RAW (Bayswater, London)

It seems social media really is everything these days when it comes to launching small businesses. While some of the least significant manage to generate thousands of Facebook likes, others slip quietly into existence - their potential clientele completely unaware.

How can it be in 2013 that a vegan restaurant open in an upmarket London hotel without anyone realising? I made the mistake of booking a table when I visited in November, which turned out to be completely unneeded as I was the only diner.

Their restaurant's a room (+outdoor seating) within La Suite West, just round the corner from Bayswater tube station. According to the website they do cooked non-vegetarian breakfasts too - I don't know whether this is in the same restaurant or elsewhere.

Arriving around 5pm I opted for their afternoon tea, which they describe as "a quintessentially contemporary vegan alternative to this Great British tradition. With a combination of designer finger sandwiches, home made scones served with coconut cream and fresh strawberries, followed by a delectable selection of home made pastries."

A Selection of Finger Sandwiches

Grilled Portobello | basil pesto | cherry tomatoes
Hummus | cucumber | rocket | red onion slices
Tofu scrambled | spicy guacamole
Roasted butternut squash | cream of artichoke and truffle
Roasted spinach | garlic | aubergine | cauliflower mousse

Warm Home Made Scones | fresh Strawberries | whipped Coconut cream

Mini Chocolate & Coconut Raw Cake | Mini Sesame Halva

Your preferred choice of Tea or Coffee

£19 per person

Like similar restaurants they do cooked food too - their afternoon tea is firmly in this category. Whereas Metrodeco's comes all at once, RAW's comes in 3 courses. I ordered a mocktail too, which turned out to be a good addition.

The sandwiches were beautifully presented and I enjoyed the majority of the flavours (I'm not and never will be a cauliflower fan!). They weren't particularly big thou, the equivalent of about 2 slices of bread between them.

I commented on Metrodeco's post that you should arrive hungry and plan to eat dinner late - at RAW (depending on your appetite) you should be slightly peckish and have dinner lined up soon after...

The scones were tiny. They look reasonably big in that picture, but trust me that's my dodgy iPhone camerawork! They tasted good, but for the sake of a few pence worth of extra mixture could have been a lot more impressive.

In comparison, the bowl of coconut cream that they came with was massive - enough for several people. It seemed homemade (which is nice), but the consistency wasn't quite right - more shiny and gelatinous than creamy. It tasted good though, and having spread as much as I could on the scones resorted to surreptitiously eating the rest with a spoon (it's not like there were other diners to offend!).

So far, so good. I was definitely ready for the "delectable selection of home made pastries" now.

Either that's the world's largest raspberry or the world's smallest looking plate of food. Sadly it was the latter (note the size of the fork on the left). I did wonder whether the pastries were coming in phases, but it seems that's your lot. They were ok - raw truffle on the left, chocolate coated halva in the centre, some sort of cake on the right.

RAW's got a lot going for it - nice part of London, good building, decent crockery/cutlery etc. With a few refinements and less stingy portion sizes their afternoon tea could be really good.

Next time I'll try their restaurant menu - if it involves the ability to sit outside in summer then all the better. I might plan a backup option though, in case I end up leaving hungry!

1 comments:

  1. Sarah Pegues said...:

    I'm familiar with some of the restaurants in Bayswater and my last dining experience was at Ping Pong on 74-76 Westbourne Grove, London, W2 5SH but I haven't come across this one yet.

    I think it must be really hard to distinguish yourself as a vegetarian restaurant as so many places offer handfuls of meat-free dishes, no matter what cuisine really.

    It's disappointing your portions weren't bigger, but the sandwiches look yummy, not being a big meat eater myself.

    P.S does anyone know any good uses of cauliflower in the kitchen?

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