It was Day 2. Friday night, we'd had some ciders (Stowford Press is vegan, hooray!) and we needed to eat. Normally, a curry you'd think would be quite safe - just have the vegetable curries and hold the yoghurt, right? Except they may have been cooked in ghee. It's a minefield. Happily though, Sagar Vegetarian, a South Indian restaurant with 3 branches around London is vegan-friendly and we headed there for some much needed sustenance. I was feeling weak and light-headed.
The menu is vast and informative, with wheat free, nut free, onion and garlic free menus available online. The 8 of us ordered a mish-mash of dishes and hoped for the best. On the waiter's advice, a couple of dosas (opening picture) were ordered and they were a golden pancake stuffed with potatoes and onions. The pancake was crispy, the potatoey innards creamy in texture and spiced. Creamy! Oh joy. A thin curry sauce was surprisingly spicy, and the red coconut sambal tempered it somewhat. Kancheepuram Idli (above) was a steamed rice and lentil patty, again with the red coconut chutney and the curry sauce. Surprisingly light, this was a hit with the table, especially with the green spicy coconut.
Pani Puri, from the Bombay Chowpatti Special section, were DIY. Crispy hollow spheres were served with a thin sour broth with chickpeas - you poke a hole into them, fill it with chickpeas and a little of that broth and then pop it in your mouth whole to burst like a balloon. They were a nice little mouthful. Sev puri, as above but topped with onions and garlic and a yoghurt sauce were hoovered up quick smart by those still able to eat dairy.
Okra, aubergine and chick pea masalas were also ordered to go with some garlic rice and were deftly scooped up by puffy pooris (below). Onion and chilli uthappam was described as a 'rice and lentil pizza' but it was more like a flatbread, and our waiter warned us it would be spicy; indeed, with all of the dishes they didn't hold back with the spicing, and we were pleased for it. Brows became a little clammy and sniffles were heard around the table.
Washed down with a couple of beers and a few bottles of wine, we ate handsomely for £22 a head. All of the table claimed they didn't miss the meat and I agree; it was tasty stuff, and we didn't have to go through the awkwardness of "er, is this... vegan?" Post vegan-madness, I'll still be going back. Maybe this veganism thing isn't so bad after all. (I dreamt of feta cheese last night.)
17A Percy Street
London W1T 1DU
Tel: 020 7631 3319