Vanilla Black

Vanilla Black's approach to vegetable cuisine is not that of vegetarian in the traditional sense, but rather a passion for meeting the challenge of cooking without meat or fish.

The menu utilises modern culinary techniques and ingredients to increase flavour delivery.

fully Fully VEGETARIAN
options VEGAN options
fully Fully ORGANIC

Opening Times

Lunch: Wednesdays - Friday = 12noon to 2pm (last food orders taken at 2pm)
Evenings: Tuesdays - Friday = 6pm onwards (last food orders taken at 9.15pm)


Telephone: 020 7242 2622



17- 18 Tooks Court


Reviews By
We had a lovely meal here, the salt and vinegar gel with pea shoot starter was particularly amazing, I can't wait to go back. 10/10 for service, food, atmosphere and price. Positive Sally Shakespeare
Fri, 03 Feb 2012 22:02:49 +0000
A very sophisticated establishment with beautifully presented and executed quality food. This is the place to go if you want a very high-end, posh dining-out experience but are vegetarian. For me the atmosphere was a little cool, you didn't feel like you could relax and talk; staff seemed a bit tense, so over-formal for my taste, and the food descriptions also over-formalised... however, if you want to impress a vegetarian, this could be a good place to splash the cash! Neutral Jessica Ive
Wed, 16 Sep 2009 14:38:25 +0100
I recently went for a return visit to Vanilla Black and the food was just as delicious as I remembered the first time. My first visit was shortly after they moved to London and the place was, admittedly, very quiet for a Friday evening. I am glad to see that the word has got out and the place had just the right number of diners to feel full without feeling too busy. The menu had a number of new items, and some re-worked dishes that were similar to last time. All of the dishes were prepared perfectly, and had so much flavour that you would never have thought veggie food could taste so good. The level of service is perfect and the staff are just wonderful. At £30 a head for 3 courses, it really is a very reasonable high-end restaurant with some of the best food I've had out in London. Treat someone special, you won't regret it. Positive Graham
Mon, 26 Jan 2009 15:00:32 +0000
Wasn't too difficult to find - it's right next to the Chancery on Cursitor St and most taxi drivers know where that is. We went on a monday night and it was quiet, only four tables so great service but was quiet and cold as quite empty - take a jumper. Decor is stunning you can tell it's all brand new. All the cutlery, crockery and linens are of a very high quality - fine dining for veggies, very rare! Food was gorgeous but only two vegan options for starter and for main. The menu is on the website and updated - there were quite a few cheese dishes, but a selection of cow, sheep and goats cheese. I had the sweetcorn creme brulee with tomato salsa to start which was gorgeous, more like a pudding. My friend had the cheese toastie with picallili which she said was amazing. Main courses we had were the goats cheese on potato rosti and I had the mushroom torte with seasonal veg. All were excellently presented and the mix of vegetables and sauces wonderful. Not massive portions but all is very filling so you wouldn't want it any bigger. Great selection of desserts and good for vegans to get something other than a fruit salad. Bill came to £85 for two (but that only inc one glass of wine) so it's not a cheap eat - we had the 3 courses for £30 and were full. Would recommend as a romantic dinner venue for vegetarians wanting to impress! Will be going back. Positive Nat
Tue, 16 Sep 2008 11:38:27 +0100
It was alright. The food was tasty but some of it wasn't that good so i hope they will improve it. Maybe come next time... Neutral Max Howward
Mon, 01 Sep 2008 14:37:43 +0100
My wife booked us a lunch sitting for my 35th birthday and having been veggie for 18 years, I did not have great expectations of a fully veggie establishment but I was proved wrong... The location is a pain to find but once inside the decor was pleasant and not too formal...The staff were friendly without being fussy, our orders were taken swiftly and the food was divine..It is not often that I am moved to write a review of an establishment but this one is a gem... We started with ceps creme bruelle' and the aged feta with toasted orange cake..both of which would warrant a mention in any foodie guide followed by the poached ducks egg with hickory smoked croquette..Again, an absolute gem.. I would not hesitate to recommend this establishment to anyone, veggie or not & look forward to returning very soon.. 3 courses for 2 people with water, a bottle of rose' and coffees came to under £100...and well worth it Positive Mark Searle
