I visited The Albany in Great Portland Street, London, during Veganuary, to check out why there was such a big board promoting their vegan dishes. Here I share some tasty snippets of their vegan menu and suggest ways to make it healthier. This blogpost isn’t about endorsing particular restaurants; it’s about helping you to make better choices if you’re visiting them.
The cheesy nachos really surprised me. I’ve tried an array of vegan cheeses, and they’ve all fallen short on taste and texture. This cheese is perfectly melted and has the stringy texture I expect from melted cheddar. I liked the idea of the tikka bites, which are a vegan take on chicken. However, I didn’t feel they were a good replacement to chicken tikka; they were deep fried, and didn’t have the tikka flavour or chicken texture. But they did taste good, especially with the mango chutney and raita. Here’s my self-made platter from the vegan starters. If you’re with a group, you might like to order dishes and share them out so you’re getting variety and not over-doing the fried choices.
It was reassuring to see classic pub dishes made into vegan options – I’m used to seeing a risotto or salad as the meat alternative. This was a real eye opener. My colleague said he wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between a meat chilli and the vegan option. I loved the coconut flavoured sweet potato curry – though the carbs were a bit high as it was served with sticky rice and fried tortilla wedges.
But the Beyond Meat Burger was my favourite. It not only looked sumptuously inviting, but I was also pleased to see how soy protein had been used to deliver on taste and texture. Soy protein is the highest quality plant protein you can get, and many of my patients struggle to make it taste good. The supermarket burgers like No Bull from Iceland have been a real disappointment, but the Beyond Meat burger is delicious, particularly with all the salad and saucy toppings. I suggest you ditch the fries and go for a salad wedge accompaniment instead.
Read my interview with the manager, Tom Dudley.
My thanks to The Albany for asking me to test the menu and give my honest opinion. This blog has not been influenced by The Albany.