Vegans in the UK are pretty much like the ones in Brooklyn: hipster, punk-ish and fond of fair-trade anything. The only real difference is that they have an English accent (which really makes all the difference).
As I strolled about the trendy Carnaby Street ‘hood (also known as SoHo in the UK), I was struck by how at home I felt — it was pretty much like being in New York, with cleaner air and wider streets.
Now, I am and always will be a New Yorker. I have to admit, I feel a bit ashamed to call myself one after experiencing SoHo UK. It has an innately sexy feel to it — probably due to the fact that it used to actually sell street sex back in the 1900s.
It turns out this was also the original SoHo (for them, it means South of Horton), with NYC’s SoHo referring to South of Houston, but also serving as a nod to the UK’s SoHo. So bully for me if I prefer the original!
Anyway, after that thrilling lesson on neighborhood history, what about the eats?
- Food rating:
- Ambiance type: Casual Upscale, Trendy
- Date and group friendly
- Noise level: Moderate (3 on a scale of 1-5)
- No kids menu
Mildred’s is like the Candle Cafe of the UK: chic, noisy and full of designer vegan food. They’ve placed plenty of care in their aesthetic: the walls are covered with all manner of earthy and bohemian sketches of plants, and from the edge of a skylight, an overhanging potted ivy marries nature with civilization.
Samosa (potato and pea filling with house-made mango chutney) – £6 (~$7.70)*
This was not so much a samosa as it was a spinach-pie type deal, which was pretty disappointing for me. It was stuffed with a too-moist potato and pea filling, which I didn’t think was terrible but I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to order again.
I think it was an attempt to refine the samosa, which is a pity, because the oiliness and crispy shell of the samosa is what makes people want to eat it (duh).
Summer Burrito (w. organic turtle beans, tofu pibil, red rice, avocado mousse and grilled pineapple salsa) -£12(~$15)*
You can’t really go wrong with a burrito. After the less-than-thrilling samosa, I was hankering for some actual food, and happily, this burrito was a normal burrito, not some “I’m gonna go and make it fancy so it doesn’t even resemble the original” crap.
The burrito was a good size, the tofu was a bit watery but not unbearably so and the red rice was a nice change from the usual white/brown I am accustomed to. The menu says it comes with “avocado mousse” but it’s really just avocado that has been run through a mixer, nothing fancy and tasted no different than normal guac.
They added some grilled pineapple chunks to the middle of the guac, which didn’t do much for me in terms of changing the flavor profile or anything. It just tasted like pineapple chunks on top of guac.
Classic Burger (added vegan cheese and fries) – £12 (~$15)
Not gonna lie, this burger was extremely tasty. The patty was juicy and bouncy in texture and the flavor was savory, a tad salty and went perfect with the accompanying sauces.
The mayo sauce was magical: not sure what was in it, but I detected chives, lemon juice and onion. It tasted divine with the chunky-cut fries, which were also of an excellent crispy caliber.
Stir-fried vegetables in shiitake, mirin, chili, garlic and ginger with brown rice, tofu and toasted cashews – £12(~$15)*
Things I can make at home are not what I want to eat in a restaurant. Somehow I thought this would be cooked in an interesting way to warrant paying triple than what it is worth — completely wrong!
The first violator: this dish was waay to watery on the bottom. Time to invest in a produce spinner.
The second violator: the flavor profile was bland and boring: pretty much just tasted soy sauce and veggie juices. Nothing more than one-dimensional.
And finally, the brown rice got soggy as a result of all the liquid, leaving an unappetizing mess on the bottom.
One-line rhyme-mary: Sorry Mildred’s, you need to try harder; only your burgers can take you farther.
*no longer on the menu at time of posting