Tue 26th July 2016
I am not a vegetarian, but I love this place. This is the second time I dined at Mildreds (Soho) – this time, I came with a vegetarian friend, Iris. I had been looking forward to this since we arranged to come here together weeks ago. Who would have thought – a meat-eater getting so excited about a vegetarian / vegan restaurant? Well, this place does that to you.
This restaurant, like many other trendy restaurants in central London these days (e.g. Barrafina, Burger & Lobster, Pitt Cue Co to name a few), does not take bookings. It simply operates on a first-come, first-served basis. We got there just before 7.30pm on a Tuesday evening, thinking it’s earlier in the week so shouldn’t be too busy – how wrong were we? The place was already buzzing and we were told “one-hour wait” upon arrival, but this seems to be the standard timeframe they tell all the eager customers willing to wait in line for a table. Not to worry, if time allows, grab one of their delicious cocktails from the bar while waiting for a table. Tonight, I chose one of their two mocktails, Virgin Mule (made of ginger beer, elderflower, lime and vanilla syrup, at £4.75) while Iris opted for a glass of their organic rose (Grenache and Syrah, from Domaine Belambree in Provence, France, at £6.50). If you are peckish, then order some nuts or olives to nibble on. Trust me, it’s worth the wait if you aren’t on a schedule. Fortunately, our one-hour wait ended up being only half an hour – even better!
The first time I came to Mildreds (3 months ago, back in March), I was so greedy and devoured a panfried halloumi starter and a vegetables and tofu stirfry for main. I am a big fan of the squeaky cheese and tofu (well, if cooked well) and I was hugely satisfied with both dishes I ordered.
This time, maybe because we were hungry, Iris and I both decided to give their burgers a try. I had the classic burger, made with smoked tofu, lentil and piquillo pepper, whilst Iris ordered the Polish (a beetroot, white bean and dill burger, with iceburg lettuce, mayonnaise, pickled cabbage and gherkin). Both burgers were served in a focaccia bun with various salads and condiments, and we asked for monterey jack cheese on top, so the damage was £9 per burger, which seemed very reasonable. We ordered one portion of fries with basil mayo to share (£3). Foods came rather quickly and we eagerly tucked into our burgers. A good beetroot burger is one of Iris’s favourites, so she seemed quite happy. My burger itself was extremely delicious – richness from the lentil, and a bit of smokiness coming from the tofu, and it was soft and juicy. However, I had mixed feelings about the focaccia bun. I can see where they were going with the concept but a focaccia bun made the burger extremely difficult to handle. You cannot cut the burger in half to try to eat with grace, and in fact it had a good bite to it – like how a well-made foccacia should be, which made the burger almost impossible to eat as the delicious and soft burger fillings simply fell apart when one tackled with the much tougher burger bun. The foccacia bun was also moist with good olive oil, but together with the relish/mayo making the burgers rather greasy and heavy to palate. Neither of us could finish our burgers in the end, which is a shame, as I hate to waste foods.
Unfortunately, the famous chocolate and peanut butter brownie has also taken a break from Mildreds’ menu, and none of their other desserts jumped out to us. We didn’t bother with dessert there in the end and went to get ice cream at Gelupo (7 Archer St, London W1D 7AU) instead.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still a big fan of Mildreds, and will definitely return to Mildreds Soho in the not-too-distant future, but next time I will stick with their mains, or maybe give their halloumi burger a try… After all, we are talking about halloumi, chargrilled aubergine, harissa and tahini in flatbread – a classic combination – so what could go wrong with that?!
Vegetarian & Vegan
Cost: allow £15–20 per person for 2 courses. Approx. £6 for a glass of wine and £4.75 / £6.95 per mocktail / cocktail.
Address: 45 Lexington Street, Soho, London, W1F 9AN
Phone: 0207 494 1634