we were offered had a  choice of 3 starters, 3 mains and 2 desserts. After much eating out Sash and I have our ordering routine perfected – get one of everthing and share! Thus we ensure we miss out on the least amount of vegan food possible! Here’s what we went for (bad lighting in restaurant = terrible photos, sorry!):

(Clockwise: Deconstructed puy lentil dhal, Candid chilli stuffed black olives and lemon and avocado cream, Mushroom duxelle torte and burgundy sauce, Truffled potato with wilted greens and chicory)

Everything looked amazing and tasted really good. I am glad we tried it out and as you can probably tell it is fine dining. But, I’d have to agree with Sash if I was going to pay that amount again I’d rather go to Saf. It was £67 for 2 courses and a glass of wine (they currrently only have one red and one white vegan wine) for two people.

We had a little chat with the manager (?) after and she told us how they get a lot of the city workers in not realising that it is vegetarian, and how they are all pleasantly surprised. I like their approach, they are not overtly veggie, which sometimes puts people off before they even dare look at the menu.

Then it was onto the main event of the evening Twin & Tonic at Shunt. After hunting all around London Bridge we finally came across the non descript door (make sure you have photo ID or they won’t let you in) and entered. Shunt is hidden in the Victorian vaults of London Bridge station, there are a couple of bars inside and it also looked there was somewhere to eat just after the reception area. Once we got past the fear that we were going to be chopped up into little pieces and placed in one of the bags we passed on the way in, we actually started to apprecitate how cool the place was.

The venue hosts different exhibitions, artists and performers, last night there was a live art installation, some large pieces dotted around, a burlesque dancer and Twin & Tonic. You can find out a bit more about what Twin & Tonic’s style and upcoming gigs on their website or read their guest blog here.

The Twin & Tonic ladies looked lovely as always and had my toes tapping! Unfortuately this is the best I could do without a tripod and a crane to lift me over everyones heads!

Unfortunately the Shunt Lounge will only be in this current location till the 14th of November due to the re-development of the station, so if you get the chance get down there, it’s an amazing place.


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