London: The Gallery Cafe

On our fourth day in London, we stopped at Holland & Barrett again for some breakfast on the go. We bought another package of mini Provamel soya yoghurts (raspberry this time), and I got this “Italiano” by Veg.Out:

Veg.Out pastry and Provamel soy yoghurt

The label describes this as a “Vegetable Lattice Slice”; “Pasta & Fresh Vegetables in a Bolognese Sauce”, and it was basically puff pastry filled with wheat pasta and sauce. It seems strange to put pasta in a pastry, but I actually really liked this! The textures went well together and the sauce was pretty tasty. As with all puff pastry foods, though, this would probably have been much better served warm.

The Gallery Cafe, London

Not long after our breakfast (we got up a bit late that morning), we wandered over to The Gallery Cafe for some lunch. This cafe is a lovely little place (I wish I’d taken more pictures of the interior!) that offers vegetarian and vegan dishes for a decent price. There’s a blackboard with the daily menu behind the counter where you order your food, and the friendly staff are also quite happy to inform you of specials and vegan options. We picked out a table right by the window, so we had a nice view of the garden right behind the restaurant.

My boyfriend ordered a spaghetti bolognese, which is vegan if you leave off the cheese, but I didn’t get a good picture of that. I did get one of my equally delicious meal, which was the daily special:

Daily special at the Gallery Cafe in London

That day, the special consisted of penne with cauliflower and courgette in a creamy vegan cheese sauce. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this was really good! I don’t think I’d ever had anything like this in a restaurant before, and now I’d like to try making this myself some time. I wonder what they put in the cheezy sauce… In any case, I really enjoyed this. It was quite filling, too.

Organic Elderflower Drink at the Gallery Cafe in London

To go with my meal, I ordered this wonderful organic elderflower soft drink. I had no idea what an elderflower drink would taste like, but I really love this! I’m going to try to buy it more often. I think we also have an elderflower flavoured syrup at home, so maybe I could make my own…

Gallery Cafe Menu

Here’s a picture of the menu outside the restaurant, to give you an idea. Just make sure to check the blackboard inside the restaurant, too, because the menu changes daily. They told us they didn’t have any vegan cakes on offer that particular day, but on other days they might, so make sure you ask the staff about vegan options as well! Everyone seemed super friendly there, and I’d love to go back some day. I know I say this about pretty much every place I visited in London but well… it’s true. I’ll be back with more vegan London pictures later!

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London: Pizza Express!

As I mentioned earlier, we only had breakfast at the B&B in London once. For the remaining days, we decided to take the opportunity to shop at health food stores and try out some new products. We stopped by Holland & Barrett a few times because there’s a store right on Ealing Broadway (close to where we stayed). Here’s what we got on our second morning:

breakfast!

A package of Provamel cherry flavoured yoghurts (which, sure, I can get in the Netherlands too, but I don’t usually get this flavour… and I just love these little yoghurt cups!), and a “Supreme Sos Roll”, a puff pastry roll with vegan sausage-y filling. The store sold a bunch of different puff pastry rolls of the same brand, and I’d like to try more of them some day. This Sos Roll was pretty tasty, but I think it would’ve been so much better if I’d had the opportunity to heat it in the oven first. The filling was nice cold, but puff pastry is just at its best when it’s freshly baked and crispy, in my opinion.

For lunch, we went to an all vegan restaurant! More on that later.

We wanted to take a walk around a park after lunch, but due to the ever fickle weather we decided to wander around the city a bit and do some shopping until the rain would stop. I got the chance to stock up on some Lush goodies (which are a bit cheaper in the UK than in the Netherlands), so now I have two delicious smelling shampoo bars, a bottle of conditioner, and a tub of body cream to last me for a good while.

Anyway – after a few hours, we decided to head for Battersea Park to have a walk and relax a bit. We were getting hungry by the time we got there, though, so we walked over to the local Pizza Express to have dinner first.

Rustica Tomatoes & Sicilian Lemonade

Now, Pizza Express is a large chain of restaurants and it is definitely not completely vegetarian, but the offer decent vegan options and we both love pizza, so this seemed like just the place for us. The above picture shows one of the appetisers we got, the “Rustica Tomatoes”. I’d expected them to be different, to be honest – these were just like sun-dried tomatoes, and I’d expected juicier, fresher tomatoes. They were pretty tasty though, just not for my boyfriend who’s not a fan of dried fruits/veggies.

The glass on the side is Pizza Express’s Sicilian Lemonade, which sounded interesting, but oh my goodness this was way too sweet for me. I kind of wanted to get a glass of water and add the two together to dilute the incredible sugariness… I’m almost sure something must’ve gone wrong, because I’m sure this could taste great, if only they’d use less sugar and more water. Oh well, on to the good stuff:

Bread & Garlic oil

Bread! I asked for the garlic bread with garlic oil instead of butter, and it was just what we wanted – soft chewy/crispy bread with some olive oil for dipping. I think I would just skip the marinated tomatoes next time and get two portions of this bread.

Pizza Veneziana

And then, of course, the pizza. I got the Veneziana, which features onions, raisins, capers, pine nuts, and olives – they just left off the cheese for me. The toppings were tasty though not super impressive, but I really loved the crust! It’s this soft and chewy texture that I want in my pizza dough, but I haven’t been able to get it like that myself. If I ever go back, I’d like to try one of their pizzas with more fresh vegetables, but this was a good combination of toppings as well. Mmmm pizza…

If you’d like to find out more about the vegan options at Pizza Express, by the way, I suggest checking out this page of the Vegan London website – it has excellent information on which menu items are vegan and which can be made so on request.

After dinner, we had a lovely evening walk around Battersea park, quite close to the pizza restaurant. It was fun! I’d love to go back to that park on a sunny day sometime, and have a nice picnic or something. Here’s me trying to take a picture of the baby ducklings we saw at the pond:

Yeah, not the best pictures… but they were quick, and my battery was empty. Anyway, so cute <3 <3 <3