Let’s Have Dinner
When my Vegan friend Lucy announced that we were going for dinner at a vegan sushi restaurant, I’m ashamed to say the look on my face suggested someone had just died.
As a girl who likes to eat raw organic steak and considers wild Coho smoked salmon necessary comfort food, I contemplated an evening of miserable, hair shirt abstinence and torture. I began to imagine a night where I would be forced to eat food that tasted like sawdust and cardboard, in order to avoid starvation.
Ah, I owe Lucy an apology. She took me Itadaki Zen, the most gorgeous, vibrant little café restaurant, tucked away in up and coming area of King’s Cross-, and reader, I was soon purring with pleasure. What makes this intimate, friendly, sushi restaurant so exciting is that it is at the forefront of the raw, vegan and supernatural revolution that is sweeping through the slow food movement in Britain. Deliciousness is definitely on the menu.
There is still some pretty tasteless and bland vegan food to be found, mostly in supermarkets, which are merely paying lip service to vegan customers. They don’t feel they have to make the experience remotely pleasurable.
At Itadaki Zen you will be on cloud nine whether you are a meat eater or a vegan. The food is seriously good. The chefs grow many of their own ingredients, and they are interested both in taste and nutrition. They believe in the mantra of food as medicine – an exiting idea that is only just beginning to catch fire in the West, but has been embraced for centuries by Asian and Indian food cultures. Now we are finally catching up. There is a new breed of chef who are using super foods and careful, conscious cooking methods to transform the idea of what a healthy meal looks and tastes like. My idea of foodie nirvana is to spend a pleasant evening with friends grazing on gourmet food that leaves me buzzing with energy, vitality and contentment. At Itadaki Zen I did just that – from the herb infused botanical wine, which has a delicious, and rather refreshing grassy taste to the delicate spring roles made with new season wild garlic leaves, which I am told are good for the digestion. The highlight of the meal was a crunchy and delicious cross between a cake and a rosti consisting of delicious stir-fried crispy vegetables, which came with the most sublime brown rice I have ever tasted and silky, creamy, braised tofu, with melt in the mouth flavours, which pleased me just as much as a rare organic steak!
The only thing that was slightly underwhelming was the chesnut dumpling pudding with cashew cream –now that really was bland and verging on tasteless stodge – otherwise I felt I had grazed on the nectar of the Gods! – And in King’s Cross too, without seeing a single ,passing lady of the night.
A Meal for two is approximately £50