We all know vegan food is having a moment. With meat-free menus becoming a rule rather than an exception and every fine dining establishment in town scrabbling to create a plant-based tasting menu, demand for vegan dishes isn’t going anywhere fast. St Luke’s Table, the restaurant inside Library, a Covent Garden private members’ club, has introduced the first luxurious plant-based menu to London’s theatre district. Alongside the pre-theatre, à la carte, set, and canapé menu, the latest vegan menu at St Luke’s is open to both club members and the public.
Saint Luke is the patron saint of artists, brewers, butchers and bookbinders, which implies he has some say in the creativity and cooking that takes place in this namesake restaurant. He sits in stained glass at the top of the staircase as you walk down the steps into the restaurant. In dedication to its name and bookbinding saint, the restaurant has a wall lined with books and a paperback is flung on each table to flick through while you’re waiting. There aren’t any windows and the lighting is low and soft which gives it an authentic – if a little oppressive – old library feel.
Cocktails are charmingly named after authors: Irvine Welsh is a butter-infused whisky with pumpkin syrup and nutmeg; Oscar Wilde, a fruit punch vodka with Pommery champagne; and Virginia Woolf, a Broker’s gin, fig cordial and double cream concoction. I ponder what a cocktail with my name would contain. Wines start from £6.50 per glass and £26 per bottle.
Grilled asparagus lay beneath a vibrant purple potato and pea shoot salad — a starter that packed in the health points, though its £17 price tag felt a little steep. Veering from the vegan menu, seared scallops were topped with crispy ‘nduja on a bed of creamy cauliflower mash (£16). Beef carpaccio was neatly decorated with shards of parmesan, tangy pickled mushrooms and crunchy hazelnuts, then coloured with tiny flowers (£13).
“Are you sure this is vegan?” we asked the server as we scarfed down the artichoke linguine, a vegan pasta dish with an unbelievably creamy and flavoursome walnut pesto teamed with sun-dried tomatoes and toasted breadcrumbs (£19). Beetroot risotto with walnuts (£18) and a warm couscous salad were the other vegan choices. Thick hunks of sea bass fillet with brilliantly crispy skin balanced dramatically atop a dense, squid ink risotto between blobs of light, tomato coulis (£24).
An avocado chocolate mousse with berries and nuts must have clocked us up to five-a-day. Served smartly in a cool, clear glass the avocado gave the mousse a good creaminess without overpowering the chocolate flavour.
Quiet and unassuming St Luke’s Table lets you dine out in private members’ club luxury and privacy in the heart of Covent Garden. As for bringing top-notch vegan dining to theatreland, a couple more plates of that artichoke linguine could just convert me.
To book, call 020 3302 7912 or visit StLukesTable.com
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