This is a sponsored post. I was recently invited by Ham Yard Hotel to experience their vegan menu, and my meal was hosted by them. This is however an honest review and all views and opinions expressed here are my own.
‘Style’ is the word that comes to mind when thinking of Ham Yard Hotel. Decked out beautifully from floor to ceiling in bright patterns and accent pieces, the space is utterly gorgeous. It feels like a treat just going inside, let alone sitting down to sample the menu. Complete with its own basement bowling alley and roof terrace (where the hotel kitchen grows vegetables for use in menu dishes), Ham Yard is one of a kind in London. Tucked away in a courtyard just off Piccadilly Circus, you’d never know it was there unless you were looking.
Although not a vegan hotel, Ham Yard's restaurant does offer both a vegan Afternoon Tea and full vegan menu. Most hotels in the Firmdale group - of which Ham Yard is one - offer this now. I was recently invited to sample Ham Yard Hotel's vegan menu and found it to be vibrant and delicious. Much thought has gone into colour and presentation - food is served on the hotel’s own whimsical Wedgwood dinnerware, exclusively designed by co-owner Kit Kemp. During my visit, attention to detail was on point (think PERFECTLY starched napkins) and staff were attentive, thoughtful and genuinely friendly.
To begin, my companion and I were served crusty fresh rolls with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. We then shared a salad of shredded greens topped with toasted walnuts, and a colourful citrus and bitter leaf salad with a chilli dressing. Both were vibrant and beautifully served, their colours complementing each other perfectly. The shredded greens salad was well-seasoned and had a satisfyingly tangy aftertaste. It was the perfect dish for anyone with a savoury tooth, although the flavour did become a little intense. The citrus and bitter leaf salad had a much gentler taste. It seemed too delicate at first but really grew on both myself and my companion after several bites.
To follow, we enjoyed mains of roast aubergine with sea lettuce and radish, and warm ancient grain salad with squash puree and endive. The aubergine was beautifully roasted with soy and was – again – very well seasoned. It was delicious, and the puree served with it provided the right amount of lightness to compliment the dish. The ancient grains salad was complemented by a delicious orange squash puree which added a subtle sweet flavour. Both dishes had strong savoury tastes and their bright colours made them look even more appetizing.
For dessert we tried the peanut parfait with raspberry jelly, and strawberry sorbet with compressed watermelon and apple gel. The peanut parfait was delicate, a smooth mousse-like confection with slices of dried banana and a delicious raspberry sauce. The use of peanuts was unusual and the parfait itself had a smooth, creamy taste. As a vegan, I really appreciated that there was a dessert option that was substantial and full of flavour.
What I did find disappointing however was our second dessert option of strawberry sorbet with compressed watermelon. Like many vegans, I’ve been to countless restaurants where we're offered some variation of fruit for dessert. Nuts and other more substantial ingredients are frequently left out of the equation. It was therefore a shame that Ham Yard had plumped for a sorbet and fruit salad combination, particularly given that their peanut parfait was so delicious.
Whilst it did taste fresh and unique (the Granny Smith apple gel was particularly good), I found that there was too much sweetness in the dessert for my taste, and the dish lacked body as it was purely fruit-based. However, I should point out that my companion thoroughly enjoyed the sorbet - more so than the peanut parfait – so this may just be a matter of personal preference!
Without question, Ham Yard Hotel is the place to take someone you want to impress. From excellent service and stunning décor to vibrant and delicious dishes, you’ll leave feeling pampered and satisfied. Thankfully, bland vegan options are a thing of the past at this hotel, with each dish thoughtfully created and well seasoned (a note to those sensitive to salt: some savoury dishes were almost over-seasoned).
In conclusion, go if you’re looking for beautiful ingredient pairings and want to be treated well. And if you like to take pictures of your food, these colourful dishes definitely won’t disappoint. Seasoned vegan restaurant-goers may find that the menu lacks some of the imagination of fully vegan restaurants. More unusual, protein-rich ingredients could have been incorporated into some of the savoury dishes, and as mentioned the sorbet was a little lacklustre. That aside, the experience was absolutely delightful and the hotel is a rare gem to find in central London. I’d happily return again and again to sample their offerings. Thank you Ham Yard!
One final note: while Ham Yard Hotel’s vegan menu is to be praised as an effort to be more inclusive of those following a plant-based diet, for strict vegans it is worth noting that the hotel uses non-vegan materials throughout in its design. Wool, felt and leather are used in furnishings, and food is served on bone china.