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

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Scotland – Roadtrip + 24 hours in Glasgow

If you read the last newsletter, you knew I was in Glasgow last week. I was asked by my previous employers to drive their car over there as they wanted to use it on their holiday. First I was going with my boyfriend, but he cancelled and then very last-minute my brother (Julian) came with me, thanks to my mum. Yay! He already came on Thursday evening, what meant we also had the Friday together here in London. So nice! We had croissants for breakfast, went to a children’s party (of the girl I used to look after), walked down Portobello Road (where Julian found and bought a lovely hand-made 60’s dress for his girlfriend) and we went to Westfield to do a little bit of shopping and to eat at Yo Sushi. What a lovely day! In the evening we picked up the car and parked it in the street next to me, so we could leave early.

The plan was to leave at 7:00 and so we woke up at 6:15, but before we left and put diesel in the car, it was 7:30. Still a very good time to leave though. The drive went really well. It wasn’t busy anywhere and it was lots of fun. We had time to chat and Julian was my personal DJ, making sure we had great music all the time. We listened to some of his own music, The Opposites (Dutch HipHop we both loveeee!) and Mac Miller! Our first stop was around 9:45. Time to go to the toilet, have a tea/cappuccino at Costa and to have a home-made sandwich, I made the evening before. We were chatting so much that time went quite fast and before we knew it, there was almost an hour gone. Oops! Luckily we were not in a rush at all. The second part of our road trip went a little slower as they were working on the road and we had very long bits where we had to cut speed almost in half. Doesn’t matter though, there was so much to see. Nature changed every hour and there are so many lovely cows and sheep to look at. Our second stop was around 12:30 and the place had a lovely shop, with fresh bread, food and lots of gifts and nice things. It’s a good thing I left my money in the car, haha! We had lunch with a beautiful view and there was a very cute Yorkshire Terrier coming to us all the time for cuddles. Also a seagull decided to do a poo exactly on my trousers.. he probably wasn’t aware that I’m vegan, haha! Oh well.. About 45 min later we were hitting the road again. Time flies really.. We weren’t planning to make another stop, but we needed more diesel for the car and as we made a stop anyway, we better make use of it and go to the toilet too. This was around 14:30, when we only had an hour to go. We arrived at the airport at 15:45 and we parked the car. We both didn’t feel like we sat in the car for long. It felt like we just drove for an hour or so. This clearly proves how much fun it was! We checked if we got all our stuff, locked it and started to look for a taxi. That was not very hard and before we knew it we were dropped in front of our AirBnB.

The girl of the AirBnB was super friendly and kind. She showed us everything and made us feel very welcome. She was going to the park with friends that evening and planned to be away the next day too. So we actually had the whole flat to ourselves, super relaxed. We sat down for a bit, a little relaxing before we left to find a restaurant/bar called Mono, to have dinner. I did my research and planned the places we were going to eat, to review and to make an amazing hotspot list. It was about a 20 min walk, but that was lovely after being in the car for most of the day. Very soon we agreed that Glasgow felt like Berlin (we have been both). The neglected fields, old buildings mixed with new buildings, graffiti, fences and also Mono. Mono is quite a big restaurant, with a bar, a stage and a vinyl shop.  The furniture was all very vintage and everything was super dated, but that is kind of the idea. The waiter who brought us to our seats looked like he came straight from the 80’s (I was looking for a time machine), hair, glasses, clothes.. everything. And he wasn’t the only one. It was quite a fun experience. We both ordered a burger. Julian had the falafel burger and it was very tasty. Fresh, crispy and a little spicy, truly perfect. I had the seitan burger and that was truly perfect as well. The burger itself was yummy, the sauce was super tasty and the buns they came on were making the whole combination complete. But the one thing what was most perfect, were the fries. I think I’ve never had such tasty fries. You got to go here to try them! After dinner we walked around a bit and came passed The 13th Note. This is, like Mono, also a music venue and a cafe/bar/restaurant. All very artistic and easy going. We had a quick look inside, but were too full to order something. They have a great menu though, with mostly vegan food. We kept walking and saw a little bit of Glasgow this way. Very nice! there is a lot of street art, what I absolutely love and very interesting sights. We sat down for a bit, to enjoy the last sun rays, but then walked back to our AirBnB. We did pop into a very lovely Asian shop called Oaka. You have to go here,  if you’re into this. I bought some tofu, seaweed crackers, Pu-Erh tea and a very nice matte black can with matcha powder. They also do some beautiful Asian dishes and tea sets. Back in the flat, we had a shower, watched some You Tube on the big tv there and then went to sleep.