Mon, 28 Jul 2008 16:16:17 +0100
It's open again! Vanilla Black 17- 18 Tooks Court London EC4A 1LB Positive Frank Tiarks
Mon, 16 Jun 2008 12:40:21 +0100
Having had a number of excellent experiences in the previous York site for this restaurant I decided to take a visit to the new London restaurant - and was not at all disappointed. My party and The restaurant is large and airy, easily accommodating my party - most of whom were meat eaters. As a vegetarian I have often found myself searching in vain for a decent place for proper vegetarian food. The menu is excellent and varied, with lots of unusual new inventions from the Chefs. The food is always perfectly cooked and keeps even the meat eaters satisfied for the rest of the day. The staff were courteous and knowledgable and friendly which all helped to add to an excellent evening. The price for a party of 4 came to around £100 including wine. I will be sure to return again in the near future. Positive Paul Warsley
Mon, 12 May 2008 10:42:20 +0100
From entering the building my party of four were welcomed by polite and courteous staff, we were shown to our table. After settling down we were all handed the lunch time menu with a selection of dishes that all sounded interesting and intriguing. We were not disappointed, the food was delicious and I have to say value for money for the location of the restaurant. As the restaurant has just recently opened the restaurant was only half full but this did not effect the atmosphere at all.... The cost of this outing 2 Courses £18.00 3 Courses £23.00 Superb value for money Positive Anthony O'Donnell
Sun, 11 May 2008 19:41:20 +0100
Sadly this fantastic restaurant has now closed! Enjoyed many wonderful meals here. Positive Louise
Sun, 13 Jan 2008 17:59:12 +0000
Having been a vegetarian for over 10 years i feel i have eaten more than my fair share of broccoli bakes and vegetable lasagne, and quite frankly had grown increasingly exasperated by the lack of imagination from chefs, which is why, on discovering vanilla black, with is extensive range of exciting and imaginitive dishes i was eager to try it. On entering the restraunt with 3 friends, i was greeted by extremely friendly staff who were exceptional throughout the whole night and were knowledgeable on the dishes and drinks available. The food was fantastic and exciting; It was a shining example of what can be done to meat free ingredients when imagination is used. The prices were, we felt about right for this superb dining experience. This establishment is a credit to all the staff and i will most certainly be returning again and recommend it. Positive Lucy O'neill
Sat, 03 Nov 2007 18:41:11 +0000
I went to this restaurant on the strength of this website and was not disappointed. I am not a vegetarian and neither is my partner but having just finished doing the Lighter Life program I wanted to eat well and was not disappointed. The staff could have been a little friendlier but by no means were they rude. The ambience was definately not a vegetarian strokey beard one! Lovely wine and lovely food and a not too expensive price (3 courses each and a bottle of wine £80) and my partner assures me the sweet potato vindaloo was to die for! Positive Viki
Fri, 26 Oct 2007 14:35:08 +0100
Wow! If you're interested in modern, exciting flavours and a wonderful dining experience Vanilla Black is the place for you. We've been many times for lunch and dinner and the food, service and atmosphere are exceptional, making this a firm favourite. I'd recommend this place to anyone - vegetarian or not. Positive James Carmichael
Wed, 26 Sep 2007 10:13:46 +0100
Vanilla Black's shining reputation amongst my friends was matched by an excellent evening. Innovative dishes maintained their lovely flavours, and I was especially impressed with an 'extra-special' lasagne with vegetarian caviar. We were looked after by lovely staff and prices matched (if not underpriced) the quality of the food. Definitely not your usual boring vegetarian cafe, an essentail culinary experience. Positive James Carlyle
Sat, 22 Sep 2007 09:48:16 +0100
Having previously visited Vanilla Black I decided to return, on arrival i found a new and exciting menu which gave me a chance to experience other dishes! Although I am not vegetarian I found I didn't miss having meat in the formal restaurant environment as my meal of truffled mushroom duxelle torte was spectacular. Not being a large restaurant we were well looked after and if ever needed the staff were happy to help! I thoroughly enjoyed the night and have already booked my next visit, can't wait! Positive Bobbi Horner
