Where to Eat in London.... Vegetarian at Vantra Vitao, Oxford Street
Ok, so I must admit, I have walked past Vantra on Oxford Street a number of times, intrigued by the signs outside advertising their extremely healthy offering, but I've never quite been brave enough to enter. As a non-vegi, why would I? But, as I was soon to discover, as a health food fiend, I definitely would!
The owner, Phun, set up the restaurant after moving to London in the late 80's and being shocked by the stark contrast of our British diet, compiled largely of fast good and processed ingredients, to the wholesome one he followed back in Malaysia. After experimenting deep into research and experimenting into different approaches, Phun came to realie there is no one-size fits all diet - an approach I highly believe myself. As he set about mastering a flexible approach to meet the varying nutritional needs of individuals - be it gluten free, macrobiotic, raw, paleo etc - Vantra was born.
Whilst they offer an A la Carte menu in the evenings, it is the buffet, open daily from 11am - 11pm, that is the real highlight, allowing you can pile your plate high from a huge selection of different nutritious dishes. With raw salads, steamed vegan wholefood stews, fermented vegetables and super food curries, there really is something for everyone. My only trouble was knowing where to stop!!
And it seems I wasn't quite able to, as I piled my plate full with a selection of delicious gluten free pasta salad, rice jambalaya, grilled aubergines, vegetable curry, three bean chilli, fermented pickle, lentil dahl, various raw salads, a butternut squash stew. Literally, I was in wholefood heaven!
Natalie, on the other hand, was able to restrain herself a little more, keeping her selection slightly more tight with a few less options, but equally as much of them, adding the freshly steamed quinoa and potato salad to a similar stew and curry selection as mine.
As if this wasn't quite enough, we also made a small selection from the A La Carte menu - we couldn't resist! From the 'Small Dish' options, we shared the Pizzette - a buckwheat based pizza topped with a sweet tomato and seed 'cheese' - a vegan option made from sunflower seeds, it tasted even better than the real thing!
Secondly, we went for the Thai Twist from the Revitalising Mains Menu. With all options raw or lightly steamed (kept under 42C heat) this was a delicious mix of exotic fruits and raw vegetables wrapped up and served with olive oil and a fresh thai sauce. Tangy, yet delicious!
As if I hadn't been blown away enough by the amazingly healthy and nutritious, yet tasty and filling, buffet options, there was the desert menu still to come. And OMG - was this worth waiting for!
Keeping inline with their overriding health food principles, all the vegan desert options contain zero refined sugar, are gluten free, additive free, coloring free, and dairy free. So what exactly do they contain?! Lots of delicious healthy ingredients combined to make absolutely mouth watering sweet treats, that's what!!!
Price wise, Vantra is very reasonable considering the high quality produce you receive - all made by hand, from scratch in the kitchen, using seasonal and organic produce. The buffet is priced by weight, costing £1.80 per 100g - so, depending on how much takes your fancy (in our case, a LOT), you can eat very reasonably or very expensively - but at least you know you get your moneys worth! The A La Carte menu was slightly more expensive, with small dishes priced around £5.50 and mains around £13.00. If I'm honest, whilst the A la Carte is a nice option for a more intimate meal, with so many delicious options on offer in the buffet, it would most definately be this option that I return for. Oh, and the chocolate ganache of course - that's a must!!
Fueling the body in a healthy, nutritious, sustainable and, above all, fantastically tasty way- Vantra, thank you for an amazing experience, I can't wait to come back!