[Spoiler alert] 222 Veggie Vegan is one of the best places to eat vegan food in London. Founded in 2004 by vegan chef Ben Asamani, 222 Veggie Vegan is all about fresh, natural, nutritious eating. Don’t expect vegan junk food here, this is for the grown ups.
I took my second visit to 222 Vegan last night with 3 work colleagues who are not vegan, so this would be a good test whether or not a group of non-vegans would enjoy the food as much as me. I had reserved a table for the 4 of us and was glad I did as the restaurant was full when we arrived. One thing worth mentioning about 222 is that after 6.30pm you can park directly outside the restaurant on the single yellow lines – VIP-style.
The restaurant itself is quite small and probably can’t hold more than 50 guests. The atmosphere inside was perfect throughout our visit, with good conversation and laughter heard all around us, friendly (cheeky) staff and the soulful sounds of Al Green gently playing through the speakers.
The only negative comment I have to make about our evening was the length of time it took to be served. After arriving we sat at our tables for over 10 minutes before being offered the chance to order drinks. Eventually we had to call over to a waitress to serve our table which was a bit embarrassing. I appreciate the restaurant was busy and the staff is a small team, but we were left to feel a bit forgotten about after taking our seats.
But I can get over that, because I want to talk about the food. Which is AMAZING.
As my starter, I ordered the Bean and Tofu Pancake, which is a ‘delicious blend of black-eyed beans and tofu wrapped in a tender wholemeal pancake topped with tomato and vegan cream sauce.’ This is the same starter that I ordered on my previous visit to 222 and it was so good the first time that I had to have it again. The pancake and filling is deliciously delicate, but with enough texture to give it a nice bite. One of my favourite parts of the dish is the vegan cream sauce on the side which is so light and the perfect accompaniment to the pancake.
We also ordered ‘Pitta Dips’, which come with hummus, pimento and avocado dips, and ‘Heart’s Desire’ which is artichoke hearts sautéed with fresh aromatic herbs served on a bed of rocket leaves with a roasted pepper sauce.
The pitta bread is excellent quality but the highlight of the dish for me is the pimento dip. It is seriously tasty, so much so that I plan to make my own version on the blog some time soon. I didn’t have a chance to try the artichoke hearts but my friend who ate them said they were cooked perfectly and his plate was clean soon after it arrived at the table.
For my main course I was tempted by the ‘Seitan Stroganoff’ as I’d eaten this previously and it had been the highlight of my visit, however in the spirit of trying more dishes for this review I opted for the ‘222 Burger’. When the burger arrived I was a bit disappointed with the look of it to be honest. The wholemeal roll looked unappealing and the patty inside looked a bit dry. However any concerns I had were soon forgotten after I took my first bite. The patty, which is a blend of organic tofu and veggies was soft on the inside, full of flavour and held together well. The 222 Burger came with a side of oven baked chips and home made ketchup, neither of which I can fault.
Two of the other guys both ordered the ‘Ben’s Special’ as their main course. We were told this dish is a favourite with 222 customers and is their ‘In-house special stir-fry with either organic brown basmati rice or organic wheat-free noodles.’ It is prepared with seasonal vegetables and you can choose between seitan or marinated tofu in the dish. It’s named after the founder and head chef at 222 – Ben Asamani. The guys spoke very highly of the dish and were surprised by the complexity of the flavours.
(Side note… ) this is something I always try to explain to people about vegan cooking. When cooking with vegetables as the main part of your dish, you have to really pay attention to the flavours and seasoning, as you are not relying on a slab of meat of a pile of grated cheese to bring the flavour to your dish!
We also ordered 3 rounds of baked plantain as a side dish, which was thickly cut and cooked to perfection.
By the time we’d finished the mains we were absolutely stuffed. I have to say thank you for 222 Vegan for serving up proper portion sizes and really filling our bellies!
Despite being uncomfortably full, we ordered dessert. For research purposes obviously… One of the other guys and myself both ordered the ‘222 pancake’ which is vanilla ice cream wrapped in a wholemeal pancake, topped with warm vanilla and chocolate sauce. As with the other 2 courses, the dessert didn’t disappoint. The highlight was the vanilla ice cream which is so rich and creamy, I’d challenge anyone to tell me why they would prefer to eat dairy ice cream. 🤷♂️
After the meal we got the bill and stayed at our table for another half an hour until we were the last ones in the restaurant and had to leave as they were closing. Something about the atmosphere at 222 Vegan just relaxes you and makes you want to stay. Maybe it was that we couldn’t move after all the food. Maybe it was the Al Green on the speakers. Who knows, but I can say for sure that the food at 222 Vegan is world class quality and will impress both vegans and non-vegans alike. I’ll be going back for my 3rd visit soon!
- Bean and Tofu Pancake
- Pitta Dips (just for the pimento dip alone!)
- Seitan Stroganoff
- Ben’s Special
- 222 Pancake
- Apple Crumble with vanilla ice cream
- Amazing food
- Good atmosphere
- Friendly staff
- Amazing food (worth saying twice)
- The seitan
- The ice cream
- Parking outside
- Initial service was a bit slow
- Many of the dishes on the menu were not available that night.