Unico

When my mum came to visit me in the beginning of June, we were in the bus and we saw a place what was going to be an ice cream bar soon: Unico! It said it was going to have vegan options too, so I straight away made note in my phone. In the end of July, I had finally found some time to go and I was super excited. First of all, it looked super nice, very new, bright and fresh! There were some people before me, so I took this time to take some pictures and to look at the menu. There are quite a lot of seats, because you can also sit down stairs and they don’t only offer ice cream, but also: cake, sandwiches, tea and coffee. What a lovely shop!

The guy who served me knew a lot and he was very kind and super helpful. Very much appreciated! They have over 10 different vegan flavours, but there are only 3-4 flavours available a day. Today that was strawberry, mango and dark chocolate. This is because they make their ice cream fresh every day and they don’t want to throw away too much. Their ice cream is low in fat, high in fiber, protein and vitamins. What is an exciting thing! He let me taste the chocolate when I said that I loved the fact that there was a chocolate available. Mango was one of his favourites and so he let me taste that one too. Both of them were very delicious! I’m very sorry for all the other ice cream shops I’ve been to, but this was the best chocolate and mango ice cream I’ve ever had. I did like the chocolate a little bit better than the mango, but that is just because it’s chocolate. It was just so creamy and full of rich chocolate flavour. It’s like eating cold chocolate fudge. I ordered these 2 flavours, because I wanted more of course. I got it served in this super cute cup, but he told me that soon there will be vegan cones too. Yay! (I’ll be back!)

Like I said, there is more than just ice cream. The little sandwiched they have, are called ‘bubbles’. They are super cute to see, like little wrapped ‘bubbles’. They are small filled buns and they make them warm for you. I had the Genova and it’s with potatoes, green beans and pesto sauce. There is also one with seasonal vegetables. The bubbles are the only thing they don’t make in the shop itself, but they let them come over from Italy. I’ve never seen them before, but it was very tasty. Now the cake. They have a lot of different cakes, but only one vegan one. Hopefully there will be more soon. The one they offered was a raw chocolate and cashew one.. so even though it was the only option, it was surely a good one. I didn’t taste it, but I’m sure it was delicious. It looked amazing. Maybe a next time.

I want to thank Unico for their delicious ice cream and sandwich!

WHO? Unico.
WHERE? 37 Pembridge Rd, Notting Hill, W11 3HG.
CUISINE? Italian.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 9 (Amazing ice cream, lovely sandwiches, bright interior and great service)

Did you already know Unico? Or are you planning to go here now? You do need to try the chocolate ice cream! Please tell me about your experience! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Vegan Hippo

Vegan Hippo is in Soho and I have no idea why I’ve never been here before. I knew about them for quite long, it’s next to a street where I used to come quite often and I’ve seen them on vegan festivals. I heard some mixed messages about them though. Some really like it and some really don’t. What made me very curious. So as I was in the neighbourhood a while ago, I decided to go and discover it for myself. It’s a little hidden in the many streets of Soho, in between some sex shops. Oops! It’s super central though, as it’s only a 5 minute walk from Piccadilly Circus. As soon as you’re in the right street, you can’t miss them, because they made themselves quite clear with the bright orange and huge purple hippo above the entrance.

For me it felt a little bit like I was in Berlin. I’m sure they would do great there too. It looks slightly messy inside, with the many, totally different animal statues. But because of this they very much created their own style. They were very helpful and were offering me a range of different foods of their menu to try and review. Super kind! Their best seller is the jackfruit burger and it comes with cheese and big chunks of avocado. I think a burger is especially good when the bun is good too and that was definitely the case with this one. It’s all such a good combination, I really get why people like this burger. Definitely try this burger when you’re here. They also gave me some jackfruit bites, called ‘Hippo Bites’ (I know it’s cuz they are called Vegan Hippo, but I do just really like this name for these bites). They’re pieces of whole jackfruit with a little coating of herbs and spices and come with a red sauce. Super yum and very new, because I’ve never had or seen something similar somewhere else. Then I didn’t know they were going to bring me something else, but they did. The ‘Hippo kebab’! A pita bread filled with vegan kebab pieces, lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, tomato and sauce. The little kebab pieces were very chewy and very tasty (definitely my kind of thing). I did miss a little more veggies (more lettuce maybe) in there, though the crispy cabbage made it a nice overall combination. I wasn’t able to eat it anymore though, because I was so full of the burger. So they packed it for me to take away and I had it later that day.

