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  • 3 out of 5 stars
A birds eye photo of vegan dishes
Photograph: Tendril

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

There’s something about eating a meal in a pub that just changes things. Maybe you’ll order a pint rather than a glass of vino. Maybe you’ll be less ashamed to use your finger to mop up that last lick of sauce. You might laugh a bit louder and stay a bit longer. That will probably be the case if you visit Tendril, the (mostly) vegan restaurant that’s taken over Soho boozer The Sun & 13 Cantons.

The eating area, round the side of the pub’s main bar, instantly gave me ‘Wizard of Oz’ Emerald City vibes. Shiny jade tiles and large mirrors line the walls, perfect for checking yourself out while you gobble (only to see how hideous your munching face is). But other than my demonic reflection, the space had a nice, nonchalant atmosphere, without any stuffiness.  

Tendril bills itself as a ‘mostly vegan kitchen’, but for Veganuary, it crossed out the ‘mostly’ and went fully plant-based. Its head chef and founder, Rishim Sachdeva (ex-The Fat Duck, Almeida and The Dairy), created an eclectic six-course ‘Veganuary discovery’ menu: it was colourful, fresh and uncompromised by cuisines. With the exception of one or two accidental Güs, I was doing Veganuary somewhat successfully and had hardly been eating out. This was exciting. 

To start, I was served a dainty portion of smoked aubergine with tahini, chilli cucumber and puff pastry. The aubergine was warm, smooth and moreish, but the cucumber made the rest of the dish soggy – it lacked that satisfying crisp you instantly crave whenever you lay eyes on pastry. The second dish – of jerusalem artichoke, cracker, chive and wakame – was salty, savoury and beautifully balanced in texture. My only criticism would be that the high-rimmed bowl was prohibitive, making it difficult to reach the final morsels! 

A noisy charcoal-tainted tostada cracked and crunched with every bite, contrasting with its softer squash and salsa topping. I personally would have preferred a bit more heat and lime (there was only one slice of jalapeño), but it was still thoroughly enjoyable. Next, I had the choice of either roasted cauliflower with pickled lime, moilee and black rice, or ‘Chinatown’ purple potatoes and sticky soy, sitting in a dramatic sesame cracker. The latter looked (and tasted) like it should have been in a museum. The cauliflower was tame in comparison. 

A surprisingly large helping of ratatouille followed, complete with a gloriously bright basil puree and a fragrant seasoning of ras el hanout. Just when you thought that was it, sides of heritage carrots and a basic quinoa tabbouleh-style salad joined the party to make sure that no one was going home hungry. That would have been difficult, though, because there was still pudding to come. Our dessert of the day was chocolate tiramisu: it was light and airy with a nice dose of coffee-drenched sponge. This was a highlight – I could have eaten another portion even though I was already struggling. 

I left Tendril satisfied, but I wasn’t particularly knocked-out by the flavours – many of the dishes could have done with more kick, zing and punch. The whole point is that it’s very planty, and for people not used to vegan eating, it might be overly so (not every dish has a starchy or protein component). But at £29 per person, it’s great value. The menu was creative, the service was spot-on and the restaurant’s easy ambience made the meal a joy to eat. 

Several of these dishes are available on Tendril’s current à la carte menu. 

The vibe Laidback and friendly, so you can focus on the food.

The food Pretty, plant-based plates in a pub. But never pub grub. 

The drink Pints, classic cocktails and a decently priced wine list.  

Time Out tip Go for the purple potatoes.

Written by
Chiara Wilkinson


The Sun & 13 Cantons
21 Great Pulteney St
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