I am rather excited as I have been invited to try out the Vegan A la Carte Menu at the fabulous looking Theo Randall at the InterContinental’s restaurant in Park Lane. Isn’t it super that glamorous high end restaurants are making the effort to cater for vegans? However Theo told me that this isn’t something new, they have had a vegan menu for a long time.
OK it may not be high street prices however the cost may not be as much as you think with set menus starting at less that £30 per person for a 2 course meal. The vegan menu is made up in Italian style of Antipasti, Primi, Secondi, Contorni – which is new for me. We did try something from each course however asked for smaller portions (they are very generous sizes!) and we even took food away – as I will NEVER waste food! You may decide not to have something from each course – I feel I may not next time or we will share.
The food is simply incredible. Right up there with the best meals we have ever eaten. My + 1 is my young son who said “Mummy this is the best dinner I have had in my life.”
Even though it was a busy Saturday night Theo still made time to chat with us in the kitchen before he carried on with his team.
So Theo why have a vegan menu? Many places don’t bother!!
I have always loved vegetables and we use a lot of vegetables on our menu so it made sense to create a vegan menu as well as our very popular vegetarian menu. Italian food is very vegetable orientated especially dishes from Southern Italy.
I personally feel that creating a delicious menu from vegetables is harder and takes much more thought than adding a vegetable as a garnish to fish or meat.
We have a vegan risotto on the menu which is made with courgettes and tomatoes, so to get the creamy texture of the risotto we cook the courgettes with olive oil and basil for a long time so they become almost caramelised and have so much flavour.
We mix this with a courgette purée that is really green and fresh. Then add roasted datterini tomatoes basil and a tomato Passata. Finish with lots of fresh basil sea salt and ground black pepper. The result is fantastic! You just need to think a bit harder about getting more flavour from the vegetables.
Hmmmm, now I am getting hungry again…. who is your vegan menu popular with?
The menu is popular with lots of people because on the whole we are more conscious of what we eat these days and having a vegetable based meal that is well thought out, is just as delicious as eating a meal with fish or meat. To have a menu that celebrates seasonal vegetables is really rewarding. For instance we do a pasta dish with slow cooked violet aubergines with tomato basil garlic olive oil and the flavour is amazing as well as the texture of the aubergine. I always say good food is not just about flavour it is also about texture.
What makes Theo Randall at the InterContinental stand out from other restaurants? I personally was really impressed that even the pasta is made on site.
We work very hard to produce delicious food that is seasonal and use only the best ingredients available. The quality of every ingredient in our food is of the highest quality. When you cook food that is simple and celebrates the quality of the ingredient there is no compromise. We stand out because the knowledge of the food and its ingredients are passionately explained from the kitchen to the table. We can only do this with a great kitchen and restaurant team who are passionate and love what they do.
Anything to add for the VeggieVision TV viewer Theo?
Use lentils di Puy, chickpeas, borlotti beans, cannellini beans and orzo in your cooking and you will get a great source protein. Buy good olive oil and always use vegetables that are season.
So whats on the vegan menu… and whats the cost I hear you ask….
Antipasto di verdure – Marinated red peppers, farinata, cicorino, swiss chard and Taggiasche olives, basil and cannellini beans on bruschetta £13
Insalata mista – Mixed summer leaves with datterini tomatoes, cucumber, and basil, mint and warm Castelluccio lentils £11
Risotto di zucchini e pomodoro – Risotto with courgettes, San Marzano tomatoes and basil £12
Linguine con funghi – Linguine with portobello and porcini mushrooms, garlic and parsley £14
Minestrone Primavera – soup of new season’s peas, broad beans, asparagus and zucchini £11
Linguine con melanzane e pomodoro – Linguine pasta with violet aubergines, tomatoes and basil £21
Piatto di verdure – Selection of wood roasted carrots, violet and Jerusalem artichokes, fennel, beetroots, Castelluccio lentils, spinach and peppers £19
Italian spinach Rocket salad with datterini tomatoes £5 each
We shared a homemade sorbet for desert. It was delicious.
The decor is stunning and the service was amazing. This is why at times you need to pay more that usual… even the pasta is freshly made at the restaurant, the mushrooms are marinated before cooking and the tomatoes were the best we have ever had.
Stunning food and really fantastic to see veganism on Park Lane!
So Theo…. when can I come back…?by