Firstly, I’d like to thank both TWID and Candoo PR for extending an invitation to enjoy a complimentary meal at the restaurant.
TWID – That’s What I Do – isn’t an easy restaurant to depict on account of its sheer uniqueness. Experiences are typically described based on those we have already amassed, so it’s difficult to illustrate one so unfamiliar, so out of the ordinary.
It’s a bit like what I remember of the one time I went to a dinner theatre, only this time I wasn’t 10 and being gifted the lyrics to “It’s a Hard Knock Life” to sing at my parents for years to come. Instead the theme is mainly operatic, there are no obnoxious orange wigs, and the stage fluctuates between a colossal central table-cum-stage to the multiple staircases ascending to the elevated dining spaces.
Upon arrival we were cheerfully greeted by staff. “Welcome!” they said, to which I buoyantly responded “welcome!” because I am a socially inelegant and awkward human. Thankfully my gift of gracefulness allowed me to cooly recover by pausing for a few seconds of golden silence before blurting out a second “welcome!” I’d be awful onstage.
I bowed my head and hawkishly plodded along as we were lead to our table, a small booth on the second floor of the intricately decorated opera themed restaurant. Actually, it’s less a second floor than a cosy balcony designed with pseudo theatre boxes so that every table has sight of the main performance space near the front door.
If you’re lucky, your own table may also literally serve as a stage. As ours did when my partner received a personal performance of “Old Man River,” much to our delight (no sarcasm there, promise).
There are currently three vegan options on the menu, which recommends each diner order 2-3 dishes.
QUINOA STUFFED MUSHROOM: Superfood Salad, Pine Nuts, Basil
My least favourite item of the mains was the mushroom dish, but only because I wasn’t keen on the undressed salad served alongside and I detest the word “superfood.” A change of language, plus a splash of lemon and olive oil, with a sprinkling of salt, would fix everything. As for the mushroom itself, a worthy main, this was the only cooked option for vegans and I like cooked food. The stuffing was complemented by the pine nuts and the soaked goji berries on the side (hint: these don’t cost four million pounds if you just buy them in Chinatown).
RAW SPICED FALAFEL: Avocado, Mango and Pomegranate Salad
While I prefer my falafel to be cooked, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this dish. TWID’s rendition of raw falafel is thoughtful, with balanced spice, texture, and flavour; three aspects of a dish I appreciate when the chef has got it right, and I think it’s pretty right. The falafel is served on a bed of mango, pomegranate seeds, and avocado, sprinkled with fresh herbs (always appreciated because OMFG what is it with the British palate and an aversion to fresh herbs). Both my partner and I continuously commented throughout eating this sizable salad how much we wouldn’t expect to like it, but that we really did.
RAW VEGAN SUSHI TERRINE: Nori, Miso, Avocado, Organic Soy Sauce
The sushi was the blockbuster hit that will see me return for this alone. When I expressed appreciation of the dish, our server eagerly told us there are more than 25 ingredients involved in the making of the sushi. I’ve tried a lot of vegan fish dishes over the years and if someone asked me where to find the best faux tuna I would point them to this nut and vegetable based sushi at TWID. And speaking of our server, she was a sincere woman with a big heart clearly in support of the business. It’s rare but pleasant to see restaurant staff so engaged with and proud of the company they are working for.
If you’re a fan of raw nut and coconut based desserts that aren’t too sweet, then the vegan afters menu at Twid is designed for you. All of the four vegan options are raw, with strawberry cheesecake, chocolate cake, carrot cake, and mango cheesecake on offer. Apologies for no pictures of the cakes, but the light was gone by then and also I was too distracted by the wonderful performance happening around me.
Drinks are well priced and the cocktails are resolutely alcoholic. I am no liquor expert, and as such it makes little sense for me to try to discuss mixed drinks beyond “it’s alcohol mixed with stuff in a glass.” Yes, it’s shocking I chose a cocktail over wine, my preferred and routine path to inebriation.
As for the wine list, I’m no pro but some thought has gone into the selections. A couple each of Pinot and Syrah/Shiraz, an off dry to medium Riesling, the quintessential Sauvignon Blanc, and a bright Rhone Chardonnay, to name a few. Many are available by the glass, including both the Prosecco and Champagne. There’s a little bit of everything and many of the wines would seemingly complement of the dishes available.
If there’s one word to best describe our dinner at TWID, its this: fun. I mean, really, really fun. And real fun is rare because grown ups are boring and they don’t value the art of play, so to see that embraced gives me hope that the future of the London restaurant scene isn’t just smoothie bowls and instagrammable plates of toast with ridiculous menu names.
We’re already looking forward to our next visit.