On the menu are also hotdogs, another burger, (sweet potato) fries and kale crisps. For drinks they have several coffees and teas (chai latte!), a hot chocolate and some chilled drinks in the fridge, like smoothies, coconut water and fizzy drinks from Whole Earth. In the fridge they also have some foods, like a bean-, potato- and pasta pesto salad, chocolate dates, cake and even vego bars. As a dessert they also offer a chocolate and a strawberry cheesecake. There was also a rainbow cake, which was almost finished, so I’m sure it must be good. What I really like about Vegan Hippo is that you get the feeling that they are really doing it for the animals. There are references to animals  everywhere, except in the food. The way it should be. For example, you can choose an animals from the basket as a table number (I chose the pig.. duhh!!). I love this idea! They also have reasonable prices btw, what is always a positive.

I want to thank Vegan Hippo for the awesome food! 

WHO? Vegan Hippo.
WHERE? 52 Rupert St, Soho, W1D 6DS.
CUISINE? Fast Food.
VEGAN? Yes!
OVERALL? 8 (Very yummy food, it’s central and they have love for animals)

Did you already know Vegan Hippo? Are you planning to get a yourself Jackfruit burger now? Please tell me about your experience! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Ethos

A while ago I heard about Ethos. It looked quite posh and I thought it might not be my thing, but I wanted to know more about it. So I went to see what it was like. Ethos is very central, just a 2 minute walk from Oxford Circus. So if you’re going shopping for the day, Ethos is not far away for a proper lunch. As you know Oxford Street is very busy, but because Ethos is in a street behind it, it’s a lot quieter. The building looks very nice with the wood in the front nice and it does look quite posh. Going inside almost feels like entering a luxury hotel or something. There are a lot of trees and plants, to create some privacy in between the tables. I absolutely love it. I was served by a waiter I actually knew from tennis lessons about a year ago, what was very funny. He helped me to a seat and gave me lots of information about the restaurant. Super handy!

The food is right at the entrance. It starts with cakes and treats, then the hot food and in the end the cold bar. Ethos is like a buffet. You can get all the yummy looking foods you want and at the till they weigh your food and that is what you pay for. I tried all the vegan options, because I was too curious of course. So in the end I had a big colourful plate. Something you’ll definitely notice, is that the food is all very fresh. I did like the food, just some things had a very strong taste (mustard, vinegar etc). Like the aubergine was cooked well, but the flavour was spicy and sour. There was basically no other flavour. The chickpeas, the green beans and the little cornball in the middle were very yummy though. For the cakes and treats you pay per cake/slice, instead of by weight. I chose 2, one as a dessert and one to take away. Just because I couldn’t choose. Both things I chose were super delicious! Their desserts and treats are amazing I must say. The coconut in the raw heart (with rose petals) was so yum, I definitely want to eat that again. The blondie was very nice too. It was a little bit in between a brownie and a biscuit. Very good! They also do chai lattes, matcha lattes, other teas and of course coffees. This is why Ethos is not only good for lunch, but it’s also nice to just have an afternoon break with tea and cake. And for everybody who rather has a juice or an ice tea.. they have a lot of choice in drinks too. I’m sure you can find something you like.

