Though I’m not usually one to choose a vegan restaurant, Tendrill doesn’t qualify as that exactly – it self-describes as a “(mostly) vegan kitchen”.  I’m also not one to choose a restaurant that charges £80 for an cancelled reservation.  But the only compensation offered on my follow-up plea to founder and chef, Rishim Sachdeva, was a £40 credit note.  So I reluctantly rebooked.  Not exactly the best start to a dinner here, especially given an important factor of any restaurant is service and experience.  Nevertheless, I write this review on a non-biased basis, untainted by the £40 charge levied on my Amex…

Ex- Fat Duck, Almeida and The Dairy, Sachdeva has had an impressive career to date, but the ride has been something of an up-and-down affair.  A series of pop-ups and supper clubs across the capital soon picked up speed but the pandemic forced doors shut.  Nonetheless, Sachdeva adapted his meals for a heat-at-home delivery service which was primarily vegan.  Having taken part in Veganuary during 2019, Sachdeva’s views on vegan food were completely changed, with the plant-based diet lasting long past the initial month.  The chef now sees himself as ‘mostly’ vegan, with a weak spot for dairy.

A tasting discovery menu is on offer for £39.  However, as we were keen to try the wider spread of dishes on offer a la carte – the choice of which is colourful, fresh and uncompromised by cuisines – we went for that.  To Snack, we went for Aubergine with pickled chillies, puff pastry and tahini (£5).  The aubergine was warm yet incredibly smokey, smooth and moreish.  In deconstructed fashion, the pastry is served separately for scooping up this babaghanoush-like dip.  Sadly, though, it lacked that satisfying crisp you expect from pastry.  In mezze style, the aubergine could also probably have been creamier. 

Our second Snack – Jerusalem artichokes, wakame and cucumber (£5) – was much more of a success.  A marriage of textures, it was a crispy seasonal joy.

Moving on to Small Plates, we ordered the Blue corn tostada with winter squash, corn ‘ndjua, chilli fennel and tapenade (£8).  This cracked and crunched with every bite, contrasting with its softer squash and salsa topping.  The dish could have done with a greater chilli kick and probably avocado, though Sachdeva is conscious of the restaurant’s carbon footbrint. 

Also from the Small Plates, we went for the Chinatown purple potatos with sticky soy and a sesame cracker (£9).  This was probably the highlight of the meal for me.  Bursting with flavour, the potatoes were mouthfuls of sesame moreishness.  The crunchy cracker and marinated radishes also provided welcome accompaniments to the sticky sauce.

The highlight for my companions, meanwhile, was the Crispy beetroot bao with hoisin, ketchup and cucumber (£7.50).  With an incredibly “meaty” texture, and a wonderful saucy finish, the dish showcased what vegetables are capable of, deliveriny on all moreish umami fronts.

As Large Plates, we shared the Chiptole Mushroom, with crispy potato, watercress, peanuts and salsa verde (£16).  For me, the dish lacked much flavour.  The mushrooms were under-seasoned and the potatoes were rather flat, even with the accompanying leek sauce.

Our other Large Plate – Roasted Cauliflower with sweet potato fritter, moilee and pita bread (£16) – delivered on all fronts.  Cauliflower and tahini is a fail safe combo and this take didn’t disappoint.  Smokey, wonderfully charred and slathered in tahini, the vegetable was cooked to perfection.  The accompanying fritter was deliciously sweet, though very small in portion. 

To finish, we couldn’t resist a taste of the rare-to-find vegan Tiramisu (£6).  Though lacking any coffee flavour and more of a creamy chocolate spounge, it was wonderfully light, spongy and layered in textures. 

Sachdeva clearly shows passion for the planet and his plates.  Though my experience is still tainted by my earlier cancellation charge and the lack of understanding, the menu and delivery at Tendrill is innovative, diverse and elevates vegetables to showcase creatively unusual dishes. 

Tendrill, 5 Princes St, London W1B 2LQ

Website: https://www.tendrilkitchen.co.uk/

Rating: ***

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