17-18 Tooks Court
Ming Tang Evans / Time Out
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Fri May 25 2012
Vanilla Black staked out a niche in meatless haute cuisine in 2008 and hasn’t wavered since, in standards or appeal. Diners come to this sophisticated space for business meetings, smart lunches and memorable dinners. Adornments are limited to streamlined chandeliers, muted paint colours, solid wood furniture, tasteful flower arrangements and starched linens – it could seem austere, but the charming, attentive staff help create a thoroughly pleasing dining experience.
The understated interior is a stark contrast to the fireworks created on the plate, where unconventional, imaginative combinations of textures and flavours are showcased. Savoury mushroom mousse was presented with tarragon pancakes, bright pea purée, refreshing fennel and a palate-awakening fizzy grapefruit foam. A painterly dessert of burnt orange marshmallow (made with a vegetable gel in place of gelatine) surprised with sweet and crisp parsnip tendrils, though the parsnip purée was less successful. The hit rate is usually high, especially given the numerous different elements to be savoured in each dish.
The set menus, especially at lunch, are exceptionally good value for cooking of these exalted standards. Recently opened offshoot Orchard, which caters to a lunchtime crowd in nearby Holborn with some of the same high-quality ingredients (including own-made breads), is also worth checking out.
Vanilla Black 17-18 Tooks Court
- Cross Street:
off Cursitor Street
020 7242 2622
- Opening hours:
Lunch served noon-2.15pm Mon-Fri. Dinner served 6-9.45pm Mon-Sat
Tube: Chancery Lane tube
Set lunch £18.50 2 courses, £23.50 3 courses. Set meal £28 2 courses, £38 3 courses
- 17-18 Tooks Court
- 020 7242 2622
- 17-18 Tooks Court
- Vanilla Black
Food and drink
Restaurant and bar facilities. Reservations required. Accessible facilities
Business. Eating out. Creative cooking. Fine dining