Wulf & Lamb may not seem like the most obvious name for Chelsea’s newest vegan bolthole, but its motto - “Run with the wolves; eat with the lambs” - certainly taps into all of our current enthusiasm for living with strong bodies and gentle souls en route to total wellness. I’m not surprised to see a number of post-yoga class women arrive for lunch, but it would be doing Wulf & Lamb a great disservice to suppose that this is just another passenger on the ‘Clean Living’ bandwagon: it’s a genuinely fantastic eatery with a vegan offering that manages to feel far more indulgent than virtuous.
It’s a bright but chilly November day when we arrive for lunch in the recently redeveloped Pavilion Road, just off Sloane Square. Already home to a handful of independent retailers, artisan food shops were added to the mix late last year, with Pavilion Wine, Bread Ahead and London Cheesemongers sitting alongside Natoora,The Roasting Party coffee and Provenance, a traditional family butchers. Wulf & Lamb is the most recent addition, opening in October - and, judging from the restoration work taking place on the properties opposite, more are eventually to join its ranks.
Inside, the decor is cool and industrial, with polished concrete floors, brushed metal, marble accents and a striking, textural, 3D wall along the staircase to the upper floor, where there’s a tiny terrace overlooking a courtyard and a slightly more intimate feel. Taking advantage of the clear skies, however, we opt to sit outside, with cosy throws already in place over the backs of our chairs, ready to be draped around us if the chill gets too much.
Orders are made at the counter, where a number of cakes and salad bowls are on display for the takeaway crowd. I’ve already got my eye on the über-pretty, petal-scattered, mini Bundt cake for later, noting approvingly (and a tad greedily) that this, and a number of other cakes on display, are gluten free. Which reminds me - I‘m gluten-intolerant. On mentioning this, I’m immediately given a specially marked menu and my friend and I go outside to compare notes on what I’ll be eyeing enviously from my side of the table.
Happily, and surprisingly, there’s not much. Being accustomed to places where “gluten free” radically limits my ordering options, I’m delighted to find that the breakfast granola is already nut and seed based, and that GF buns are available for burgers. The Wulf Burger, which uses meat alternative seitan, a product derived from wheat gluten, obviously isn’t an option but with a Spicy Veg Burger, Chilli “non” Carne and Green Coconut Curry, plus various salads and sides, to choose from, I’m really not bemoaning its off-limits status. Delight levels are doubled when we examine the list of vegan-friendly wines and ales and decide that, since the last vegan place we visited had NO gluten free options and only served mocktails, it would be silly - and in fact, probably rude - to not order a bottle of wine with our lunch.
The differences from this most recently visited restaurant don’t stop there. While that one lacked any atmosphere, this one - with its constant flow of puppy-carrying locals, multi-generational lunchers, suit wearers and buggy pushers - both to the restaurant and the surrounding businesses - makes for a pleasantly upbeat ambience. And the food, which at the last place was pared-down, a bit bland and somehow limp in terms of its presentation, is here fairly bursting with exuberance: my veggie burger (complete with plant-based cheese and sauerkraut) is a proper, hard-to-wrap-your-mouth-around size, the bun holds its shape, the flavours are kicky and vibrant, and the curved, grainy wooden platter on which it is served is reassuringly chunky. Whatever it is that some people tend to associate veganism with - asceticism? joylessness? constant hunger?!! - this is most definitely not it.
Across the table, Lisa is in similar raptures over her bowl of Chill ‘Non’ Carne - a substantial portion of spicy, smoky mushrooms, lentils and kidney beans on rice with cashew sour cream, lime and coriander cress. I offer to trade a few of my sweet potato wedges and some house slaw for a mouthful and it’s sensational. “Unbelievable. Delicious!” we say, when a staff member comes to clear and ask how everything was. “I can tell,” she smiles with obvious pleasure, gesturing towards our completely empty plates. “Now, how about some dessert?”
WULF & LAMB
243 Pavilion Road
One would be forgiven for not being familiar with Dukes London. Tucked down a sleep side street in St James’s, it’s gem of a find, located moments from Green Park and yet seemingly in another world from its contemporaries.
Nestled on its lower floor is GBR (Great British Restaurant), a bright, spacious all-day dining venue. The menu which is overseen by Norfolk-born Executive Head Chef Nigel Mendham features traditional British dishes with contemporary twists.
Every Saturday and Sunday from 12-4pm is Bottomless Brunch. For £24.50 guests can indulge in two dishes from the menu with unlimited bubbles for an additional £15. I’m a big fan of a bottomless brunch but admittedly, I usually end up in a raucous Clapham pub, so swapping for a change of scenery to a civilised dining room made for a pleasant change.