Fri, 21 Sep 2007 11:55:01 +0100
Not your typical vegetarian, it is a high quality restuarant which anyone can enjoy. As a meat eater myself i was apprehensive to eat there originally, but the food was excellently made and well presented. It also has a lot more flavour than your average restuarant. The sweet potato vindaloo is particularly impressive. The staff are always attentive and friendly and seem to know a lot of their customers. The vegan choices are limited but it is one of the few places in York that actually has vegan options. Warm and welcoming atmosphere and very good value for money. Positive David Thorpe
Mon, 17 Sep 2007 14:06:20 +0100
I visited Vanilla Black for lunch on a recent business trip to York, although I'm not a vegetarian, I was attracted by the smart decor and interesting menu. We were greeted instantly by friendly and attentive staff who made us feel very comfortable. The restaurant was bright and airy, with large tables which gave us plenty of room. Far from being a traditional vegetarian restaurant there were no nut roasts on offer, a cause of extreme celebration for my party. The food arrived in good time and was cooked to perfection, we were all kept fully satisfied for the rest of the day. There was also an impressive and appropriate wine list and the staff seemed very knowledgeable. The price was about right for a party of four considering the quality of service and the deliciousness of the food. Expect to pay the going rate for a very classy city centre restaurant. Overall I was extremely impressed with Vanilla Black, it was a very sophisticated establishment, perhaps not appropriate for people wanting basic vegetarian food on a budget. If I am ever in York again I will be sure to visit Vanilla Black again. Positive David Roger Smith
Mon, 17 Sep 2007 12:54:55 +0100
I am vegan and was very disappointed to find that the range of vegan options is very limited. There are no vegan main courses on the menu, the only option is to have a vegetarian meal with a missing component (such as the goat-cheese pizza without cheese). Despite ordering a vegan 'option' for a main course, my partner was accidentally served a main which contained dairy products as the chef had misread the order. The food was well presented, but the vegetables overcooked and flavourless. Service was rather curt, and the complaint about being served an un-vegan meal was dealt with very badly. [Vegan restaurant criteria removed by VH Admin] Negative Meg Thomas
Sun, 09 Sep 2007 14:49:29 +0100
I don't really eat at vegetarian restaurants due to the fact that I am a big meat eater. I was in York on business and one of my colleagues suggested we try a restaurant named Vanilla Black which to my dissapointment turned out to be vegetarian. I expected the restaurant to be a stereotypical 1970's hippy hangout and as I often eat out in Michelin Star restaurants was very apprehensive. I was wrong. Staff were professional and attentive, the decor was simple with antiques and 1930's touches which I found interesting. The food was nothing as I expected. For a start I expected to be served lots of wholesome hippy stuff such as brown rice and quinoa. It was nothing like that but more like the type of food you would find in a quality restaurant but without meat or fish. Overall I was very pleased with my experience. I expected to feel out of place in a vegetarian restaurant but it was acually the couple in the corner with their rucksacks who seemed like the odd ones out. I will definitely return when I am in York again to sample imaginative and interesting food without feeling like I am missing my meat. Positive John Simpson
Tue, 21 Aug 2007 23:34:46 +0100
This is a awful restaurant! Avoid it by all means. What a bunch of idiots. I cannot understand how they can be in the restaurant business. The staff are very arrogant, the prices extremely high, the food is awful, and atmosphere truly pretentious. My experience was bad, and my advice is simple - go somewhere else. Negative Sergio Never
Sun, 19 Aug 2007 20:25:25 +0100
The menu looked interesting and we were looking forward to visiting this restaurant, but of the two meals we ordered one was ok, but bland, while the other was so salty as to be inedible. The staff were polite enough, but the atmosphere was bleak. We accept we may have caught them on a bad night, but we won't be going back to find out - in fact we were so unimpressed that we didn't hang around for dessert - we just paid and left. Overall, far too expensive for what was a mediocre experience. Negative Rachel Paxton
Fri, 17 Aug 2007 22:51:10 +0100
