Test Drives


[SIGPLUS_EXCEPTION_SOURCE] Image source is expected to be a full URL or a path relative to the image base folder specified in the back-end but /blog/2012/orchard/gallery is neither a URL nor a relative path to an existing file or folder.

Retro vegetarian fare - we test drive Orchard in HolbornWhat's Orchard all about?

Orchard is a rustic café/restaurant offering humble, vegetarian fare with a nod to retro dishes and bygone eras through its décor.

The sister site to vegetarian restaurant Vanilla Black, it's quite a departure from the original, which is more aimed towards fine dining. That said, it’s still based around the desire of owners Andrew and Donna to offer great-quality vegetarian food without, (in Andrew’s words), "shoving it in your face".

Where is it?

On Sicilian Avenue, a charming turn of the century paved shopping arcade, north of Holborn station.

Who's it suitable for?

Veggies! And, anyone looking for a relaxed bite to eat, a simple lunch, or a good cup of coffee and some homemade cake. It’s an inviting space and you’re very much left to dine at your leisure and enjoy a meal at your own pace.

Where should I meet for pre-dinner drinks?

Hmm, you may want to make that after-dinner drinks as the restaurant closes at 8pm. The Bloomsbury Tavern further up on New Oxford Street is a pleasant boozer or, if you fancy a cocktail or two, you could head to the bar at Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes or the bar at Pearl on Kingsway.

Where should we sit?

The last table at the back of the dining room is the best spot if you want to get comfortable and soak up the surroundings. If you’re in a large group and you fancy some privacy, there’s just one big table downstairs, which is ideal for noisy natters.

What should we order?

There's a daily-changing menu of homemade soups, heritage salads and fancy sarnies like ‘truffled mushroom pate with baby red chard on white bloomer’. Here to stay, (and recommended by us), is the Yorkshire cheddar and savoy cabbage pudding with heritage potatoes, creamed celeriac and red wine.

Definitely don’t skip dessert. Many of the day’s cakes and desserts are laid out on a table in view of the customers, a cunning plan to tempt you to the sweet side. We sampled the golden syrup pudding with burnt satsuma and cream. It was soft and fluffy and beautifully presented – a triumph.

What about drinks?

There are just a couple of wines on the menu and all are available by glass or bottle. We had a crisp and lovely glass of English white wine Limney Horsemorden as recommended by the owner Donna. If you fancy a beer, there’s Samuel Smiths organic lager or Samuel Smiths organic ale to choose from.

How much is this going to set me back?

Not much by restaurant standards. Prices are reasonable for the centre of town and main meals will set you back £5-£9.

Overall thoughts

Orchard's a lovely place to pop in for a spot of lunch or afternoon tea, but probably - as it shuts early - not the place to take a date in the evening.

Orchard, 11 Sicilian Avenue, London WC1A 2QH 020 7831 2715

Find out more about Orchard


Hot Dinners were invited to eat at Orchard. Prices are correct at the time of writing.

Hot Dinners recommends

Test Drive