Ethos is all vegetarian and they do have a lot of vegan food. I’d say more than half is vegan, so there is a lot of choice. It’s quite a posh restaurant, but with some good natural vibes. So perfect for formal lunches or work meetings. As it’s a buffet, there is always something you like. What makes it easy to go to if you (or the people you go with) are picky. I do think that they are a little expensive though. For the food you see on my plate I payed a little over £16. The treats were £7 pounds together. So it’s not a very cheap lunch. If you eat a little less and you choose 1 dessert, you probably pay in between £15-£20 pounds. Personally it’s not something I’d go to every week, but more for special occasions. Because you pay by weight and it’s not an all you can eat buffet, I’m sure people will think twice about what to put on their plate. This is very positive if you ask me, because there will be less food waste. Much more sustainable this way.

WHO? Ethos.
WHERE? 48 Eastcastle St, Fitzrovia, W1W 8DX.
CUISINE? Buffet.
VEGAN? No! (vegetarian)
OVERALL? 7 (Great looking restaurant, lots of choice and very yummy dessert/cakes.)

Did you already know Ethos? Are you planning to go here now? Please tell me about your experience! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Messapica

Quite close to me is a very lovely restaurant, called Messapica. I walk pass it twice a day and I always wandered what they have to offer. Then a while ago I got a take away menu of them in the door and I saw very nice potential vegan pizza’s on there. I couldn’t only walk pass it now, so I decided to go in and ask about their vegan options. About that I want to mention that I got treated super nicely and they are very helpful. We looked at the menu together and I could ask questions. I wish every restaurants or cafe would be as helpful as they are here. They had a reasonable amount of vegan options, but nothing very different form other places though.

They offer a lot of juices and smoothies, which are (apart from one with whey powder) all vegan. They are very happy to take the whey powder out, but it might be just easier to choose one of their other flavours. They have avocado on toast and they offer a few types of bread you can choose from (sourdough, white, wholemeal). It originally comes with cheese (what is not clear on the menu), so make sure you mention you want a vegan version. You can also have toast with jam (they have several flavours) or marmite. They als do porridge and they are happy to make that with a plant based milk (they have almond and soy). The porridge comes with a fruit compote, which is vegan. I chose the Breakfast smoothie and the avocado on sourdough toast. It arrived quickly and it looked very good. One big downside is that the smoothie comes in plastic, event hough it’t not a take away. The smoothie was nice though, a little milky, but that does make it very soft. The avocado toast came with very fresh rucola and lime juice. That was a very nice combination. The lime really gives it something extra, very fresh. I really enjoyed my breakfast and I’m very happy to recommend it. For lunch and dinner you can also go to Messapica. They do salads with dairy every day, but there are always 2-3 vegan options. After 17:00 they also do pizza’s. I’m really curious to try them and I will soon. Note that they don’t do vegan cheeses and that the gluten free pizza is not vegan, it has egg in it. Something else I really liked, but what is not very clear on the picture, is the cutlery. The forks are quite big and unusual to see, loved it!

I really really love their interior. Especially the chairs, the white painted wooden walls and the floor. The whole style is slightly industrial, so lovely. At the till you can see all the salads you can choose form and they also sell some cakes etc. but unfortunately they don’t have any vegan cakes. They do sell 3 flavours of the ichor chocolate though, what was surprising and very nice. They also sell the ‘Eat Real’ crisps (love this brand!), several drinks including ‘Mangajo’, but also olives and really cool big pasta’s. All yum! After a little chat I recommended them to offer Oatly Barista too and I was really pleased how serious they took this.

I want to thank Messapica for my lovely breakfast!

WHO? Messapica.
WHERE? 109 Chamberlayne Rd, NW10 3NS.
CUISINE? Italian.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 8 (Few good and tasty vegan options, very  helpful staff and a lovely interior.)

Did you already know Messapica? Or are you planning to go here now? Please tell me about your experience! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Square Root Soda Bar

I went to Camden to do some hotspot hunting. I had lunch at Club Mexicana and whilst I was waiting for my order to be made and whilst I was eating my burrito, I kept seeing people passing by with delicious looking lemonade. It was super hot that day and like every Saturday in Camden, there were like a billion people! A cool lemonade was very welcome and after eating a burrito with beans and rice it would be very refreshing. So I followed the people and not far from Cub Mexicana (a few stalls to the left) I saw a big queue. All people who had the same idea as me. It was called Square Root Soda Bar and they had a few types of soda drinks. I really liked their stall, with the painted wooden signs.