The menu features a selection of brunch staples with delicious additions including confit duck hash and kedgeree. The Eggs Benedict featured a succulent slab of ham and a fabulous Hollandaise, though the portion was slightly on the small side. I chased the eggs with a plate of waffles, smothered in a devilish caramelised banana sauce and sticky toffee walnuts; something so delicious I’ve since tried to recreate it at home. My date enjoyed the smashed avocado with rich duck egg and chilli pepper, followed by a much-lauded round of French toast with sweet cured bacon and lashings of maple syrup. I’m not sure how we had space for dessert after all that and in between all the prosecco, but the raspberry trifle was a delight.
GBR (Great British Restaurant) at DUKES London
35 St. James’s Place
*During my visit I was hosted by GBR (Great British Restaurant) at DUKES London. All views and opinions are my own.
If you find yourself in Manchester and fancy indulging your taste buds with unique ingredients, then look no further than The Botanist. Centrally located on Deansgate, this stylish restaurant and bar offers an impressive selection of food and drinks that spark the imagination.
As the name suggests, The Botanist prides itself on entertaining your palate with plant-based ingredients. The classy venue has a mix of customers from couples enjoying a romantic night out, to groups of friends catching up over a cocktail. A selection of eating areas, a high-end bar and an orangery provide plenty of options to choose from whether you’re popping in for a drink or staying for a meal.
Dining options at The Botanist
In addition to top-notch drinks and meal options, The Botanist also offers an interesting selection of nibbles to enjoy with a post-work tipple including, Cumberland and Pork Chipolatas and sharing boards that include tasty dishes such as Lamb Meatballs and Smoky Beans Hot Pots.
The extensive food menu features mouth-watering barbecue favourites such as Flattened Rump, 10oz sirloins and a variety of different chargrilled burgers, plus hanging kebabs and rotisserie chicken. The Home Comfort range offers Flat Iron Steak Sandwiches and Malaysian Curry, or for something even more comforting, why not goes for one of their scrumptious short-crust pastry pies including Butternut Squash, Goats Cheese and Mushroom or Steak and Ale – the perfect option when winter nights draw closer.
For those seeking a healthier option, The Botanist’s salad selection is very colourful and includes Prosciutto, Watermelon and Feta, Tenderstem Broccoli, Beetroot and Avocado, as well as the popular Caesar or Crispy Salt and Pepper Beef.
My lunch at The Botanist
I began my lunch at The Botanist with one of their nibbles, Salt and Pepper Onion Petals (£3.95), which were dusted in a mix of ginger and Chinese five spices and served with soured cream. Thankfully, they were nice and crunchy and not overly oily.
For my main I enjoyed a dish from The Botanist’s Home Comforts range – the Prawn and Chicken Gumbo with Bacon, Rice and Peas served with coriander seasoned rice (£12.50), which was amazing. The chilli provided just the right amount of heat and the generous portion of prawns and chicken were moist and cooked to perfection.
To finish, I tried the Baked Camembert with Smoky Bacon and Crispy Onion Crust (£6.95). The apple slices provided a nice sweet contrast to the cheese and the bacon topping added a lovely crunch.
The Botanist has a wide range of eccentric cocktails. To kick things off, I started with their signature cocktail of Ketel One vodka, rum and elderflower liqueur. Its fresh ingredients and jasmine syrup offered a simple and balanced flavour profile, making it very drinkable!
Next up, I tried the Pear and Kiwi Cup from their Pots and Planters range, which was presented in a teapot with tendrils of fog! The dainty cocktail featured kiwi, lime and apple juice shaken with Licor 43, pear cognac, green apple liqueur and a splash of green tea and served with dry ice. Science it seems is not confined to a laboratory. It was well balanced, if slightly on the sweeter side for my personal taste, but they certainly achieved their desired outcome - to reconstruct botany through cocktails. Bravo!
The resident head bartender, a very knowledgeable and personal chap by the name of Pete, saved the best till last. Every month the team are challenged to create a cocktail that resonates with a specific charity. During my visit, the host charity was Barnados, so in keeping with its green branding and echoing the current ecological trends in cocktail design, The Believer was born. The cocktail features a pipette of chlorophyll (the stuff that makes plants green) and it also has great detoxification properties. Thankfully, unlike many healthy ingredients such as wheatgrass, it doesn’t really taste of anything horrible.
*During my visit I was hosted by The Botanist. All views and opinions are my own. Prices and menu options correct at time of review.
Restaurants, Bars and food/drink pop ups and reviews
There's nothing more delicious in life than indulging in a sensational meal.