Hard Rock Cafe Meets Veganuary This January

Hard Rock Cafe Meets Veganuary This January

Of all the restaurants we review in London, we can’t think of one more globally recognised than the Hard Rock Cafe in Old Park Lane. In fact, there probably isn’t a foodie that hasn’t, at some point, stepped through the hallowed doors. It was something that you always looked forward to in your younger years (if, dear reader, you are of similar age). Knowing you were heading to the Hard Rock instilled a kind of excitement for dining that holds to this day.

I remember the first time visiting the Hard Rock Cafe in Old Park Lane in London: the queuing outside, as I remember, was all part of the experience. It was a palpable feeling of going somewhere ‘other’ than a restaurant; an immersive experience where dining was only one part of the equation.

Hard Rock Cafe Interior

The original Hard Rock Cafe opened back in 1971 and is still ‘rocking’ you could say, even to this day. The restaurant was founded by Isacc Tigrett and Peter Morton who both wanted to find a really good American-style burger while in London, and so together opened up their own diner in an old Rolls Royce dealership. It’s incredible to see their original vision still here today, and has assuredly become one of the most visited restaurants in London.

On any given day, particularly over the weekend, people flock to the restaurant excitedly taking photos as if they were actually waiting in line for a rock concert. It’s inspiring to see a restaurant able to keep its allure for all these years.

In fact it’s hard to concentrate when you first enter as you find yourself drifting from wall to wall, admiring the iconic memorabilia, which range from Jimi Hedrix’s guitar, Madonna’s jacket from the 1980’s, to Eric Clapton’s suit…it’s simply a must for any rock and roll fans.

Prince's shirt Hard Rock Cafe London

Fast forward to today, on a blustery Saturday in January, we visited to sample their brand new Veganuary offerings. I always arrive early for reviews, and was instantly greeted with the warmest welcome from Chris at Front of House who is as charming as could be, and has the best stories to tell.

This is something I will always say for the Hard Rock is that they know how to do service well…very well, in fact. It’s bright, attentive, and you feel important to them, unlike a few chains we’ve encountered over the years. No sooner had Chris got us settled at the table than the delightful, Gurdy, was there to show us the menu and discuss our options.

First off, two delightful Mocktail offerings currently on the Veganuary menu: Strawberry, Basil Lemonade and Chile Lime Pineapple. Both drinks thirst quenching and perfectly balanced between sweet and tart. If you like your drinks a little on the spicier side, I highly recommend the Chile Lime Pineapple as the addition of the jalapeños offers a gentle warmth and perfect for the cooler, winter months. It’s a keeper, we think.

Mocktails Hard Rock Cafe

The starter always sets the tone for the entire meal so I was slightly reticent when choosing the Cauliflower. I’ve never really been a fan, and I feel this vegetable only really comes alive when smothered in a mound of cheese under a hot grill. However, reading the description for the ‘Cauliflower Wings’ I was intrigued, and pleasantly surprised to discover the little florets had been deep fried in a panko crust, beautifully light and crisp, not claggy as you often find. The cauliflower is paired with the classic ‘wing dips’ so you get the fiery heat from one and the cool ranch dressing from the other, with a healthy addition of crunchy celery. It’s a dish even the cauliflower objectors would approve of, and I certainly do.

Cauliflower Wings

No sooner as I was pining for another portion of the crispy cauliflower than my attention was diverted to the entrées: Moving Mountains BBQ Stack Burger and Moving Mountains Tacos. A rather perfect collaboration between the two brands as Moving Mountains truly blazed the trail for plant-based alternatives at a time when there was little on offer, so kudos to the match.

Moving Mountains BBQ Stack Burger

Now, to the Tacos, which were my top pick for lunch. As a wave of second hunger overwhelmed, I was sated by the sight of three, filled-to-the-brim soft tacos with avocado peeking out from the top. The tacos are generously filled with Moving Mountains mince, grilled salsa, onions, avocado and cilantro, with a drizzle of smoky chipotle lime vegan mayo. The tacos are lightly spiced and well-balanced. You wouldn’t know you were eating a meat alternative. It’s a dish to order if you’re hungry and ready to devour, and equally ideal for sharing if you want to try a few options.

Moving Mountain Tacos

Speaking of devour, we move onto the BBQ Stack Burger which is piled high made up of a Moving Mountains patty, vegan melted cheese, vegan mayo, homemade BBQ sauce, as well as pickled onion, dill pickle, tomato, as well as a generous mound of shoestring fries. It’s an incredible feat of a burger, and once again, you wouldn’t know you weren’t biting into anything other than a traditional patty. A great choice for the true burger-lover and one that likes their sandwich stacked.

We hope that the Hard Rock might consider keeping their Veganuary menu as it really does offer a great choice of alternative options, but at the very least, we implore the Hard Rock gods to keep the divine Cauliflower Wings. We’ll keep you updated on the outcome.

Check out the Veganuary menu now which runs until 31st January.

Do you need to book?

It’s not a necessity, but as you can imagine, it’s pretty much consistently busy so it’s best to book a table to avoid disappointment.

Where to find Hard Rock Café

150 Old Park Lane, London, W1K 1QZ

Website: https://www.hardrockcafe.com/

Phone: +44 20 7514 1700

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