“Although Mildreds is a vegetarian restaurant, many of our dishes are vegan and these are some of the most popular dishes on the menu,” says Mildreds founder Jane Muir and co-author of the brand’s latest cookbook, following the publication of its vegetarian cookbook in 2015.
Considering the difficulty of getting a table at any of its four London sites, the fact that this book is full of Mildreds’ most popular vegan recipes holds great promise as a potential trove of vegan ideas for chefs to tap into.
There’s no denying that veganism is a growing trend for which operators need to cater. Far from jumping on the bandwagon, though, Mildreds has been serving vegetarian and vegan food since it opened its first restaurant in Soho in 1988. So who better to learn from than the brand so far ahead of the curve and experienced in creating meatless dishes?
Separated into sections including brunch, starters and soups, and mains and barbecue, the book opens with a large picture of a raw chocolate mousse cake with a date and almond crust. Making no preposterous health claims, it promises big flavours and to cater to those who have chosen to cut animal products from their diet for whatever the reason.
Pan-fried girolles with vegan hollandaise could offer a brunch option, for example, and the butternut squash and tofu terrine with redcurrant stuffing and orange glaze would be a far more exciting alternative to the usual token nut roast on a Sunday lunch menu.
Far from limited, Mildreds Vegan Cookbook even explores new ingredients, such as romano peppers filled with freekeh, and offers easy alternative recipes for lime and chilli ‘butter’, vegan Caesar dressing, and meringues made from aquafaba (the brine from legumes that can be used as a straight swap for egg whites).
While some may be suspicious about vegan desserts, I dare anyone to pass up the espresso crème caramel or the passion fruit and coconut mousse cake (made of coconut milk, silken tofu and agar agar flakes – a vegan alternative to gelatine made from sea vegetables). Mildreds Vegan Cookbook piques my culinary curiosity.
‘Mildreds Vegan Cookbook’ by Jane Muir, Dan Acevedo and Sarah Wasserman. Mitchell Beazley, £25