Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Magnificent Manna!

I clambered out of the cab onto the quiet London side street in Primrose Hill and it felt as though all of my worries and stresses from the day remained in that taxi as I began my serene and blissful evening at Manna. The ambience of the restaurant is divine with quirky yet calming decoration that sets the tone for the combined joyful & relaxing evening which this restaurant is so skilled at creating. For a vegan the menu was more than just a breath of fresh air, each description of every dish enticed me to a degree where I wasn’t in a position where I could choose what I was going to order. Each dish sounded impeccable to the point where I was forced to regress back many years and leave it to my Mum to decide what I was going to eat. It was just so refreshing to look at a menu and know that I could eat all of it, the inevitable problem being that I was then strongly inclined to eat all of it (self-restraint isn’t my strong point!). The range of dishes that Manna offers spans to cater for every possible need and desire whether you’re a person who wants to try a unique and ‘never tasted before’ dish or go back to the classics like ‘Bangers and Mash’.

I had a colourful start to the night as I ordered their milkshake that was made up of coconut milk with flavours of strawberry and mango. My Mum and I ended up sharing a combination of three starters as a mezze consisting of the cannellini bean slider, an Indian pizza and the raw spicy almond & date falafel. By the end I was a fully converted fan of unhealthy dishes made healthy. The accumulation of spices and flavours made me feel exceedingly excited (maybe verging on the edge of being too happy!).  Within 5 minutes the plate was licked clean, I shan’t attempt to describe the dishes in copious detail as it would only fatally do them injustice; you just simply have to try them for yourself!


For mains Mum and I shared the smoked cashew cheese fajitas, the different sauces worked so well together and didn’t overpower the flavours of the pinto beans & corn filling instead everything just complimented each other perfectly. By this point I’d probably eaten enough, so I knew it was time to go that step further and order pudding. I had a raw dish that had only just been added to the menu that day; raw chocolate hazelnut tart. I think that’s enough said. If the sound of that doesn’t physically excite you then I’ll push it over edge and inform you of the raspberry coulis and coconut ice-cream served with it. Boom; heaven on a plate. I finished the last mouthful and I wondered how food could get much better than that. To round the occasion off I had the ‘manna mint magic’, a refreshing hot drink filled with ginger, lemon, lime and other wonderful ‘feel good’ ingredients, it also helped my digestion that evening as an added bonus.

I would call it ‘feel good food’ as I couldn’t help but feel really happy eating it, yet it wasn’t the type of meal that left me feeling stodgy or regretful about the quantities that I indulged. The presentation of the food was beautiful and, to me, looked like a work of art, yet another positive factor that added to the whole Manna experience.  I felt slightly guilty not savouring the moment before eating, instead I dove straight into each course as if I hadn’t eaten in weeks, but it all just tasted so good! Needless to say that the service was quick and efficient and all of the staff were friendly and cheerful. Celebrity fans of the restaurant include Anne Hathaway, Russell Brand, Mila Kunis and Chris Martin; well if it’s good enough for them I suppose it’ll do for me! I think it’s safe to say that they couldn’t have chosen a better suited adjective to name the restaurant after. ‘Manna’, meaning ‘food of the God’s’, is the most articulate description of exactly what this restaurant provides.

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