I was so tired, that I slept really well. We had a relaxed morning and left around 10:00ish. It’s lovely not to be in a rush. We walked to this cafe called Picnic. I was very looking forward to this, because yesterday we walked passed it and it looked so nice from the inside. It’s all vegan and they have a lot of choice. They do breakfast, sandwiches, warm dishes, cakes, smoothies.. it’s amazing. It’s nice that my brother is more and more into healthy vegan food too. It’s nice to share the experience together, being like-minded. So we took a seat and were excited to order. We both ordered the granola and yogurt and aso a croissant and a blueberry and kale smoothie. The yogurt and granola was very delicious with all the fresh fruit on top. The croissant, though not having the exact consistency of an average croissant, was very tasty. More filling I would say. What a perfect breakfast. The interior of Picnic is really nice too. Light, bright and colourful, but not too colourful. It’s done right. The staff was very kind as well. The only downside I would say is that the music was a little loud and didn’t really go with the whole atmosphere.

With a full tummy we walked up to the city centre, what is very close from Picnic. We saw some more beautiful graffiti, but it also started to rain. Now I’m a big fan of rain, but I only had the clothes I was wearing and still had to wear them all day long, so we had to stay our of the rain as much as possible. We went into a shopping mall and Julian saw the shop Game. He asked for second-hand games (he collects old games) and were redirected to Cex. This was heaven for him, he looked like a little boy in a sweets shop. Hehe.. He bought 2 games and we spend a lot of time there, looking at all the games. Then there was also a shop with all anime toys and stuff, so we went in there too and later it turned out, the whole street was kind of geek heaven. Julian had to leave Glasgow around 14:00 as the only flight to Amsterdam that day was at 16:00. So we had to keep an eye on the time and went to have lunch. We chose to go to Stereo, as that was the closest from where we were. It’s a little tricky to find at first as it’s located in a very narrow street, with lots of bins. You wouldn’t think there is a restaurant. When you go inside it feels like Berlin again. Very vintage and easy going. We took a seat and chose something from the 100% vegan menu. Yay! Julian went for a broccoli burger and I went for the aubergine fritters + some fries on the side (I love fries, it’s one of my favourite foods.. so bad and childish! Haha!). My food was delicious, but very oily though. Also the fries were very oily. It looked like everything was fried in the same oil, what made the quality of the oil (and so the food) less. Overall it was tasty though. The broccoli burger was very yum and it had a very nice obvious broccoli taste which we both loved.

It was time to say goodbye. A little sad, because we had such an amazing time together. I really appreciated him coming with me. It was helpful, but most of all it was super nice. Julian makes me laugh 24/7 (literally until the last seconds, driving away in the bus), whilst we can also talk about serious things and everything and nothing. I love him! Now it was time to explore some more hotspots. We walked passed a juice bar earlier, called the Juice Garden, and I decided to go there. I ordered a green juice and took a seat. It’s a very nice juice bar, with a lot of juices and smoothies to choose from. They also do other things like: acai bowls, breakfast, sandwiches and salads + some snacks too. It was nice to have a little break, especially because they had great music. All 90’s/00’s hip hop and R&B, totally loved it! I edited some pictures and planned my next hotspot. Close to there was an Asian restaurant called Nippon Kitchen and apparently they have a vegan menu. I had to test this of course. It’s a very nice, typical Asian restaurant. I asked for the vegan menu and I was happy to see there was a lot of choice. As I already had lunch and I planned to eat dinner out too, I only chose 3 things. The maki avocado and cucumber and a temaki. It came on a very nice dish and it was very yummy. A shame Julian was gone already, because he loves sushi too.

