Sadly Blah Blah Blah closed its doors in June 2012. The premises now house an Indian restaurant. The notes below are of historical interest only.
Fans of the restaurant please be aware that it has reopened at:
Blah Blah Blah
157 Heath Road
This unassuming little eaterie has been plying its trade for 18 years now, and so must be doing something right. I tend to avoid specialist vegetarian restaurants simply because they so often seem to be making some sort of 1960s hippie point rather than caring much about the food. However Blah Blah Blah is a cut above this. The dining room is simple, with wooden floors, white and burgundy walls decorated with a weird set of wooden animal heads and other esoteric items, and some fairly quite muzak. The surrounding area here is a reminiscent of walking into an episode of The Wire, but once you are safely inside then the welcome is real.
The chef/owner Manjit does not stick to any one cuisine, but flits about between Middle Eastern, Indian and European dishes. Artichoke and chick pea salad was pleasant, with a decent dressing, and the chick peas were tender enough (11/20). Sabu dana vada was fried cutlets of sago and potato, enlivened by ginger, coriander leaves and green chillies and served with a tamarind sauce (11/20).
Kashmiri curry comprised an assortment of pan-fried vegetables, cooked with spices and served with a coconut sauce, rice and piece of popadom. This worked fine, the spice mix not as complex as in a good Indian restaurant, but the vegetables retained their texture well (comfortably 11/20). Pierogi dumplings were actually steamed, containing cabbage and mushrooms, served with gherkins, salad, pickled onions, sautéed onion and cream. These dumplings are more usually fried, and I found this dish less successful, the texture of the dumplings being rather heavy, and their filling somewhat tasteless (10/20).
Plum crumble was served with vanilla custard that really needed more vanilla (just 11/20). Apple pie and salted caramel cream was competent, the pastry rather thick but the apples cooked all right, served with a red berry coulis (11/20). Our waiter was friendly and helpful. The bill came to just £22 a head, including service. We brought our own wine, at a rather endearing £1.45 corkage charge per person. It seems as if the restaurant may now have a license, but no wine list was apparent. This is just a simple neighbourhood restaurant, but it is welcoming and the cooking is generally competent.
What follows are notes from a meal in June 2008.
I had puy lentil salad with goat cheese and mixed leaves (£5.95). Nothing exciting, but the lentils were cooked correctly and the salad was properly dressed (just about 11/20). For my main course I had black bean and sweetcorn tostada (£10.95). So often if you have this kind of thing in a Tex Mex place then the tostada will be soggy and the ingredients a mush, but here the tostada was crisp, the ingredients nicely cooked and the spicing distinct. The corn tortillas were filled with a black bean casserole and roasted sweet potato, the dish being garnished with an avocado salad and Jalapeno sauce (11/20). A leek and mushroom pie (£10.95) was also capable, the sautéed leeks and mushrooms cooked with garlic and cream in a decent pastry case, and served with a salad of potato and fennel with a little horseradish sauce (11/20).
For dessert a rhubarb, apple and ginger crumble (£5.95) was enjoyable, the flavours coming through clearly and the crumble having decent consistency, served with good vanilla custard (12/20). A mango kulfi ice cream (£5.95) with almonds pistachios and cardamom was also surprisingly good; this would shame many Indian restaurants. Service, from a solitary waiter, was a little erratic but friendly. I have certainly had much worse meals in better known gastropubs than this. As a bonus, our car was still there unharmed when we left the restaurant, despite the gang of youths hanging around opposite it.