Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Finding respite from the meat and 3 veg variety of eateries was quite a task, and it wasn't that choices are lacking in London town. It comes back to the rather curious dilemma of there never being a table, anywhere! Diners are slowly coming around to the idea of vegetarian and gluten-free eating, searching for a health kick in their diet (or is that allaying guilt?). Nobody is perhaps more ready to embrace an emerging trend than a Soho hipster. Enter, Mildreds.       

The rather quaint blue-hued exterior. You know you're in London when you have a dapper gentleman in a trench coat blistering past!

Mildreds is a fairly seasoned player, established over 20 years ago on a small block on Lexington St. Vegetarian food is its major selling point and boy do the locals love it. We found ourselves there at the tail end of the lunch rush and the place was still packed to the rafters! The dining room is a rather simple banquet-seat affair, bathed in sunlight and livened up with a few potted plants. 

Views from the rather stylish private dining room, worlds away from the daily grind Credit: Mildreds

Confronted with the menu, you face the rather daunting task of picking from a multitude of dishes, with influences from all over the globe.  In addition to the à la carte options there are also a number of daily blackboard specials. Whatever you might fancy from Mexican to Sub-Continental, it'll be on there. Unfortunately, I'm not actually convinced this is a good thing. The menu could benefit from being reined in a little. Instead of doing everything at par (or sub par), it would be better to hone your skills on a couple of things done really well. Makes sense, no?

Panfried halloumi, cherry tomato and wilted spinach with balsamic glaze. I don't know about you, but I am SUCH a sucker for haloumi. It's like an achilles heel. This version was perfectly reasonable but nothing gave it that wow factor. I'm sure you could whip up a very similar dish at home. The haloumi from Nomad in Sydney on the other hand definitely had "It" (sorry, folks)

Sweet potato fries with mayo (or chipotle). Again, you could tell immediately that  these fries were basically large chunks of baked sweet potato. I was hopeful for that crunch in the skin without any luck. Suffice it to say I was actually looking for a deep fryer here *Gasps*. I kept having flashbacks to the glorious sweet potato chips done by Veggie Patch Van back home

Sri Lankan sweet potato and cashew nut curry with yellow basmati rice with peas and coconut tomato sambal. This was easily the most popular dish on the menu. It was made rather mild but the samba adds a nice hit of spice. And the serving size is ginormous! 

I need to mention that the service was rather haphazard and generally chaotic that day. One of my fellow diners was given the wrong main which was then hastily corrected. Yes, the restaurant was busy but it has always been that way as far as I can see. Another waiter on the floor might have helped the flow (or lack thereof :S) of the service! 

Fresh tortellini filled with pumpkin and ricotta, with chestnut mushroom, white wine cream sauce, drizzled with truffle oil. Don't get me wrong, I love the odd veggo meal but you don't need to overcompensate with stodgy additions like cream and cheese by the bucketload. I suppose it was a bad menu choice on my part! The pasta was reasonably cooked, but each tortellino had too much filling. This dish was rather heavy going; climate appropriate, yes but also giving indigestion!

All in all, the food at Mildreds was acceptable and reasonably priced. I do think however that they've spread themselves thin with a menu that is brimming with too many options, to their detriment. It sounded very nice on paper but in the end doesn't quite deliver. It's certainly a far cry from veggo food in Asia! The cracks in the service come simply from lacking front of house staff at their busiest times. Of course it's all easier said than done and I know that Mildreds will be bearing the flag for vegetarian cuisine in Soho for many years to come.
Butternut squash, pepper, smoked chilli and cheddar pasta bake. Funnily enough, this pasta had less cheese to the sauce than expected!

Thanks for reading!
Mildred's on Urbanspoon


  1. I seem to be loving my Australian blogs lately. Those pumpkin ravioli look decadent. Love your blog and your food. Check mine out, I live in Phoenix but am a flight attendant and visit Sydney regularly. Would love to meet and talk food next time I'm in town. Mary



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