Stop what you’re doing and head straight to Mildreds. You’ll find her in Soho, London. Some might say she’s a little bland and nothing special, but those people clearly haven’t stepped inside.
From the street Mildreds looks like your average cafe in London; cute, small and busy. However, Mildreds is anything but average. She is the Queen. That’s the Queen of Vegetarian restaurants in London. And before, you grumble at the lack of meat, let me assure you that my carnivorous Mr said Mildreds rocked his world too. *Shock horror at a meat-eater loving a vegetarian restaurant*
It’s a teeny, tiny cafe. One of those where you have to squeeze past your fellow diners and the waiting staff to get to your seat and small table. The staff are those super cool (and good looking), European Bohemian types so it’s not exactly a hardship. This set-up also allows you to scope out the dishes. “Oooh what’s he carrying?”, “OMG it smells amazing”.
It’s fair to say that you’ll be excited to browse the menu as soon as you’ve managed to get to your table. That excitement is a rarity for a vegetarian. Too often the restaurant that caters for vegetarians actually means that it has one dish out of fifteen for non-meat eaters. I nearly always win the bet that the dish is a mushroom risotto.
Thankfully Mildreds is the complete opposite. The menu is full of mouth-watering options. Just to add to the dilemma of choosing just one starter and main you’ll also have the specials board to consider. Decisions, decisions!
The Middle Eastern sharing platter (falafel with tahini, spanakopita, beetroot yoghurt dip, chilli feta dip and flat bread) is VERY tempting, as is the panfried halloumi, cherry tomato and wilted spinach with balsamic glaze. After agonising over the dishes we went for the Mexican sharing platter (spicy black turtle beans, chipotle sour cream, guacamole, cornchips, mango, brie and jalapeno quesadilla with pico de gallo). It’s perfect for two and absolutely delicious. You can really taste that it’s freshly made and that a lot (if not all) of the ingredients are organic.
Picking a main course is equally as difficult. They’re just all so good. How about Sri Lankan sweet potato and cashew nut curry with yellow basmati rice with peas and coconut tomato sambal? Or, what about a taste of Morocco with a lentil, chickpea and mixed squash tagine, with pickled lemon and date couscous, and spiced yoghurt.
Although tempted we didn’t go for either of those options. The Mr went for the burger of the day in a sour dough bun with relish, red onion, rocket and tomato, topped with Monterey Jack cheese. It’s served with fries and basil mayo, which are something else. Not the most photogenic, but it’s seriously good.
I went for the fresh tortellini filled with pumpkin and ricotta, served in a chestnut mushroom and white wine cream sauce, drizzled with truffle oil. To say it was insanely rich is an understatement. Every mouthful was a parcel of creamy deliciousness. Admittedly I couldn’t finish it, but I had fun trying.
If you can enjoy a starter and a main course, and then still have space for dessert at Mildreds you deserve an award. A self-confessed dessert extraordinaire, I had to shun the chocolate peanut butter brownie with ice cream and chocolate sauce, and the damson and vanilla ripple cheesecake with amaretto biscuit base. *Sob*
However, a few minutes of exercise to walk off my meal soon allowed me to pop into nearby Snowflake. You can’t go wrong with either the dessert at Mildreds or at the luxury gelato spot. Your only mistake will be if you skip dessert altogether.
Mildreds has been on the block since 1988. It’s no surprise that this acclaimed cafe often has a queue out of the door. Not only is the food outstanding, but it’s also really, really affordable for central London. It’s impressive that starters and desserts only cost around a £5, with sharing platters at about £12. Mains cost about £10. It may have taken me an age to get to Mildreds, but I will definitely be back and I’d urge you to visit too.
You’ll find Mildreds at 45 Lexington Street, Soho, London, W1F 9AN.
Have you been to Mildreds? Where is your favourite vegetarian restaurant? X
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