Happy New Year! I have high hopes for 2019, not least because I’ve got a three week trip to Japan to look forward to in the summer. 2018 was, as always, a great year to be vegan and Dr HH and I were lucky enough to visit a good few destinations and discover their culinary delights. Here are my top five eateries of the year, along with five that I think could do better.
Hit #1: Dall’Albero, Rome
It’s a vegan cheese lab. What more do I need to say? This is one of the best places I’ve been to in my whole life, nevermind 2018.
Miss #1: Lasagneria, Prague
Every day my tram takes me past this lasagne restaurant in Prague, and when I told Dr HH about it, he enthusiastically suggested that I enquire about vegan options. I thought there was no point, and set about scrolling through their Instagram posts in order to prove him wrong. But there it was: a mention of vegan lasagne! I sent them a message to confirm, and off we went. But we had to wait almost an hour for the vegan version to be cooked (while all the meat eaters were readily tucking into theirs, and even though we had booked in advance), and it was the most flavourless, gluey lasagne you can imagine. There was no tomato or ragu in there, just pasta, courgettes and peppers, a tiny hint of seasoning, and a disgustingly gloopy bechamel. Never again.
Hit #2: Wani, Rome
Rome delivered yet again with this delightful all vegan bakery. We got a few different treats there, but it’s these chocolate bombs that Dr HH and I still reminisce about on an almost daily basis.
Miss #2: Whole Foods, London
I thought Whole Foods would be a good place to pick up a vegan doughnut or cake for breakfast while in London, and was really disappointed to find that all of the vegan options were in plastic containers…while the non-vegan doughnuts and cupcakes weren’t. It was weird. The only vegan, non-plastic options were some fairly unexciting banana and blueberry muffins. The tide seems to be turning regarding plastic in the UK, so hopefully this will improve.
Hit #3: Sova, Dublin
This was the place I was most looking forward to visiting in Dublin, and it certainly lived up to my expectations. It was one of the fanciest meals I ate this year (and the brunch was not too shabby either). The scallops will live on forever in my memory!
Miss #3: Lola’s Cupcakes, London
I picked up a cupcake for the ride to the airport last time I was in London, having heard good things about Lola’s. Alas, the icing was so heavy that when I picked the cake up from its wrapper, the sponge just collapsed under the weight. It was all a bit of a disaster. Maybe I just chose poorly…or maybe they should only ever be tackled with a utensil? Either way, eating this in public is certainly not recommended.
Hit #4: Midland Hotel, Manchester
I’ve had my share of vegan afternoon teas, and this one really stands out from the crowd. It was a really fancy affair, shared with my favourite people to celebrate my birthday, and everything was both delicious and classy. Now I’m always disappointed when I go for afternoon tea and they don’t have a scone warmer.
Miss #4: Jam, Liverpool
I feel bad for complaining about an afternoon tea, when I should be thankful that vegan versions are so readily available these days. But this was not a very classy affair, and we were misled on the menu – don’t promise a vegan macaron if there won’t be one!
Hit #5: Temple of Camden, London
I love mock chicken and I love mac and cheese, but it’s easy to get them both slightly wrong. Temple of Camden delivered on both counts, and I often find myself plotting how to get back to London to revisit this wonderful place.
Miss #5: The Green, Nuremberg
Overpriced places like this give veganism a reputation for being inaccessible. And the smoothie bowls weren’t even the right temperature!
What were your best and worst eateries of the year? Help me plan my future travels!