You could choose between a few types of sodas, but I went for the regular lemonade. I love lemonade, but I never have it unless I make it myself. Because there is a lot of sugar or sweetener used in them. Here at the Square Root Soda Bar they use sugar from beets in their lemonade, but unfortunately I couldn’t find anywhere how refined it was. All their sodas are hand-made though, in Hackney. It was a very tasty lemonade (and yay for the paper straws) and a perfect combination with my lunch. Exactly what I needed. Their flavours change regularly, depending what is in season, something I really like. On their website you can find all the different kind of flavours and also which one they are selling now.

WHO? Square Root Soda Bar.
WHERE? Unit 62, The Loft, Camden Lock Place, NW1 8AF.
CUISINE? Soda Bar.
VEGAN? Yes!
OVERALL? 7 (Very tasty and refreshing, just not sure how refined their sugar is.)

Did you already know the Square Root Soda Bar? What flavour would you choose? Please let me know when you’ve tried it! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Pichi

Pichi is a brand new cafe in a very new building. The building was build and finished whilst I walked past it every day and so I saw a lot of the proces. The cafe was one of the first businesses in the building. It used to be Union Canal Cafe, but recently it changed to’ Pichi Bar&Cafe’. When you come inside you actually first want to look around you. There are so many things to see. There are a lot of plants (incl. a beautiful cactus in the back) and fresh flowers everywhere. It’s really different from any other bar or cafe I know. They have an open kitchen, so you can see where the things are made. The ceilings are high and there is an easy going vibe.

Coming inside you have a big bard of food in front of you. Sandwiches, snacks, cakes.. and there is a sign above the bar with further things you can order. They have quite a lot of vegan options. There is a vegan sandwich, with avocado, humous, tomato and rucola, wat looked very fresh and yummy. You can also get toast with jam, peanut butter or marmite (or make a combination). You can go for porridge, like I did. You can choose out of 4 (!) different types of milk: oat, almond, soy and coconut. I went for the soy and I got asked if I like some maple syrup on there too. Yes please! It came in a perfect portion, with blueberries and goji berries. It was delicious and pretty perfect. If you want to just go for a latte and a snack, they have lots of things for that too. You can choose between a matcha latte (what I ordered and it was very yummy! Could have been a little hotter maybe, but the taste was delicious), a turmeric latte and a beetroot latte. Again you can choose with what type of milk you want it. As a snack you can go for the energy balls or you can get something pre-packed. They cell the crispy veg and fruit from Emily or the coconut curls from Ape.

The cafe is located in a what unusual place, as it’s not near a shopping street or any shops at all. There is the Sainsbury’s XL across the road and a Anytime gym, but that’s it. It’s right next to the busstop. Bus 23, 52, 228 and 452 will stop there. It has the name in big colourful and playful letters on the front windows (seriously, you’re not be able to miss it!). It’s a very big cafe with a very obvious model bohemian style. I like it a lot. There are several  big long wooden tables, a bench with tables, a sofa with chairs and some lose tables and chairs. You can basically sit from whatever you prefer. Because it’s so light and big it’s a perfect working spot. It’s not very far from me, so I’m sure I’ll make use of it. You can also sit outside, what is perfect when it’s a lovely sunny day.

WHO? Pichi Cafe&Bar.
WHERE? 332 Ladbroke Grove, W10 5AH.
CUISINE? Diverse.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 8 (Love the space and style and quite a lot of vegan options.)

Did you already know Pichi? Are you planning to go here now? Please tell me about your experience! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

 

Crepeaffaire

The crepes at Crepeaffaire always look so yummy, but they’re not vegan, so not that yummy after all. Until a while ago, when I was in White City Westfield, I saw a sign with buckwheat crêpes and in little letters (I would really make them a bit bigger) that they’re also vegan. Yay! They’re also gluten-free btw, what is just great. That time I just had lunch, but the next time I visited Westfield, I was sure to try them. So they have a menu where you can choose from. Sweet and savoury. They only thing is that basically everything has something non vegan (cream, butter, chocolate..). If they offer vegan crepes, they should offer a few options of vegan fillings. It’s not that hard and it’ll be so much more attractive for people on a plant-based diet.

