London: Veg Buffet, Inspiral

On our way to Camden market, we passed by Inspiral vegan cafe, one of the restaurants I really looked forward to visiting. They offer a large variety of dishes – delicious looking mains, cooked as well as raw, cakes (including tiramisu cake, chocolate mousse cake, and a raw key lime pie), raw chocolates and truffels, and vegan ice cream.

I was especially excited about the range of interesting ice cream flavours they list on their website, although they didn’t have all of those in the restaurant when we got there. After contemplating the different flavours they did have, we ordered a scoop of Raw Chocolate Chunk ice cream, pictured below.

Inspiral Chocolate Ice Cream

We both liked it, but it’s definitely not the best ice cream I’ve had – I gues I would’ve liked it to have a stronger, more distinct chocolatey flavour. Or maybe I don’t love chocolate and cashews together (their ice creams are cashew based). In any case, I didn’t think it was bad, but I think my boyfriend liked it more than I did. I’d still love to try their other ice cream flavours…

I also would’ve liked to try some of Inspiral’s main dishes, but the menu they had that day didn’t appeal to my boyfriend very much, and we wanted to explore more of Camden, so we decided to look for another restaurant for our dinner. We quickly encountered a man holding a sign that advertised an all-vegetarian buffet, which sounded like just the place for us. I had heard of these restaurants before – there’s a chain of Chinese/Thai buffet restaurants in London where you can get a small lunch takeout box for £3,50 and eat in for £6,50 or so. I’d read mixed reviews on this chain, but we were willing to try them out.

Unfortunately, neither of us was very impressed. Sure, this was a relatively cheap meal, everything in the restaurant was vegan, and the staff were quite friendly, but there wasn’t a single thing in the buffet that I really loved. There were a couple of mock meat dishes that weren’t as good as I hoped, and the veggies they had seemed a bit plain and were sometimes overly salty. I think I would’ve liked the food more if they’d done a better job at keeping everything warm, too – most things were cold by the time we got to eat them.

Veg Buffet in London

Still, it wasn’t too bad for such an inexpensive meal, and we filled our plates with the foods we liked best – in my case, that was fruit salad, potatoes, spring rolls, and some veggies. So I did have some tasty food and I don’t really regret trying this restaurant, but we both would’ve liked to have had a more exciting dinner this evening – after all, I know it’s possible to get amazing vegan meals in London.

So for dessert, we headed back to Inspiral for some cake!

Tiramisu Cake at Inspiral!

I looove tiramisu, but it can take so long to make yourself – I’d never  pass up the opportunity to get vegan version in a restaurant! Okay, so this is is tiramisu cake, which is slightly different from actual layered dessert, but it was still wonderful. Not as boozy as I’ve come to expect of tiramisu, but it was much creamier, especially with the dollop of Soyatoo on the side.

I hope someday I’ll get the chance to go back to Inspiral and try their lasagne or their mushroom pastie. And if I do, I’ll definitely get another slice of that cake, as well!

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