When it comes to food, I always have good intentions…until I see a burger on the menu.
I want to look better in my clothes, I want to be fitter and not fatter and I want to fuel my body for my demanding lifestyle but I can’t help salivating over pasta and steaks in a way that chicken salad just doesn’t cut it.
When I heard about Tanya’s cafe, a raw food cafe in Chelsea, I wanted to try it because I genuinely want to like healthy food. I figured that when a restaurant specialises in good, clean dishes there must be one (or more) items on the menu that appeals. It’s different to going to a pub or restaurant that has one or two healthy options and praying the saintly dishes are as appetising as the sinly ones. But I was also prepared to leave feeling hungry as I wasn’t entirely convinced raw food could be that filling.
How wrong was I? Check out these tacos. They’re soft shell tacos, that have been pressed rather than cooked with walnut mushroom meat, guacamole, salsa and soured cream.
I prefer these to traditional tacos as you don’t feel guilty as you’re eating them. Nor do you feel stuffed and lethargic afterwards. Sat in the gloriously light dining room of the MyHotel conservatory in Chelsea, where Tanya’s is located, I felt like it was summer even though it was early February. Everything felt so fresh and light, which was a shock to the senses as my lunches at the start of the year normally involve soup or miso soup.
The friend I took to lunch has previously spent a month in LA, where he lived off raw food. He’s a hard man to impress, but even he couldn’t fail to admire the presentation of this Pad Thai. This is shredded vegentables in young coconut, almond butter and chilli sauce.
My heart stopped as I watched him take the first bite. I wanted him to love it as much as I did so that we could go back. Luckily, I wasn’t disappointed and nor was he. But honestly, I don’t think there’s much luck in it. The vegetables are off the best quality – crunchy and colourful. The sauce had an ideal blend of nuts and spices making every bite an unexpected treat for the mouth. How could anyone dine on the nearby Kings Road in Chelsea now, when this is round the corner?
And it doesn’t stop there as we haven’t even reached the refreshments yet. Normally, when you go to lunch you might be tempted by a wine list. However, I think this could be because most restaurants focus on wine and offer a token apple and orange juice. Tanya’s focuses on healthy, fresh juices and offers organic wine as an additional option. So why would you want to go for wine when you could have something as tasty as this:
It’s a My Doctor juice, which is beetroot, carrot, celery, lemon, apple and ginger. As I sipped it, I felt revived. I knew it was good for me because of the ingredients but if you handed it to me without the menu, I know I still would have guessed it was full of vitamins. In fact, I may even have had one of those moments where you sip a drink and let out a refreshing ‘Aaaaah.’
There are hot coffees on the menu (but they’re healthier than normal as made with a choice of milks). The hot chocolate was absolutely divine, consisting of cacao, date paste, almond butter, cinnamon and vanilla…and a smiley face.
There were some tasty cakes, puddings and raw chocolates in a cabinet, which looked divine but we’d ran out of time by that point. I will be going back to sample one on my next visit, I can tell you that now.
I’m also planning to visit after 4pm next time as that’s when they start serving a range of alcoholic superfood cocktails. The thinking is the antioxidants in the juices counteract the toxins from the alcohol!
Tanya’s has really changed the way I think about healthy eating. Eating healthy doesn’t have to require going hungry. Healthy food can be more delicious than burgers.
CONTACT: Tanya’s Cafe, 35 Ixworth Place, London SW3 3QX. 020 7225 7238. Visit the Tanya’s Cafe website for more information and booking details.