I was recently invited to pay the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill a visit, to dine in their restaurant ‘The Montague’ and experience their new Vegan menu. I have to say, I’ve never really considered vegetarianism, let alone going fully vegan. A vegan abstains from the use of animal products, particularly in their diet – but it often extends to not wearing leather or similar other life choices. Apparently Beyond and Jay Z recently went vegan for a month or so – so apparently this is the new diet trend. I went into this meal though just curious how the meal might taste without any meat or animal products in there (no milk, cheese etc). My initial expectation was that it would be nice, but mainly salad and there may be a high likelihood I would be craving more food after the meal was over.
First things first, the menu was a bit of a special treat as it was being served by the lovely chef Ali Parvinjah who is also a martial arts expert and mostly based in LA. But was visiting the hotel to launch the new menu – and I was lucky enough to be dining at the Chef’s table. Not an experience I’ve had before, but found it absolutely fascinating to see my own food created and plated up in front of me – and also to be able to watch the buzz of the kitchen behind. I suspect the kitchen that is on show is very much one on best behaviour as there was no sign of any Gordon Ramsey-esque outbursts.
We started with the sample menu – a starter of air dried cherry tomato, cashew cheese with rocket and a lime vinaigrette – the biggest surprise here was the delicious cashew cheese. This stuff is delicious – I am a big cheese fan (probably one of the reasons I wouldn’t consider the vegan lifestyle permanently) but this surprised me – and throughout the meal, where there were many of nut-cheese concoctions. It made me totally forget that dairy was missing from the meal all together.
For the main we had Portobello Mushroom Filet – which is ‘the steak of the vegan world’, I love mushrooms so can mostly get on board with this – I think for this one if I was ordering it as my main meal was the one I’d want a larger sized portion – but I suspect the size very much comes down to the fact this was the tasting menu, rather than full. But it was very tasty (just make sure you take a mirror for any left over hemp seeds that may lodge themselves in your teeth…)
We then ventured off menu and tried what was 100% my favourite dish – and even just writing about it now makes me wish I could have some again. It was so tasty – this was the blackened tofu with grilled sprouting broccoli. Absolutely delicious, full of flavour and definitely the one where I’d feel meat was missing the least.
Then we opened up a whole new can of (Vegan) worms with the desert offerings… oh boy were these tasty! So rich and creamy, but without a hint of dairy?! How on Earth… I still can’t get my head around nut-milk or ice cream made from nuts… but it is truly delicious. One of my other favourites was the raw cacao vanilla cheese cake – so creamy, so rich. Amazing. This is definitely a major plus point – if you’re vegan and maybe have your moments when you miss the taste of dairy – you need to eat here, as it doesn’t feel like it’s missing at all.
I hope this little post has tempted you to maybe try a little taste of vegan life – one of the things Chef Ali was saying was that some people just make the choice to live vegan one day a week. Even if you maybe just want to feel a bit lighter and healthier after a vegetable based meal then this is a great place to try. Amazing luxury ambience and delicious vegan offerings. My top pick is without a doubt the tofu and broccoli. Yum.
The Vegan Menu choices will be on the menu at The Montague at The Churchill permanently – with a set menu costing £25 for three courses.
I was a guest of The Montague.