Last Sunday afternoon my two flatmates and I had a housemate date. As it was rainy and miserable outside, we decided to treat ourselves to a nice afternoon tea. Not your typical English high tea with tiny cucumber sandwiches and tea cakes but to something much more appealing to me… raw cheesecake and smoothies!
Tanya’s Café in Chelsea, located a short walk from South Kensington station, had been on my “to do” list since before it even opened back in August 2014. Run by Tanya Alekseeva from the highly successful Better Raw website, the café drew me in with promises of organic, raw smoothies, burgers, desserts and more.
Set in the conservatory of the trendy myhotel Chelsea, the space is bright and airy. It is filled with a mix of bench-style seating and smaller tables and chairs, and the open counter space is busy but organised with shelves of brightly-filled Kilner jars and Tupperware containers. Industrial style lighting hangs from the glass ceiling, potted plants and hanging baskets climb along the wire-netted back wall, and hand-written chalkboard signs with sweet messages like “You are beautiful” and “Everything is going to be okay” adorn the tables and walls. The café successfully manages to be both charming and modern at the same time.
As one who gets quite overwhelmed by choice and sees an entirely vegetarian-friendly menu as a bit of a double-edged sword (Hooray! I can eat everything and anything here! But oh, no… How will I ever choose? What if I pick the wrong thing? Am I going to get a serious case of food envy if my dining partner’s dish looks better than mine?!), it was quite a relief when the only items left in the dessert cabinet were chocolate coated goodies or strawberry cheesecake. As that weirdo who doesn’t like chocolate-based desserts, my decision was easily made! And it was life-changing. Seriously, it was the best cheesecake I have ever eaten and I was genuinely sad when the last scrap disappeared from the cute little wooden board it was served on.
Housemate #1 also got the cheesecake and declared that he could have eaten the entire wheel! By the time we left, there was no cheesecake left to speak of, proving its popularity.
When it came to drinks, although the smoothie menu was insanely tempting, the dreary weather had me leaning more towards something cosy and warm on this particular afternoon. A chai latte was the perfect accompaniment to my indulgent cheesecake; made with spices, almond butter and date syrup, it was sweet and spicy without being overly rich as some powder blends tend to be.
Housemate #2 hadn’t eaten lunch before we went, so he ordered from the main menu. After a flirtation with the idea of the soft shell mushroom tacos, he ended up going for the Sun Burger. A far cry from the usual ‘patty-in-a-bun’-style burger, this was fresh onion bread served with marinated peppers, tomato, cauliflower and salad along with home-made ranch dressing and ketchup. It was a really fresh, light meal with an interesting mix of flavours and would certainly tempt me if I came back for lunch some time.
Naturally, as food a raw café, Tanya’s has a great range of smoothies. Housemate #2 opted for the My Balance smoothie, which was a delicious mix of summer fruits mixed with almond butter, maca and cinnamon. I am a sucker for drinks served in jars and topped with a sprinkling of edible flower petals, the smoothie looked just as good as it tasted.
With hot drinks starting at £3.25, smoothies at £6.75, cakes from £4.50 each, and mains from £13.10, it’s not a café for the last weekend before pay day! But given its location, the organically produced and ethically-sourced ingredients, and most importantly the amazing taste of everything, it is well worth the pennies!
Tanya’s turns into a cocktail bar after 4 pm, offering a selection of organic vegan wines and superfood cocktails so I imagine I will be back before too long to try out a Kombuchacup or Orange & Matcha Daiquiri!
But right now, given today’s delightful drizzly weather again, I’d kill for another scrumptious chai latte…
35 Ixworth Place, London SW3 3QX
Update: Check out more vegan food porn from my second trip to Tanya’s Cafe!