If soft poached oaked smoked duck egg, Wenselydale puddin scares you, then look away now. Vanilla Black is different to any other vegetarian place, it doesn't have carpets on the walls and they don't sell nut loaf etc. It is possible the best restaurant I have ever been to. I've been coming here since it opened and every time it gets better and better. I'm never disappointed. I love this place. Positive Sandy Anderson
Sun, 12 Aug 2007 00:21:13 +0100
I visited Black Vanilla with my wife and son on Thursday February 15th 2007 at 8pm - having previously made a telephone reservation. This was to be a major celebration for us, the birthday of my son, and my 55th birthday and retirement. We had a three course meal and two beers each, total cost £93. Whilst the food was good and elegantly presented, overall we were disappointed and, on paying the bill, I mentioned to a member of staff that whilst we had enjoyed the food, the starter that I had chosen (pan fried Mooli) was very small and that we felt the service could have been a bit quicker (we did not finish eating till nearly 10.30pm) - also that by the end of the meal the restaurant was quite cold (my wife was glad to leave to put her coat back on!). I made no comment over the size of the bill. Imagine my astonishment to receive a voicemail from the owner on my mobile later that evening. Transcript: "Hi, Mr. Matthews, I am Andrew Dargue, I own a restaurant called Black Vanilla in York. I heard you are not very happy with our restaurant, portions are too small, service was a little slow. Might I suggest next time if you want to go out for a meal, Pizza Hut thank you, Bye." This was spoken in a sneering and sarcastic manner. I replied briefly by text message, that I found his manner rude and insulting. I have received no apology! Negative Denis Matthews
Sat, 03 Mar 2007 00:00:00 +0000
This is a small but perfectly formed restaurant in the heart of York where every visit is a delightful experience. Starting with a friendly welcome from the front of house staff, the enticing menu makes choosing difficult but every dish is home cooked, and the gorgeous fresh potatoes and seasonal vegetables served with each main course round it off perfectly. The menu changes regularly and is complemented by a good selection of wine. Finally, if there's room left after a starter and main course, there is a range of tempting desserts on offer which change daily. Whether for lunch or dinner this is a consistently wonderful restaurant that always delights both vegetarians and their meat eating friends. Positive Candi
Fri, 02 Jun 2006 00:00:00 +0100
This place is a favourite of mine when shopping in York for a lunchtime treat. Not only is the food excellent but so is the service. Often when I've tried new restaurants in York I've definitely experienced that 'treat you like a tourist type service', maybe because I carry a rucksack! What I mean by that is they don't give you a great service, can get away with serving you any old thing because if they think you're a tourist chances are it's a one off visit and they won't see you again. So there have been places in York where one visit was quite enough. Vanilla Black, however, really impressed me on the first visit - I was treated well, served the most delicious mature cheddar & savoy cabbage pudding and was too full for dessert. The atmosphere is calming and you really don't feel pressurised to wolf down your food and get out. I was keen to have a second visit and maybe have pudding but was slightly worried it wouldn't be as good second time around - how wrong I was, it was fab. Sadly still not tried a pudding but I will return and maybe just have a starter so that I can try the lovely sounding puddings. Positive Sally
Fri, 23 Sep 2005 00:00:00 +0100
A great place with a good menu, great service, good decor and, most importantly, good restaurant food. It can hold its own against any similar establishments, vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Highly recommend it. Positive Nick Fisher
Mon, 30 May 2005 00:00:00 +0100
This is a gem of a cafe I found by accident when I was looking for El Piano (which is literally seconds walk around the corner). The food here was excellent, while the choice on the menu was not very big the meals were of reasonable size for their price, and more importantly well cooked and flavoursome. The atmosphere is very friendly and the decor is a nice mix between formal and causal dining. The staff looked very smart and the service was fast and professional, a step in the right direction away from the old guard style veggie places often suffer from. Positive Steven Howard
Sat, 30 Apr 2005 00:00:00 +0100

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