|Vantra Vitao buffet selection|
I follow Vantra Vitao on Facebook and had been admiring their dessert photos for months. They are also quite well reviewed, and so I entered with high expectations. The restaurant has minimal street space but is long and narrow, with 10 or so 2-seater tables and perhaps half a dozen larger ones. The interior is quite dark, and I apologise for my poor phone photos, but is attractively set up. I liked the wooden tables and the bathrooms at the back were clean and well maintained.
|Vantra Vitao - wooden tables|
The lunchtime buffet is not huge, but does include a good mix of raw and hot dishes. It was a little hard to know the system as staff were not readily available, but I found a (very large!) silver plate to load up and followed what others were doing. I did see some people with more normal sized white plates, but I don't know where they got them from. In addition to the eat in, pay by weight approach, you can also fill takeaway containers for a set price.
|Appalling photography, but a good mix of food|
My dishes included a raw apple and beetroot salad, pickled vegetables, a chickpea and quinoa dish, and some curry and brown rice. It was all good food, but I have to confess it didn't dazzle me. Other than the pickled vegetables, I could have made it at home. I had a modest selection and the price also came in at more than I'd have expected, over £5 for a small plate.
I was most interested in the desserts anyway, so moved on from my savoury selections to choose a raw chocolate coconut cupcake and a soya milk latte. They offer soya and coconut milk but not almond, which would otherwise have been my first choice.
I am sorry not to leave a more positive review, although on looking at Trip Advisor reviews again, there are mixed comments on there. Some of it may be personal taste and obviously there are lots of people who love the place and find the food inspiring. If I came across Vantra Vitao while travelling, I would also be delighted to have a selection of fresh, whole food dishes to choose from. However, as a local option in a city with lots of vegan choices, I don't think I'll be going back.
|Winter sunshine and a Wholefoods lunch|
To end on a more positive note, I have continued to enjoy products from both Planet Organic and Wholefoods. Strange as it may seem, it was only recently that I ventured to test the Wholefoods buffet. Now I know what people rave about! The selection of vegan dishes was excellent and I enjoyed a mix of spicy couscous, roasted carrots, a Mexican corn salad, kale, and tofu. It deserves note, however, that Mr Bite tried his first Wholefoods sandwich that day and couldn't even finish it. He chose a basic cheese and salad roll and thought the roll was dry and the cheese tasteless.
At a different lunchtime, I was delighted to spot vegan, brown rice, teriyaki tofu sushi in the Piccadilly Wholefoods. I didn't like the vegan mayonnaise (I have never liked mayonnaise) but otherwise loved it. That store also provided me with the best coffee I've had since leaving Australia, an almond milk cappuccino that was beautifully mellow and not at all bitter.
So, mixed eating, but I do feel lucky to be able to explore so many vegan options nearly on my doorstep.
Vantra Vitao is located at 25-27 Oxford Street, London, W1D 2DW - just next to the Tottenham Court tube station. They have a website at http://vantra.co.uk/ .
I frequent the Piccadilly circus and Kensington High Street Wholefoods stores.
Have you eaten anywhere recently that struggled to meet your expectations?