Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sagar Vegetarian, Fitzrovia


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.)

Sagar Vegetarian
17A Percy Street
London W1T 1DU


Tel: 020 7631 3319


Sagar on Urbanspoon

13 comments:

Su-Lin said...

Love Sagar, though I've only been to the Hammersmith branch. When you're off the veganism, do get an order of their mulaga podi on the side - it's ghee and a spiced lentil powder to put on everything. So good.

Thunderstorm Bun said...

I love that place. They used to have a branch in Twickenham, of all places, where I'm from, and it was my first introduction to how good - and cheap - vegetarian Indian food could be. The Twickenham branch went under (after a pretty good run), probably because rugby fans like meat with their curry, so now I have to travel up to Percy Street to get my Sagar fix.

Lizzie Mabbott said...

Su-Lin - oooh that sounds delicious! Anything which means I can add ghee too...

Thunderstorm - I can't imagine the people of Twickenham being all that enamoured by it. I'm pleased the W1 branch is still open though!

Blonde said...

We used to go for regular office lunches when I worked on Percy St. Cracking place, and hugely bargainous.

Katie said...

Looks great - similar cuisine to Rasa in Stoke Newington, which I live in spitting distance of and have satisfied many dedicated carnivore friends with...

Your post also makes me realise what a step difference it is going for veggie to vegan. I never give ghee or yogurt a second thought but it'd be a real lifestyle change.

Lizzie Mabbott said...

Blonde - oooh I wonder if they still do them... Will have to check it out.

Katie - Yes, I think Rasa is a chain? There's one nearby, I'll try that one out too. The animal products thing is really hard - I found out what lanolin in my lip balm was, for example.... It just requires a lot of thought!

grania said...

there used to be an amazing South Indian restaurant called Woodlands in Chiswick. It has since closed down, though I believe there's still a couple of other branches. The food was heavenly, though it's food like that and a lot of Ottolenghi where you realise you don't need meat all the time.

That said, I was veggie for a long time and really struggled with the idea of going vegan. I'd love to have been able to do it, but vegan cheese really just doesn't cut it.

S said...

Lizzie, I still cant forget the time you had that humongous steak, so I am smiling whilst reading about your vegetarian experience :) Lovely post - here's to spicy vegetarian food x s

S said...

Lizzie, I can still remember your steak-eating contest - so I am smiling whilst reading this post :) I am like you, love spicy South Indian vegetarian food. Lovely post x s

Katie said...

Yes, it's a small chain (5 or 6 around town), I think the Stokey one is the only purely veggie one.

Didn't think of lanolin - I guess it's considered veggie since the sheep doesn't die, but definitely not vegan. Steer clear of gelatine-y gummy sweets too; that's very hard for me! Lots of beers and wines use fish bits in their processing too..

Hannah BurgersAndBruce said...

Thank god you are finding some decent places to eat out!!

Sharmila said...

I used to go here for the lunch deal in Hammersmith a lot. It's good value!

Su-Lin - I didn't realise mulaga podi had ghee in it? I have made it (there's actually a recipe on my blog), but I usually just mix it up with a bit of veg and sesame oil. Though have to admit the thought of ghee with it is pretty immense.

Jo Jo on Percy st said...

Great place for veggies and even keeps the meat freaks happy once you can trick them past the door (including myself). They still do the best Thali plate in town, we've knicknamed it the Thali hut. You have a starter of some kind of deep fried deliciousness like batata vada or similar with spicy chutneys and then a big Thali plate with rice, a big fluffy & crispy dosa and little pots of different curries and sambals and something sweet like rice pudding all for £6 or so. I just need to lie to the boys in the office and not tell them it's veggie to get them in there more often!