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Mr Flibble
Apr 15th, 2010, 11:26 AM
Looks interesting:

http://otarian.com/

Opening 2 restuarants in central London soon with plans for more.

Not the most exciting menu I've ever seen though, it's about 40% vegan and mostly fast food.

Marrers
Apr 15th, 2010, 01:00 PM
Interesting!

Bunny
Apr 15th, 2010, 07:42 PM
I agree, it's not a brilliant menu, but it would be so handy to have that type of food easily available. I do sometimes miss the ease of grabbing a sandwich/wrap/burger when I'm busy or shopping.

leedsveg
Apr 16th, 2010, 12:20 AM
Looks interesting:

http://otarian.com/

Opening 2 restuarants in central London soon with plans for more.

Not the most exciting menu I've ever seen though, it's about 40% vegan and mostly fast food.

Why are they not opening 'Oop North' ? We eat any old rubbish up here!:eek:

leedsvegan

veganatheist78
Apr 17th, 2010, 09:21 AM
I think I'm turning into an old curmudgeon but I was sorely disappointed by the menu. It's totally uninspired and uninspiring. I just wish that more people who decide to establish vegetarian restaurants would go all the way and make all the dishes vegan. London may be the best place to live in this country if you're vegan (although maybe Brighton deserves that title) but I still find the dearth of exclusively vegan restaurants frustrating. It's just nice going into a restaurant knowing that you can order anything off the menu - the only consideration is whether a dish looks appealing. Sometimes I feel like settingup a restaurant myself out of sheer frustration!

tin_can
Apr 17th, 2010, 10:38 AM
+1. Not sure if this has been mentioned before around here, but Manna (http://www.mannav.com/) seems to be completely vegan nowadays. :thumbsup: (Different type of restaurant to this one, I know.)

aubergine
Apr 17th, 2010, 11:30 AM
Looks interesting enough for a quick bite, especially as we are without Redveg for fast food. They could do with speeding up their website though.

veganatheist78
Apr 17th, 2010, 11:56 AM
+1. Not sure if this has been mentioned before around here, but Manna (http://www.mannav.com/) seems to be completely vegan nowadays. :thumbsup: (Different type of restaurant to this one, I know.)


I didn't know that. I may suggest a trip up there one evening with my husband for dinner. I'm glad to see there is a vegetarian restaurant willing to dispense with the completely unnecessary use of animal products!

tin_can
Apr 17th, 2010, 07:18 PM
Highly recommend that! Have to say that it's my favourite London restaurant, foodwise, though be warned that it is a bit pricey.

veganatheist78
Apr 17th, 2010, 08:20 PM
Highly recommend that! Have to say that it's my favourite London restaurant, foodwise, though be warned that it is a bit pricey.

I've made a reservation for two weeks from now. I'm really looking forward to it. I know it's kind of silly but I've already decided what to order. I always do that and my husband thinks I'm a complete freak because of it.

bryzee86
Apr 18th, 2010, 01:29 PM
7-odd for a mushroom on a bun?

No, ta.

Marrers
Apr 19th, 2010, 06:24 PM
Manna seems to be completely vegan nowadays.
Wow, even the desserts! Wonderful news, Manna is lovely.

tin_can
Apr 19th, 2010, 07:29 PM
Yes! It was the best news I'd had for ages when I discovered that. :)

(Although, in my experience, their desserts don't tend to be as good as their best main courses.)

veganatheist78
Apr 20th, 2010, 09:28 AM
Wow, even the desserts! Wonderful news, Manna is lovely.


I know - that's really unusual in London. Even if a restaurant has alot of vegan starters and mains, the dessert menu tends to a be a bit of vegan desert.

bradders
Apr 23rd, 2010, 12:25 AM
7-odd for a mushroom on a bun?

No, ta.

that was US$ but I agree very expensive for what they're offering

harpy
Aug 29th, 2010, 03:45 PM
I've just read an item about Otarian in the paper and was wondering if anyone has tried it, and if so how it was?

I looked at their menu online and agree it's annoying that they aren't 100% vegan (especially in view of the environmental messages) but there do seem to be quite a few vegan things (not puddings though as far as I could see).

VeganMonkey
Sep 2nd, 2010, 10:48 AM
I tried Otarian last night (the one on the corner of Shaftsbury Av and Neal St). It was pretty quiet in there but I heard it gets busier at lunchtime. It's nicely decorated although it's definately a fast food vibe (somewhere to grab a quick bite while doing other stuff, not a destination in itself). It's great to have some more choice for that type of food though (especailly with Red Veg gone) - the Thai buffet places get a bit old. Anyway, Mr VeganMonkey had the Indian style burger which he said was good although very spicy. I had tomato soup which was decent and flavoursome although I've probably made better at home. We shared a big box of sweet potato chips (the only type of chips they do I think) and they were really good. I also tried the one vegan dessert which is the 'choc o treat' (you have to ignore all the stupid names!) - it was like a chocolate muffin basically but it was very moist and chocolately. Overall I'd say it's pretty good food and a welcome addition to London, although as already mentioned, it's a shame it's not all vegan when they keep banging on about carbon. You wonder how environmentally friendly it can really be with all that packaging, recycled or not, but still... Hopefully it will survive - it seems like a stronger brand and less cobbled together than some of the other vegan offferings over the last couple of years (I'm thinking particularly of that burger place which was briefly on Greek Street and seemed to me to be a cover for some kind of criminal activity!) Be warned though, it's not cheap: the burger was almost 6 quid and that doesn't come with chips or anything - you even have to pay extra for condiments!

harpy
Sep 2nd, 2010, 11:09 AM
Thanks very much for the report, VeganMonkey. Might give it a try when I'm feeling flush! It's in a convenient spot but I wish it stayed open a bit later so we could eat there after a play etc.