I then walked around a little bit and in the end of the afternoon I went the The Flying Duck. This was quite an experience. It’s located in a basement (with great art down the stairs) and it’s a very big space. It’s quite dark, vintage and it has Berlin written all over it. They have a lot of different types of seats and I was lucky enough to get a lovely chair to sit in. They also have a pool table, board games you can play and loud music. I ordered a sandwich with tempeh at first, but they run out of tempeh (of course that happens, after I finally decided what I wanted). So I went for a hotdog instead. I didn’t want something too big, because I had quite a lot of (fast) food already. Though when the hotdog arrived, it turned out to be huge.. haha! It looked super delicious though and it came with salad. Very tasty, especially the cole slaw. The hotdog itself was exactly what you want from a hotdog. A tasty sausage, pretzel bun, onions, ketchup and perfect mustard.. sooo yum! The downside was that their menu is very unclear. There is just too much going on in black, white and bright pink colours, with very big ‘screaming’ letters. It also all took quite long. There was only one girl to serve all the customers and she also helped making some orders in the meantime. In the end I had to rush a bit as I had to wait so long before I was able to pay.

Then at the bus stop I had to wait 15 minutes for the bus, what made the little rush very unnecessary in the end. The Airport Express (bus 500) to Glasgow Airport leaves from ‘St. Vincent Ln’ btw and is very modern and new. It takes about 20 minutes to get to the airport, what is super convenient. I got there on time though and the security was super quiet en quick. I waited at Starbucks with a tea whilst charging my phone and watching all the traveling people walk by. I had to wait until 19:25 until they would announce the gate, whilst 19:25 was also the time of my flight. In the end it took an hour before I was able to board. So many people were annoyed, short-tempered and sighing. So silly, because there is nothing somebody could do and so they only destroyed their own mood. The flight itself is almost 1,5 hour. We landed a little before 22:00, but before I was at Victoria station (by train), took the bus and got home, it was 00:00. I was so exhausted by then. So I quickly unpacked some things and got ready for bed.

Overall I think, for the short time I was there, I can say that Glasgow is a great city. There is a lot of music, art and freedom. People are artistic and are not afraid to express themselves. People who love Berlin, definitely have to pay Glasgow a visit too. I’m sure you will love it!

HOTSPOTS:
Mono – 12 King Street, G1 5RB.
The 13th Note – 50-60 King Street, G1 5QT.
Oaka – 130 George Street, G1 1RG.
Picnic – 103 Ingram Street, G1 1DX.
Stereo – 22-28 Renfield Lane, G2 6PH.
Juice Garden – 23 Renfield Street, G2 5AH.
Nippon Kitchen – 91 W George Street, G2 1PB.
The Flying Duck -142 Renfield Street, G2 3AU.

Have you been to Glasgow yet? Did you know about these cool hotspots or do you have any other recommendations? Are you really excited to go now? I would love to hear about your trip and experiences! You can leave a comment below or you can show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Bob’s Cafe

As a nanny you go to lots of playgroups and activities. Once a week I also go to Kilburn library, to sing songs and read books. There are some lovely shops and cafe’s at Salusbury Road. I often get a nice tea at Starbucks and the farmers market is on every Sunday. There is also a cafe, called ‘Bob’s Cafe’. It stands out because of the nice blue-green colour. After the library we  (the 1 year old I look after and me) went to have lunch there. I did see sweet potato fries on the menu and as you know I really like those. So I was curious what they were like and what I could have with them.