They are happy for you to customise your own filling, though it wasn’t going all smoothly. I ordered one with banana, strawberries and cinnamon. You get a buzzer with you, so you can find a place to sit. When it’s ready, the buzzer will go and then you can collect your crepe. It isn’t very busy and so it was ready quite quickly. They asked if I wanted some icing sugar on top and showed me where you can get cutlery. It looked tasty and it smelled really nice. So I was excited for my first bite. It was delicious. Not mind blowing, but it was very tasty. I really like the combination with fresh fruit and the hint of cinnamon. It wasn’t very filling though, so it’s more like a big (naughty) snack. What is very nice, is that so many places, even Crepeaffaire offers something plant-based! There are quite a few Crepeaffaires around London, but I went to the one in Westfield (White City). Go find your nearest one!

WHO? Crepeaffaire.
WHERE? Westfield Shepherd’s Bush, Ariel Way, W12 7GD.
CUISINE? Crepe Bakery.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 7 (tasty, but a shame there are no clear vegan filling options)

Did you already know that Crepeaffaire does a vegan option? Are you going to try a crepe now? Please let me know when you’ve tried it and what you chose as a filling (sweet of savoury?)! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Club Mexicana

For Vegan food, you go to Camden! There are a lot of vegan places to get yummy food. I heard about ‘Club Mexicana’ a while ago and so I went to visit them last weekend. I didn’t know exactly where it was, but weird enough (because it’s not that easy to find) I just walked there like I knew. I must work like a magnet to vegan food. So for directions, I would say ‘follow your instincts’, haha! If you’re not very good at this, then let me explain. If you’re coming from the ug station, you turn right. You cross the bridge and then right after the bridge you turn left. Walk straight (don’t go up) and you’ll see a big tree next to a little walking bridge. It’s right around the corner from there, next to the water. I hope this will help you.

They have 3 things at Club Mexicana. This is actually quite nice, because it’s easier to choose this way. Although.. how do you choose between burritos, tacos and nachos? I guess it depends a little bit on your appetite. I went there for lunch, so I chose the burrito. It’s made with bbq pulled jackfruit, black beans, guacamole, salsa, pickled chillies and sour cream. All 100% vegan of course and they make everything from scratch. Because everything they have is vegan, there is no need to worry about substitutions or traces. I love it! The tacos are made with beer battered to-fish, chimichurri and also pickled chillies and sour cream. So are the nachos, but they also have some black beans, guacamole and cheese sauce. They are great for sharing. What would you pick?

I like their look. The bright pink really stands out in between all the other stalls. It looks summery and fresh. I love that they have a massive sign with 100% vegan! Could it be more clear? Actually the lady in front of me asked if there was any meat inside.. hehe.. oops! Because it’s a market stall, there are no places to sit per se. There are some (standing) tables across from them, but they are also used by people who’re getting things from other stalls and on a sunny weekend, it’s busy! I found a nice spot on a little wall, next to the water and enjoyed my burrito there. It was very yummy and super fresh and filling. Definitely a very good lunch, though I found the bbq pulled jackfruit a little sour. Some might like this, but it’s not my personal favourite. Next time I might try the nachos, they looked delicious too.

WHO? Club Mexicana.
WHERE? Camden Lock.
CUISINE? Mexican.
VEGAN? Yes!
OVERALL? 7 (Love their overall look and yummy food.)

