Vegan Cocktails and Food at The Perception, W London
Despite the drizzly evening in London, I was looking forward to trying some new vegan cocktails and food at The Perception, the restaurant at W London. It has been a while since I walked through Leicester Square but it’s still buzzing with all kinds of street artists and people. Just round the corner on Wardour Street is the imposing entrance to W London a stone’s throw from the entrance to China Town, a spectacle in itself worth seeing. But, today, the entrance to W was in full bloom and we found out later what was going on. In the meanwhile the vibrant colourst certainly lifted our spirits as we shook out our damp umbrella and escaped the rain.
Sophisticated and quirky, glamorous and decadent, W London – Leicester Square crystallizes the quintessential dual personality of the British soul. Located steps away from theatreland, the catwalks of Brewer Street and Soho’s electric nightlife, the hotel – like the city itself – is a bold contrast of themes, colours, textures and characters.
We made our way up to The Perception Bar, which as its name suggests changes its focus regularly. As the bar says
From sun up to sun down, soak in trailblazing interiors, bar-raising cocktails, mouth-watering dining experiences and exhilarating music & events programming; all overlooking the hustle and bustle of the streets of Soho below. Here, forget what you thought you knew. The lines are blurred, the game constantly changes and convention is turned on its head…
All very apt as we were to discover.
We were here to try Ravinder Bhogal’s all-vegan dining menu paired with vegan wines and a vegan cocktail. This was supplemented by Perception’s new idea of pairing food and cocktails with flowers and herbs.
We were initially shown into the bar area where a DJ was already in full swing with loud music we managed to communicate that we thought we may be in the wrong area. We were promptly moved to the other quieter side of the bar with a comfortable seating area. Our waitress talked us through our food and cocktail choices.
Whilst the vegan cocktails were our focus other options were not off limits and my friend stuck with her preferred type.
I picked one of the vegan specialities though, purple rain which looked beautiful and tasted just as good. A base of Bombay Sapphire Gin, one of my favourites, with Violette and lychee liqueurs, cranberry and lemon.
We went over to look at the fiery flower wall in more detail. We were invited to use the complimentary photo booth which was set up with a flower wall background. Not being of the ‘selfie’ generation we struggled to get the perfect pose so I won’t be sharing those here. We did have a good giggle trying to look in the right place and get a good picture. More tricky than sounds!
Whilst our focus was to sample and review the cocktails and some accompaniments we were invited to try the full menu. That way we could experience the flower wall where we could pick flowers, herbs and even chillies to supplement and beautify our food. The menu was an interesting selection of dishes and whilst my gluten-free diet posed a few queries I was able to eat enough of the dishes to have a choice.
We started with the very popular Cauliflower Popcorn which was accompanied by a tasty black vinegar and chilli dip and Thai Basil Tempura.
We also tried the Crispy Beancurd and Rice Noodle Summer Rolls with a chilli and sesame dip. As the dips were spicy enough we stuck with supplementing the dishes with some herbs.
It was time for another cocktail so I braved the Spice Boy! A fiery combination of tequila, tamarind, chilli and lime was certainly a spicy little number – just my style!
For mains, I had the Cheela, Pumpkin and Cashew Curry, Cabbage Thoran and Coconut Chutney which was tasty although could have done with a little more bite. The chef did manage to make this wheat free which was really impressive, given the short notice. However, this was a dish where I was tempted to add chillis fresh from the flower wall.
My friend had the sweet potato gnocchi, perfect if you like a slightly sweet dish.
The ‘cheesecake’ style dessert which, as it was vegan, obviously did not have cheese or dairy in it was beautifully presented and lovely light and topped with succulent mango.
This was a definitely a different experience with unusual food and cocktails showing how you can eat well as a vegan. It’s worth being aware that the setting can be a bit lively with something a little more than background music at all times. The seating area does allow some intimacy though, so it’s not hard to hold a conversation. All in all, it was a fun evening out in a very different space with interesting food and fabulous cocktails. Well worth a visit if you fancy an evening out in the heart of Soho.
The vegan theme will continue until the end of June, so catch it while you can! You can find more about the food at the Perception Bar and about Ravinder Bhogal on Simon’s earlier review of The Perception at W London
W London – Leicester Square
10 Wardour Street
W1D 6QF London
T: 0207 758 1060