They didn’t have a lot of choice for vegans unfortunately, but they did have a falafel burger. I thought that will go well with my sweet potato fries. I told the waiter I was vegan and that if this one will be alright if the yogurt sauce was left out. He was quite sure, but he would ask just in case. For the girl I look after I ordered toast with houmous and she could share my fries. It both came at the same time, but they gave me normal fries instead of sweet potato. So they were going to change it. In the meantime I had some of the toast and houmous, what was really good. Thickly sliced sourdough bread, properly toasted, very yummy! My fries arrived quite fast, what was nice. The falafel was really good, but when I was nearly finished, I noticed that the bread had quite a particular taste and also looked very golden brown. Then I realised there was probably egg used in and on it. If I was alone I would have said it and made a little bit of a fuss about it, but the baby was tired and we had to go home. Next time I will say something about it and order it with the sourdough bread. I’m sure that it will be very nice like that. My tummy started to feel weird on the way back and I had to lay down at home, because I felt so weird and uncomfortable. So I’m quite sure there was egg on the burger. A real disappointment!

I quite like the interior. They created a nice atmosphere with the booths seating on one side of the cafe, the light walls and the plants everywhere on the wall and hanging from the ceiling. It would have been nice if the plants were all real though. I really like the colours and that there are a few seats outside too. People were using them, as the weather was lovely that day. It’s child friendly I would say and if you go a bit early, like we did, it isn’t too busy. The staff was 50/50 I would say. Very helpful and open-minded (just not well informed). I’m sure if you ask them to put a vegan salad together (and make sure to tell them what is and isn’t vegan) they will. There was one lady though, who looked super moody and didn’t say anything. I think she didn’t mean it like that, but it wasn’t beneficial for the atmosphere. A shame.

WHO? Bob’s Cafe.
WHERE? 77 Salusbury Rd, NW6 6NH.
CUISINE? Diverse.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 6 (nice interior, nice fries/falafel, could have more vegan options, poor knowledge)

Do you know Bob’s Cafe already? Are you going to give them a try? Please let me know! You can do this by leaving a comment below. You can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

The Gate

13467255_1173405892703512_1527686130_oThis restaurant I discovered by looking for vegan restaurants on the internet. Funny that this is in Hammersmith, because I’ve been in Hammersmith so many times and know it quite well. I never knew about this restaurant though, which is established the year I was born! You understand that I had to go. It’s very close to the station, only a 3 min walk, which makes it handy for if you come from elsewhere. Because this is a restaurant you go to for the restaurant itself. Not just a quick lunch , but a proper lunch or dinner. With a group of friends, family or your lover. It’s perfect for dining, ‘staring into each others eyes’ and chatting.

13499465_1173405902703511_1619650406_oWhen I was looking for it and my navigation said I arrived I didn’t exactly see it straight away. Because you can’t really see the restaurant itself. You have to go through a ‘gate’, walk through a little garden, open a door, walk up stairs and there it is. A lovely restaurant. I felt quite excited when I saw what it looked like. This is what makes looking for hotspots so nice! It’s such a light place thanks to the huge window in the middle, what reaches all the way over the ceiling. Stunning! The rest of the ceiling is high, wooden and white, with industrial lights hanging down. I love it! The rest of the interior is dark and modern and the restaurant is quite big too. More than 50 people can sit down to enjoy a lovely menu.

13467431_1173405962703505_2093324917_oThe menu isn’t very big, but about half of it is vegan. I was there on a sunday and they have an extra sunday roast menu, where you can choose 2 dishes for £18,50 or 3 for £21,50. Overall the food is slightly expensive, but if you then compare it with what you get and where you’re sitting, I think it’s more than worth it. Looking at all the amazing things on the menu, I decided to go with the 3 courses. As I saw sweet potato as a side dish, I asked if I could have that as a starter instead of the starters you could choose from. I loveeeee sweet potato. The waitress looked a bit confused, but she said she was sure it was ok. When I got my sweet potatoes I got the confused look. In front of me was a huge sweet potato and it was almost a meal by itself. I think this is a side you should enjoy with 2 or more people. But as I’m a huge sweet potato fan and this one was just delicious I almost finished it all. As a main I ordered a burger, 13467492_1173405929370175_715421615_owhich was super delicious too. With al sorts of salads and guacamole. And last, but in this case, definitely not least.. a vegan cheesecake for dessert. It was define.. but so filling! Like I wasn’t full enough. I don’t know how, but I managed to eat it all. Must have been very tasty then.. haha! I was very full, but so satisfied after eating this lovely meal.

