Both new and old vegans will know that getting a good dessert when eating out is something of a rarity. Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that when it comes to puddings at local restaurants, I can be quite scathing (and I still maintain that a scoop of sorbet alone is not adequately meeting my cravings, while my friend is tucking into a rich chocolate brownie). That in mind, I was intrigued and optimistic to be invited along to try out the brand new vegan menu at Heavenly Desserts in Headington. I’d expected maybe an A4 sheet of paper with a small handful of vegan sweet treats, which would’ve seen me happy enough. What we were presented with on arrival though, was way beyond that. A 35 page booklet filled with their gluten-free and vegan options (in some cases one or the other, in many cases both).
The service from the beginning was great. After we’d placed our order, someone came over to check with us whether we had any allergies, and to let us know that the waffle iron had been used for their non-gluten free mixture too. If cross-contamination is something that you’re really concerned with, this probably isn’t the place for you, but we were happy that they’d proactively come out and checked with us, as most places certainly wouldn’t.
First up from our order arrived the mint chocolate chip milkshake, made with scoops of ice cream and plant-based milk. I’ve not had mint choc chip ice cream since going vegan and I did not realise how much I’d missed it until I took my first sip. This drink is definitely a dessert in itself, being super thick and creamy, as well as very sweet. Jamie said it reminded him of liquid peppermint Aero and I think it’s a very accurate comparison.
We tried a couple of the waffles, and narrowing our choice down to just two from the abundance of options was challenging. The portion sizes were absolutely huge, so I thought these were amazing value – far better than anything I’ve seen elsewhere. I would struggle to get through one in one sitting so it might even be a good option to share. The waffles were crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle, with a hint of sweetness but certainly not too much considering all the sweet toppings. I couldn’t tell from eating it that it was a gluten free batter. I chose the ‘Sinful but oh so heavenly’ waffle, piled up with mango, banana, strawberry and raspberries, served with a generous pot full of maple syrup to pour over, and a scoop of mango sorbet. It was the perfect summery dessert and I was really impressed by the amount of fruit. The sorbet was also enjoyable for me as sorbets go, without any icey chunks which you often find in lower quality scoops. Jamie ordered the Lotus Biscoff waffle, for which you definitely have to have a very sweet tooth. It was drizzled with melted Biscoff spread, topped with biscuit crumbs, and served with a creamy vanilla ice cream. Very indulgent and such a treat.
Next we tried the ‘Vegan brownie explosion’, basically a classic caramel brownie and more vanilla ice cream. This brownie was incredible, fudgey in texture and the chocolate was very rich. Then there was this slightly salted caramel sauce oozing on the top. Served with two generous scoops of vanilla ice cream, this puts any lacklustre vegan desserts at other establishments to shame.
One of the slightly less over the top desserts came from the ‘custard’ section of the menu (yes, there is a whole section dedicated to this, which again I took my fair time over deciding which of the multiple vegan options to sample). I landed on a coconut and raspberry sponge, served with a huge pot of vanilla custard. The sweet, fluffy sponge was well flavoured with lemon, and this pudding felt more like how you’d round off a Sunday roast at home. Possibly less indulgent but still absolutely delicious, and such a good price at under £5.
I’d had the Belgian Chocolate and Raspberry torte recommended to me by one of the Heavenly Desserts team. To be honest this is a dessert that I’ve seen creeping onto other menus so I thought it was one of the slightly less exciting sounding options, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. This was my favourite thing we tried. Rich Belgian chocolate sat on a crumbly chocolate biscuit base. It was a delight to eat, served with beautiful fresh raspberries and a drizzle of sauce which packed a punch almost like a strawberry Quality Street.
Finally, we reach the Sundae section of the menu. As you can imagine with all the toppings they’d featured throughout the menu so far, there were a lot of combinations to try here. We went for the ‘Cookies and Cream’, a huge glass filled with layers of vanilla ice cream, plentiful dark chocolate sauce, Oreo halves, and chunks of their chewy chocolate brownie. The dish was pretty much overflowing and we felt like big kids tucking in. The pool of sauce and melted ice cream at the bottom defeated us, and as with
Looking at the desserts as they came out, I felt overwhelmed by the feeling of how far the vegan movement has come. When I first started this blog a couple of years ago, I did so because I was struggling to find anywhere at all that catered to vegans when eating out. Now, I can walk into a dessert parlour and eat literally anything that my non-vegan friend eats, and it tastes absolutely amazing. To me, it’s just a no-brainer, surely when it tastes just as good, that people will want to make the cruelty-free choice and order the vegan version of their favourite dessert? Absolute congratulations to Heavenly Desserts for taking this step, and I really hope it pays off for them, and that in turn they are able to reduce the amount of animal products they buy as the popularity of the vegan range grows. I will definitely be coming back to indulge, and I can’t recommend it enough for you guys to go and try!
Disclaimer: We were invited to dine free of charge at Heavenly Desserts. This review is my honest account of the experience.