Once upon a time I wrote about my visit to Mildred’s. Back in my meat-eating days, I was open to the idea of trying out vegan and veggie food, and Mildred’s didn’t disappoint – particularly to a wee whippersnapper who’d yet to see anything of the unfurling vegan scene.
I’ve been back to Mildred’s a few times since that memorable day, including to the King’s Cross branch (less busy than Soho). Each time is a pleasant experience of reasonably tasty food, served relatively quickly at a reasonable price.
At Mildred’s, you can choose the classic formula of starter, main and dessert. Mains include burgers, curry, and a ‘soul bowl’. Or, you can opt for an array of starters and share amongst yourselves – a good way to sample the flavours on offer.
I thought the food this time was OK – well-presented, but not packing much of a forceful punch in the flavour department.
What I really wanted to touch upon in this post was what happens when a vegan/veggie restaurant amplifies in popularity. Mildred’s is Exhibit A: branches popping up in different locations, but queues still out the door. At peak times, you’re squeezed on to closely-knit tables and can eavesdrop on your neighbour’s conversation, should you wish.
While I enjoyed the tofu noodle dish I ordered on my last visit, I could recognise the restaurant technique of salt substituted for flavour. This is something Mildred’s shares with The Gate, another veggie chain operating across London – artful plates in a semi-swanky environment, with rather good cocktails, but with food that will leave you feeling parched.
I wonder if Mildred’s has perhaps suffered from its popularity explosion. You feel slightly under pressure to make your trip a short one, and the food somewhat lacks.
And, just as happened four years ago, I almost walked into the stock room on my way to the loo.