It may date back to the late 1980s, but longstanding meat-swerving pioneer Mildred’s has only recently acquired a large and airy outpost in Camden Town.
The new branch is on Jamestown Road, in the former Camden Brasserie building, next to Wagamama, so it’s all natural light and big windows, with a winningly dog-friendly dining room and takeaway salad bar.
It’s the latter which we most frequent, as our office is round the corner: if you’re in a rush you can snag a super-healthy mixed box of purple sprouting broccoli, carrot salad, roasted winter veg and shiitake mushrooms for just £6.50.
But if you do have a more time, it’s worth eating in. There are imaginative small plates and surprisingly filling smoked tofu burgers (tip: don’t order a side with those unless you’re starving as you probably won’t need one).
On our recent visits we’ve preferred to order a handful of plates between two. Things we rate? Moreish sweet potato fries with chipotle ketchup; gyoza dumplings with chilli sauce; squeaky pan-fried halloumi, charcoal-roasted peppers and leeks with smoked chilli jam (a corker!); and the unbridled winner, chargrilled, earthy cauliflower with a tahini lemon dressing and tangy pomegranate seeds.
Chuck in a squeezed juice and it’s all almost too virtuous; thank goodness for the cocktails, wines and craft beer.
The only caveat? Be prepared to wait – at least sometimes. On different midweek lunchtimes we’ve witnessed both frustratingly slow service and the polar opposite, with food being dished up seconds after being ordered. Still, at least the quality on display makes up for it.
Mildred’s, 9 Jamestown Road NW1. Lunch about £15 inc drink/service.