Did you already know Club Mexicana? What Mexican goodness would you choose? Please let me know when you’ve tried it! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Green Bay

When I was in the Netherlands, visiting Groningen, I went to the newly opened supermarket there and it’s 100% vegan! So amazing.. to know you can have everything what they sell. You don’t need to read labels and worry that there are any animals products. I said to the man at the till that I wish they had this in London too. And he answered: there is! How did I not know about this? A vegan supermarket in London and I didn’t even hear anything about it? So a while ago I went there and it was lovely. Not sure if you can actually call it a supermarket though, because it’s very small. The one in the Netherlands is also not very big, but bigger than Green Bay. Still, it was very nice!

Green Bay is located on a corner, in a lovely looking building. I like the colours outside their logo and the window stickers. Neutral, simple and attractive. Even though it’s fairly small, they did their best to fit in as many products as possible. Though it’s not comparable with VeganZ in Berlin for example. They have granola’s and cereals, cheeses, seitan, tofu, soups, kombucha, snacks, beauty products and lots more. It would be nice if they would also do veggies and more every day products etc. So it would actually be possible to get all your groceries from there. I think at this stage, that is maybe not possible yet. I’m sure that in the future, if more people turn vegan, Green Bay can expand.

I do think, we as vegans, have to support stores like this. It’s a shame it’s a little far from me, though the bus in front of my flat does go here. I went twice now, but I feel like I should go more often. By supporting this, we vote for vegan supermarkets. It would be a dream come true if there would be supermarkets like VeganZ here in the UK and all over the world. This is the way supermarkets of the future will look like. So, even though you live far, try to go as often as possible. You can just buy things you need anyway. Like nutritional yeast, tofu, granola, snacks etc. It’s not that hard and not that more expensive to get it from here. Show your support by consuming from the right companies!

WHO? Green Bay.
WHERE? 228 North End Rd, W14 9NU.
CUISINE? Supermarket.
VEGAN? Yes!
OVERALL? 8 (small, but well organised with nice products)

Did you go yet? What did you buy and do you agree with me by spending our money in the right place? Please let me know by leaving a comment below. You can also show me by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thanks you! X

Lola’s Cupcakes

img_7668I actually never go into bakeries and cake shops, because they never really have vegan options. And that’s apart from that I’m not a huge fan of cake that is not home-made. Though, the last time when I was in Westfield and I was on my way out, walked past Lola’s Cupcakes and it made me curious. They were already tidying up, but I quickly introduced myself and asked if they had vegan options. I was very surprised that she said yes! ..and she didn’t only say yes because they had 1 vegan cupcake, they actually had lots of flavours: Coconut and passion fruit, lemon and raspberry, chocolate.. oh yes! There was only one vegan cupcake left (lucky me!) and that was the ‘pistachio and cherry’. She gave it to me and I promised to write about it. So here we go..

img_7667Like I said before, I’m not a big fan of cake that is not home-made. I was a little sceptical about this one too. I was sitting in the bus on my way home and I was looking at the box and asking the cupcake: will I like you?! When I got home I was quite excited to try it though. So I opened the little box. They give you super cute boxes btw.. I thought: even if the taste will not be that good, I’d get one just to have a beautiful looking cupcake in a cute box. Haha! First impression: I had to admit that it looked very tasty. With the green pieces of pistachios and the chocolate.. + it came in a shiny golden case. Taking my first bite I was pleasantly surprised! The cream on top was very fluffy and had a lovely structure. Also the cake itself was very good. The cream is very very sweet though, but the cake is a lot less sweet, so together they’re perfect. It would have been too much if they were both that sweet. I ate it all and I actually really enjoyed it. The only thing I didn’t like that much, was the cherry in the middle, but that is more personal taste I think. I started to read about Lola’s Cupcakes and it turns out they also do big vegan cakes. So if you do not like baking, but you still want a nice vegan cake, I think this is just perfect. Also because you can order them online, super handy!

WHO? Lola’s Cupcakes.
WHERE? Westfield Shepherd’s Bush, Ariel Way, W12 7GD.
CUISINE? Bakery.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 7 (quite some vegan options + nice design/shops)

Did you already know that Lola’s Cupcakes do vegan too? Are you going to try one of these yummy treats? Please let me know when you’ve tried it! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X