TiNDLE’s Plant Based Goodness at Paternoster Chop House
Thanks to a thriving location right next to the Old Bailey in the heart of London, midweek, Paternoster Chop House calls out to hungry city slickers looking for a hearty meal or lively after-work drinks. At the weekend it becomes a celebrated spot for British dining with guests flocking to soak up the vibrant atmosphere while enjoying dishes created by the newly appointed Head Chef Alexandru-Ionel Sotir.
At the heart of Paternoster lies one mission: to bring back the great British Chop House – ‘harking back to a time when meat was king, portions were hearty and provenance was everything’ says the creative team behind the restaurant. With this in mind, diners can enjoy larger sharing cuts cooked on open charcoal grills, in Josper ovens or on spit roasts, alongside daily specials inspired by the best ingredients the British Isles have to offer. But in a city so liberal and so diverse, the pressure for Paternoster to cater to all tastes and diets is undeniable. Enter the answer to Paternoster’s predicament: TiNDLE.
‘But what is TiNDLE?’ you might ask. No, it has nothing to do with dating apps, but is instead one of the biggest products to hit the vegan food market in recent years. Simply put, TiNDLE is ‘chicken made from plants’. Made with chefs, for chefs, it is no surprise that Paternoster has chosen TiNDLE over other vegan meat replacements to serve on its menu. Ever the curious foodie and after hearing nothing but good things about this animal-friendly sensation, I ventured to Paternoster Chop House one summer evening with my most committed vegan friend, Bella.
First to note is Paternoster Chop House’s buzzing atmosphere. As the cheerful sounds of laughter and clinking glasses echo out from the restaurant and through to the stylish terrace outside, it is immediately apparent that this is a real favourite haunt of the London professional. Polished oak floors and marble topped tables, properly laid with white cotton napkins and huge glinting wine glasses tell us that this is a place of sophistication: serious about good, traditional British dining and everything it stands for. Floor to ceiling glass windows flood the place with natural light, but one perhaps the best feature of Paternoster is the kitchen – completely and unashamedly on view, for diners to watch and marvel at like a stage.
It is from this stage that our TiNDLE dishes will be cooked, but not of course before we peruse the Taittinger Champagne Cocktail menu, from which we select a ‘Paternoster Royal’ made from Tanqueray London dry, citrus, strawberries, mint and Taittinger, as well as a ‘Zen Garden’, concocted from Toki Whiskey, Campari, Mandarine Napoleon liqueur, honey and Taittinger. Two perfectly splendid tipples to kick off what proves to be a mouthwatering meal.
Although I myself am not vegan, considering my diet as more flexitarian, I happily embrace vegan and veggie dishes, especially if they call my name louder than any meat dishes on the menu. With this in mind and my desire to try TiNDLE, I opted for the ‘TiNDLE Spiced BBQ Salad’ which came with pickled slaw and drizzled with herb oil. A beautifully fresh crunchy salad, was a delicious addition to TiNDLE, the closest thing to chicken, (that isn’t chicken) I have ever tried. Far from being dry or cloying in the mouth, TinDLE fulfilled every desire that one would expect from a succulent piece of chicken breast – but with none of the guilt. Bella opted for the TiNDLE crispy burger which came alongside carrot turmeric bun and sriracha relish. An absolutely divine concoction of everything we savour most about tasty, juicy burgers, but again with none of the guilt and without having to break out of the vegan diet. Well versed in vegan meat replacements, Bella, gave her nod of approval, which, take it from me, is usually very hard to come by. A vegan for over three years, she agreed that TiNDLE was by far the best chicken replacement she has tasted. As we indulged in our succulent vegan dishes with taste-derived contentment, I considered how happy I would be to swap out chicken for TiNDLE in the future at restaurants when I fancied this over meat, if only every establishment served this miraculous vegan sensation as an option! It was not only the taste that made TiNDLE so enjoyable, but the texture too. Many veggie alternatives can be dry, slimy or cloying on the palate, but TiNDLE was none of these – the perfect firmness and just as succulent as well cooked chicken should be.
Although Paternoster is staying true to its traditional chop house identity and still embraces carefully crafted meat-orientated dishes, TiNDLE has been a much welcomed addition to the menu. By providing veggies and vegans an alternative which still celebrates Paternoster’s ethos of hearty, wholesome takes on traditional British dishes, TiNDLE has also provided the opportunity for people with meat-free diets to enjoy this concept too. Vegan, vegetarian or meat eater, TiNDLE is well worth trying, even if you’re taking the risk to swap it for a favourite meat dish – who knows, you might just prefer it!