Mildreds – Veganuary and Beyond

Last Updated on January 14, 2023

Plant-Based Food Festival in Soho

For a colored carnivore like myself, moving gradually towards a flexible lifestyle is part of my own contribution to living a more sustainable lifestyle. While I don’t want to give up meat altogether, I increasingly enjoy cooking vegan and vegetarian dishes at home and I’ve enjoyed some delicious meals at several plant-based restaurants in London. While we’ve reviewed Mildreds in Covent Garden, we’d never been to the Soho branch so I was delighted to have the opportunity to sample their Vietnamese menu alongside dishes from their a la carte menu. The Lexington Street branch, rambling on several floors of an old townhouse, is a stone’s throw from the original restaurant on Greek Street where Mildred started in 1988. The atmosphere was buzzing and on the night we went, packed with hungry diners.

Mildreds exterior

Of course, Veganuary alone could impact the popularity of places like Mildreds. This is a movement that started in the UK in 2015, with around 12,800 native participants. In the past year, that number has grown to nearly 630,000 people, all signed up to try vegan in January. With a place to eat like Mildreds I’m not surprised. Their philosophy, to celebrate internationally inspired plant-based food using fresh, vibrant and flavorful ingredients is one that fits perfectly into Soho’s multicultural culinary scene and is reasonably priced – you’ll be paying under £10 for a small plate and around £15 for large plates and ‘bread’, around £10-£12 for cocktails and between £20 and £50 for wine per bottle. All wines are also offered by the glass and carafe and there is an excellent selection of non-alcoholic drinks and cocktails.

Cocktails - Mildred

Vietnamese-inspired dishes and mocktails are to celebrate Vietnam’s Lunar New Year, the têt festival. If you happen to be taking part in Dry January then there are three special options – Ha Long Bay Spritz, Kumquat Iced Tea and the low ABV cocktail, Lost Paradise, made with Koko Kanu, cacao blanc, coconut juice, lime, agave and soda. We had arranged to review Mildreds before going to the Soho Theater for a late night comedy show and we both felt the need for something a little stronger. My partner ordered the Smoky beet bandido with mezcal, beetroot and hibiscus bush, lime and pimento ginger beer. Intoxicatingly heady and unpretentious, it’s the perfect way to warm yourself up on a cold, damp January night. My pear and bergamot drink with young vodka, elderflower, bergamot and pear soda is light and fragrant and would not be out of place poolside in the summer. It was a delicious aperitif and a great complement to our first starter.

Vietnamese Menu - Mildreds

We shared a cup plate of rice crackers from the Vietnamese menu. Made using a base of rice crackers covered with little gems of lettuce filled with sesame tempeh, pickled carrots with a small pitcher of mirabelle plum Nước Chấm and peanuts for added flavour, this is a mouthful of deliciousness. I also like the idea – cups of rice crackers add just the right texture to elevate the dish while tempeh, an Indonesian specialty similar to tofu but made by fermenting whole soybeans, adds protein and a meaty texture.

Roman Artichokes - Mildreds

Just in case we were in danger of getting too healthy, we added Roman artichokes with ajo blanco and migas – lightly battered artichokes in the most delicious sauce.

Sausage and Ground Fennel - Mildred

My friend’s ‘large’ plate (read VERY, VERY generous) of mashed and fennel sausage with stewed cabbage, onion jam and red wine juice looked very convincing to this carnivore and the fennel sausage really didn’t ‘miss’ the meat. It’s the kind of classic plateful I usually pair with a good game sausage – but the fragrant fennel sausage is perfectly balanced with the red wine jus and onion jam.

Sri Lankan Coconut Curry - Mildreds

The highlight of the evening was Kiri Hodi, a Sri Lankan coconut milk curry with curry leaves, sweet potato and mung bean sabzi, pickled pineapple, cashew coconut sev, basmati nuts and mango mint chutney.

Sticky Toffee -Mildreds

We probably didn’t need dessert, but it’s hard to resist a menu that includes ginger sticky toffee pudding and crème brûlée. My colleague was totally taken aback by the crème brûlée – made without cream or eggs and said he thought it was indistinguishable from the classic dish. Beautifully presented, absolutely did not disappoint.

Mildreds Creme Brulee

The sticky toffee pudding with apple cinnamon and nutmeg cream was equally delicious, the pudding itself light and fluffy with a delicious gooey caramel sauce.

We ended our meal with coffee before heading off to our late night theater show. And, we both decided to go again. We love the enthusiasm of the whole team for what they serve. It’s a genuinely friendly place where nothing seems too much trouble and where the food magically appears at the right time. I’m also starting to wonder if you’re more likely to experience exemplary vegan food at a restaurant that serves just that. The last two vegan restaurants I tried were of good quality (the last being the power plant on Selina in Camden) – but if I ventured for the vegan option at my favorite omnivore spot, I was often disappointed. Does your taste buds change all night if you don’t eat meat? Or simply because chefs in completely vegan restaurants know better how to manage ingredients that omnivores may not be used to (tempeh, Ajo Blanco, jackfruit and coconut milk for example). It might be a little bit of both – and I’d love to see one pop-up collaboratively with chefs from places like Mildreds working on traditional kitchens for Veganuary. Next year maybe?


45 Lexington Street,
London W1F 9AN
0207 494 1634

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