13467410_1173405906036844_1458137367_oThe whole time I was sitting there I was thinking ‘I’m definitely coming back here’! I’m sure this will be such a nice place to have a nice meal with other people. I really recommend this restaurant. A lovely place to celebrate your birthday, anniversary or any other special occasion. The staff is very friendly and you know how important I find that. I can’t find anything I dislike about this lovely restaurant. They also have a restaurant in Islington and 2 vegetarian cook books. If you’re curious about the cook books or you would like more information, pease visit their website!

13453424_1173405992703502_726135933_oDo you know ‘The Gate’? Did you go to one, or maybe even both of the restaurants and what was your experience? Or are you going here after reading this? Please let me know or show me using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

 

Mildred’s

13120717_1142757612435007_1325483305_oWhat did I hear a lot about the restaurant Mildred’s. A must go if I have to believe everybody. So there I went, to SOHO.. On a lovely free Sunday afternoon to have a late lunch. It’s so easy for me to get there, as the bus in front of my house basically drops me at the end of the street where Mildred’s is. I was so excited! It was very easy to find, but.. it was closed! There I stood, in front of a locked door. Noo! (note to self: always check opening times before you go somewhere) And I didn’t bring my coat, as I thought it will only be a very short walk and I hate walking around with my coat when it gets too warm to wear it. But 13128812_1142757659101669_1304604466_oit wasn’t too warm.. the wind was quite cold and also I was very hungry. It was such a shame, but I decided to walk up to OxfordStreet and have lunch at Vantra instead. Their food will comfort me.. hehe.. Had a lovely lunch over there, sitting next to 3 ladies who started talking about Mildred’s (such a coincidence!) and one said to the others that she thought Mildred’s was so overrated! Oh! Hmmm..

The next weekend I went again. On a Saturday this time! I already looked at the menu via their website and decided I would go for the classic burger. So I picked a nice seat in front of the window and ordered my burger with some sweet potatoes fries(my weakness) on the side. It’s quite a bright restaurant and there is a very comforting atmosphere I like. I really liked the seat I picked as I always like to watch people, it inspires me.
13128962_1142757705768331_1855021414_oI didn’t have to wait long, before a lovely looking burger and one of the most gorgeous looking portion of sweet potato fries was in front of me. The sweet potatoes were served with a fresh basil mayonnaise and the combination was so surprising and yummy. I really enjoyed them. The burger was so delicious too! Normally I like a bit of a firm burger and this one was quite soft, but the smoky taste and texture were truly amazing. Also the focaccia bun was perfect, soft, chewy and a little crispy. I was full halfway eating it, but I couldn’t bare the thought that this bit of deliciousness was going to end up in the bin. I’ll have a light dinner I convinced myself and kept eating. Obviously there wasn’t any space left for dessert, but I already know that the next time I definitely have to try the brownie.

13090709_1142757592435009_140465651_oI love the exterior of Mildred’s, especially the colour. It’s one of my favourites! I really liked the beautiful coloured fresh flowers on my table and the little tea lights everywhere. The interior is quite basic and simple, but I like the light and the cozy window seats. They operate a no bookings policy in the restaurant. If it’s full you can choose to wait and in the meantime have a drink at the bar where they also serve cocktails, for if you’re into that. If you have something to celebrate, a birthday party or another special occasion, they have a private dining room(10-14 people) you can make a reservation for.

13120919_1142757792434989_439423021_oMildred’s has 2 more locations. I went to the one in SOHO, but there is also one in Camden and very recently they opened a restaurant in King’s Cross too. Maybe the next time I’ll go there and see what they’re like.
I think the lady in Vantra was very wrong or we have huge difference in taste, because I really enjoyed Mildred’s and I’ll definitely come back to try other dishes!

Have you been to Mildred’s before? Or are you going after reading this? Please let me know or show me a picture of your lovely meal using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X