We all know that health is wealth, but going sugar, gluten, dairy and oil-free simply does not seem worth it. Our reporter Kate Kulniece visits Vantra Vitao to test whether nutritious food can actually be as rewarding as a greasy burger.
If there is a single phrase that describes me the best it would have to be ‘’a walking carb’’. The other one, though it does not reflect the very essence of me as aptly as the latter, goes along the lines of ’’Why go raw when there is booze, baked cookies, ice cream and samosas?’’ For contradicting the first is far-fetched (carbohydrates in all shapes and sizes are dear to me), one can attempt to challenge me only with the ‘’leave bio-fermented matcha sprouts for Gwyneth Paltrow’’ one.
Serving and meeting the extravagant dietary needs of health-conscious Londoners, Vantra Vitao envisions ‘’to plant power a healthier world from inside out’’. Unveiled in 1999, when neon-coloured Bubble Tape reached its zenith and deep fried bacon was covering just about everything, this vitality and wellness-emanating juice bar/restaurant promises to reverse most people’s obstinate way of judging nutritious plant-based food as bland and monotonous.
Here, one has to mention that their concept of health does not include alcohol, so this establishment is not the place to head to for pre-drinks. As disappointing as it first appears, this initial let-down very soon becomes the climax of the evening; Vantra’s probiotic-abundant Virgin Orjasm vocktail really does live up to its expectations of a skillful lover. I feel revitalised and as if I almost belong in this wellness blogger and yogi community that has seemingly occupied the dim-lit restaurant.
Just as its customers’ meticulously assembled Instagram feeds with white walls and an occasional small plant, the restaurant’s interior also shows signs of diligent tailoring to harmonize its concept of naturality. The solid wood trunk chair might have connected my inner spirit to the almighty essence of Mother Nature, but the flat surface of the seat is hard and agonizing enough to make me change the places with my companion who has positioned himself on a sofa.
Just as the pervading aura and decorations, the food has also been well designed, rather than cobbled together. I might have randomly thrown everything on my steel Thali (this is something I always do when encountering a buffet), but each component complements the other; unifying in an ode to vitality and well-being. The Thai coconut curry, creamy potato salad and sticky wild rice satisfies my carb cravings, but, surprisingly, it is the fermented, probiotic-infused, coconut nectar-covered salad that, with its crunchiness and zestiness captivates me. While for most of the time I eat by the equation ‘’complex, sugary carbs over a nourishing salad,’’ Vantra has proved me otherwise. It has proved that reaching your five-a-day doesn’t have to be the onerous task of trying not to throw up the kale and broccoli. What is also notable is the lack of repetition – healthy can be diverse and exciting.
I have since visited Vantra Vitao many times, and each time I go, it leaves my tastebuds in bliss and stomach bacteria in gratitude. Visiting Oxford Street just got a little bit better.
Words: Kate Kulniece | Subbing: Milica Cosic