Few restaurants jazz up vegetables quite like Tendril. Perched in the heart of Mayfair, chef Rishim Sachdeva is the creative force behind the (mostly) vegan kitchen and bar. Londoner’s got a taste for his veg-centric cooking over several supper clubs, residencies and pop-ups. Proving an appetite for the concept, Tendril opened its doors to its permanent spot on Prince’s Street this summer.
Rishim Sachdeva, once a self-proclaimed hardcore meat eater with a resume that includes stints at Chiltern Firehouse, The Fat Duck, and the Dairy, took an atypical path to becoming a plant-focused restaurateur. After embracing Veganuary in 2019, Rishim underwent a personal transformation in both his eating habits and culinary approach. From time to time, Rishim dabbles with a good cheese to enhance a dish, hence the ‘mostly’ vegan menu, but what you’ll find at Tendril is a celebration of vegetables.
The cosy nook of a restaurant is licked with terracotta paint, complimented with rich tones, plush royal blue velvet seating and low lighting. Bustling with people, every table is packed out and that chaotically brilliant buzz of a London restaurant is present. The service is impeccable from start to finish, with waiters and waitresses who are genuinely curious about your take on each dish.
Tendril is on board with the mindful drinking movement, catering for all preferences. It’s refreshing to see a menu that plays to the crowd so well, with a vegan wine list, punchy cocktails and aperitifs, plus low and non-alcoholic cocktails alongside kombuchas and drinking vinegar.
The tasting menu takes you on an odyssey to showcase what Tendril represents, drawing inspiration from the flavours of Middle Eastern cuisine. Humble vegetables shine through each course, with no fake meat substitutes in sight. Embracing root-to-shoot dining and collaborating with carefully selected suppliers, each course is exquisitely thought out and unleashes a sublime mix of flavours.
A medley of small plates arrive together, starting with a blistered aubergine, kalamata olives and tahini, garnished with pickled red onion; a sharp preserved “summer” fennel with a dollop of aioli; and vibrant lentil parfait with a hit of chilli and warm hunks of Coombeshead sourdough to mop it up with. The taste buds are well and truly ignited after this flavourful sharing-style feast!
The only choice put into my hands was between the grilled squash wrapped in hispi cabbage accompanied by a smearing of muhammara (red pepper and walnut dip) or the sesame-baked feta with crispy rice and chilli honey, which is the only interjection of dairy on the menu. If there are two of you dining, my advice is to get one of each and share…squash and feta are a match made in heaven!
The next course comes in the form of a crispy celeriac croquette, centred in a harissa sauce and enveloped in a ribbon of apple to add an unexpected freshness to the moreish deep-fried dish.
An elevated twist on a modest pie is the final savoury course. This winter season classic has a meaty oyster mushroom base topped with layers of potato formed into a delicate rose, a silky butter bean mash and charred leeks with a zingy chive emulsion.
No winter feast is finished without a warming pudding. The dessert of the day; a stewed rhubarb crumble with velvety oat custard, beautifully rounds off this tasting menu. Nostalgic and comforting, it’s served unfussy and completely indulgent!
Tendril offers an À La Carte menu during lunch service and dinner Monday to Wednesday but to experience the true spirit of what their ethos is all about, the tasting menu is where it’s at. Whether you’re plant-based or not, Tendril’s food is bound to leave a lasting impression. The tasting menu changes to sync with the seasonality of the vegetables, so there’s always more to discover. Pouring his culinary expertise into this forward-thinking concept, chef Rishim Sachdeva has created a place that suits the modern city-dweller to a T.