Vantra restaurant review - or I've eaten so much I'm hallucinating

My recent visit to Vantra was not only my second visit to a vegan friendly buffet restaurant this year, it was my second visit to a buffet restaurant of any stripe in my life, as far as I know.

My first was to Tibits last month, and I was more than pleasantly surprised.  So, when I bought a Groupon all you can eat deal for the entirely vegan buffet Vantra, I went in with high expectations.

It was alas all a bit disappointing. For a self-service restaurant, the wait staff were harried and unhelpful, while the layout meant when the restaurant got busy (as it was when we arrived) diners ended up having to sharp elbow their companions out of the way to actually get to the buffet.

The food was ample and with a good range of options. What they were, I couldn't tell you: three quarters of it was totally unlabelled, and other bits were labelled wrongly - what was marked up as a chilli non carne was, I think, a noodly dish with a strong seaweed contingent.

But was about the taste of the food itself? I might not have known what I was eating was, but did I enjoy it?

Yes and no. Sit down in Vantra and you'll get a plate for you food and a bowl for soup. My boyfriend and I tried different soup, and both were really watery and flavourless. The leek and potato tasted of neither, but did have a strong tang of coconut; the miso type one looked like the dishwater after a particularly heavy load, but without the same depth of taste.

The solids were more of mixed bag - a potato and cauliflower salad was nursery food bland, but no worse for that, and all the grain-based options we tried were cooked and flavoured spot on.

The salads were the most successful - fresh and tasty - while many of the cooked dishes were the type of one-pot cooking that calls to mind my own student tinkerings. The one notable exception was the chick pea korma type dish, a nicely balance between the creamy and the spice elements.

More interesting was Vantra's selection of vegan puddings. Alas, we had by then fallen victim to buffet syndrome - the inability to say no to adding just a teeny bit more to our plates. Several times. It was an unfortunate experience that when I tried to persuade my boyfriend he really could fit in a pudding, he responded "I've eaten so much I'm hallucinating."

We made our excuses and left.

11-13 Soho Street
020 7287 6060

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  1. Next time you go, you'll have a better idea what things to choose, though I know what you mean about the lure of the buffet. We have a vegan Thai buffet nearby, and sometimes the food is amazing, and sometimes not so great. But we eat too much no matter what.

    1. True - there were bits of it I really enjoyed. Only problem was I can't pass on the tips because of the lack of labelling! I do love the buffet idea though - one of my favourite things when staying in hotels is if you get a buffet breakfast - yum!

  2. Hmm, well, you're lucky to have a vegan buffet like that handy if you're pushed for ideas on eating out, I guess. I know some of the food was tasty, but so much sounded as if it wasn't. And, the labelling: weird. That would have been frustrating. Hopefully the other buffet was better.


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