Do they use disposable packaging even for things that you're going to "eat in" then? I had a quick lunch in a well known organic supermarket near there (not Wholefoods) recently and was amazed by the amount of cardboard they managed to put round a small portion of noodles - even if it's recycled packaging it seems rather wasteful doesn't it?

The environmental ratings on the Otarian menu seem a bit gimmicky but on the plus side I suppose it may pull in people who are not vegetarians but like the "green" aspect.

VeganMonkey
Sep 2nd, 2010, 01:25 PM
Yes, half 9 does seem early given that fast food is often craved from about 10 onwards when it's too late to go to a proper restaurant...
We said we were eating in and everything came as it would have done for takeaway, only ona tray instead of in a bag. That does seem like a bit of an oversight doesn't it? It certainly is gimicky: my boyfriend was very confused when we were greeted with 'Hello, how would you like to save carbon today?' Perhaps it will work with some people though; the fact that there's no meat is quite played down. Interestingly everything is egg free too (meaning the mayo is vegan - yay!) so you'd think they could make that extra leap... :confused:

harpy
Sep 2nd, 2010, 02:37 PM
I suppose it's easier just to wrap everying up in paper and cardboard regardless of whether it's going or staying - so they don't have to start doing washing up. However in the supermarket place I did think they could at least have left the outside layers off for an eat-in meal. I should write to them about that.

The greeting sounds a bit weird - did they mean "how would you like" as in "in what way would you like" or "would you like" I wonder? Forewarned is forearmed, anyway, so thanks!

I think the people who own it may be Hindu and so eating dairy but not eggs might fit in with that? This article http://www.theecologist.org/how_to_make_a_difference/food_and_gardening/573707/otarian_the_fastfood_chain_with_the_lowcarbon_menu .html goes on about a slaughter-free farm that they get their dairy produce from but I'm not convinced that that's sustainable on an industrial scale (apart from the other objections)

VeganMonkey
Sep 3rd, 2010, 12:39 PM
Interesting article - thanks Harpy. All the cows live out their days at the farm huh, including the males? Seems a little unlikely... By the way, for info, I read somewhere that they don't even have soya milk for tea and coffee at he moment - seems a bit of an oversight.
I took the greeting to mean 'what would you like to eat' basically; insinuating that whatever you order would 'save carbon'. But who knows?! The staff were very helpful but a little robotic: saying 'does that complete your order today?' rather than 'would you like anything else?'!

harpy
Sep 3rd, 2010, 12:59 PM
Hmm, an even better way to save carbon would probably be to stay at home and eat something out of the garden, but that wouldn't work so well from a marketing point of view. Still, it's easy for me to take the p*** and I daresay the intentions are good. Am determined to give it a try soon anyway!

MrWizzle
Oct 13th, 2010, 12:21 PM
I tried Otarian a couple of weeks ago and was very disappointed. I had the veganised mushroom burger which ended up just being (as bryzee86 said) a mushroom in a bun, with some salad and vegan mayonnaise on top (I'm glad I brought some other food with me because I was hungry again shortly after). It tasted good and was fresh but 5.95 for that? They're not going to last long with those prices. This was the branch on the corner of Wardour Street and Neil Street, and the place was nearly empty at lunchtime - this is Soho and people are crazy for greenwashed stuff around here, so that's not good.

harpy
Oct 13th, 2010, 07:37 PM
Oh dear - I still haven't been there but it doesn't sound great value.

I have a vague recollection of seeing someone promoting it when I was in town the other day - with recycled flyers perhaps? - but I was in a bit of a rush so didn't stop for a proper look. It would be nice if they could keep going, and improve.

harpy
Mar 4th, 2011, 02:52 PM
I finally made it to the one in Shaftesbury Avenue yesterday evening. We had roasted tomato soup and sweet potato chips as starters, then we both had mushroom burgers and I had a vegan chocolate muffin thing.

The people seemed nice, the burgers were good, and I wouldn't say it was enormously expensive for central London, but I got into a bit of a rage about the packaging thing - they shoved unneeded napkins, salt, pepper etc on the tray and then insisted on wrapping my cake thing in paper for me to take to the table when I pointed out that I could have had it on one of the superfluous napkins. They have recycling bins but the labelling on them makes it quite hard to understand what to put where (for example the thing for paper and food says something like "no recyclable items" on it, meaning apparently that you are supposed to put recyclable plastic bottles in a separate hole :confused:)

It was practically empty at 8.30 ish and they battened down the hatches shortly after we arrived, maybe at about 9.15? Despite this they'd run out of some of the things we wanted to order including coffee (which they apparently couldn't do because they didn't have any milk :confused: even though I wasn't going to have milk anyway, obviously). Perhaps it was busy earlier.

They didn't seem to have a huge amount that was vegan which I thought was strange if they are trying to be eco-friendly.

It was so empty and sort of plasticky that the atmosphere was a bit unwelcoming despite the pleasant staff. Mind you we were in rather a foul mood to start off with so it would be fair to give it another try when we're in a better one!