Mildreds, Lexington Street, W1

Scores out of 5: Veggie friendly : 5/5; Vegan-options available: Yes; Value for money: 4/5, Quality of cooking : 3.5/5; Ambience : 3.5/5; Service: 3.5/5 ;Atmosphere: 3.5/5

I've got to get into a wedding dress in 6 months time. So I've been trying to rein in my foodie passions and exercise a bit more... well at least a bit more than zero :-). My friend L, and I have therefore been pretty religious about our weekend 5 mile walk with an incentive at the end; the incentive being a small but lovely meal at a vegetarian restaurant in the vicinity of the walk.

This week's incentive was lunch at Mildred's which has been aptly described as a "Soho institution". When we arrived at about two pm on a Saturday, we had to queue; Mildred's was packed to the gills. There was a warm, happy buzz in the restaurant and a bunch of people standing at the bar waiting to be seated. It was great to see a vegetarian restaurant that is so popular. The waitress who welcomed us was friendly but the maitre'd appeared a teeny tiny bit stressed.

After a 15 minute wait (which I think was fair since we hadn't reserved), we were shown to our tables. If its your first visit, diners, please note - Mildred's doesn't accept reservations, so it's first-come-first-served.

Drinks orders were taken promptly. I had a juice - a mix of orange, apple and carrot - it was served quickly and the fact that it was organic and freshly squeezed was obvious from how lovely it was. My friend had the sparkling elderberry which was really refreshing after the long walk. I drained my drink in less than 2 minutes and had to order another; it was so nice.

We shared a starter of gyoza - steamed Japanese dumplings - served with a soya mirin sauce and a garnish of spring onions. The verdict - fresh, well-cooked, healthy and delicious. Our mains consisted of a smoked bean fajita and a mushroom and ale pie. The fajita was served with a dollop of sour cream, a smidgeon of guacamole and a tomato and lime salsa. The efficiency of service was demonstrated by the fact that the waitress had remembered to serve the salsa separately, just as I had requested, despite the fact that she didn't use a notepad or pen to take our order. L's main - a mushroom and ale pie came with a small helping of super-dooper chips. Having tried the basil mayo the last time around, I asked if we might have some and a cheerful passing waiter brought it over; it was strangely mustardy (despite being made with basil) and perfect with the chips. Portion sizes for both mains were generous but not overly large.

We were so full-up that we shared a pud. yes, yes, we could have avoided pudding but neither of us could resist sticky toffee pudding. The custard served alongside was a bit runny but the pud itself was absolutely yummmmmmy although I didn't care too much for the lashings of chopped sweetened ginger on top (L adored the ginger).

The total bill added up to just under £50 for 3 drinks each (drinks are reasonable at £3-£4), 1 starter (about £7), two mains (about £9 each) and a pudding.

The ambience was pleasant and functional, service was very efficient (although some of the waiting staff appeared a bit stressed), the toilets were impeccably clean and most importantly the food was well-cooked, excellent quality and promptly served. The only time we waited longer than expected was for the custard accompanying the pudding and even then it was only because we requested it a bit late.

I can really see why Mildred's is so popular and why it has survived for just under a quarter of a century now. The food's good, the restaurant's well-located and the service is pretty darn good; even fussy me couldn't find very much to criticise. We absolutely loved it !