I wrote this post in the summer, with a few hopes of changing it up a bit. Months later and I feel like it’s time to release it into the world. Hope you enjoy!
I’m a big believer in things happening for reasons. The world works in magical ways- it brings to you what you are ready to receive, when you are ready to receive it. This is exactly what happened when it comes to my first visit to Tanya’s Cafe. Nothing short of a miracle, in my eyes. I’ve been a follower of Better Raw, the blog, website and business behind the beautiful lady, Tanya Maher for quite some time. So, you can imagine my surprise and excitement when I realized that Tanya was in the process of opening up a spot in London.
Although I don’t live in London, most of my extended family [and a handful of some dear friends] reside in England and my family and I have deep roots around the British country. Since my move to Dubai I knew that a trip to England was in the cards, seeing that the distance it took me to fly to London was now virtually cut in half [13 hours to under 7]. I kept the thought of a visit to London in the back of my mind. Moving forward to the beginning of summer, I was veering closer to my trip to visiting my two dear friends in Florence [Paulina & Caitlin, who are living in Firenze for a year studying graphic and interior design]. It came to my attention that it was important for me to make a stop in England to visit my Nana, as well as to renew my British passport. Without planning or thinking too much about it, dates were figured out and the idea of a trip manifested into one that was booked, confirmed and coming up! One morning, a few days before my flight, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw that Tanya’s Cafe was nearing completion and opening! Tanya was posting photos- asking for follower’s opinions on signage labels. Taking a better look at her most recent posts, I realized that the cafe was about to open, on July 28th! I couldn’t believe it. That was the day that I would be returning from Italy, to spend 10 days in and around London. It was almost too good to be true.
My first visit to Tanya’s Cafe was very brief. It was the day after the opening- and I was spending the day with my dad, strolling around London [we quite literally walked around London for 9 hours]. I remembered the name of the street that the cafe was located and that it was in Chelsea, but that was it. So, when my dad mentioned stopping at Chelsea FC for a pint and a look at the grounds [secretly he wanted to inquire about buying tickets to the upcoming Chelsea Vs Aston Villa game- he’s a MAJOR AVFC fan for those of you that don’t know him], I thought there may be a small chance I could find it. We walked around Chelsea, stopping at a few spots that friends and followers had recommended to me [a health food store, The Good Life Eatery]- when suddenly I spotted the name of the street: Ixworth Place. It seemed like it was a small street, so I managed to convince my dad to take a chance.
There it was, myhotel Chelsea, and the beautiful sign I had voted for on the Facebook page, Tanya’s! I found it! I knew it wasn’t the day to truly investigate the spot [I was with my dad], I knew I had to pop in for a quick look.
Walking into Tanya’s is like walking into a charming, delicate and love-filled home within a botanical forest. It’s so precious. I knew immediately that I would love it and I needed to return soon. I was immediately greeted by Tanya in her endearing New Zealand accent. I introduced myself and let her know that I was just stopping in for a quick look. Introducing me to the space and some of her products, I could tell how passionate Tanya was for her new space and clearly, a very exciting new beginning. I managed to return to Tanya’s three times thereafter before my departure to Dubai. I also managed to very easily coerce my fellow Holistic Nutrition friend, Antonina, to join me on my visits. Before I knew it, Antonina and Tanya were very well acquainted [I have a strong feeling it has something to do with the fact that they are both Russian] and Antonina and I both shared a love and passion for Tanya and that she represents!
Tanya has built her cafe around the idea of supporting, promoting and curating the healthy, holistic and raw lifestyle in her home of London. The cafe truly has a special energy about it- you can feel that a lot of time, energy and thought has gone into it’s creation. One of my favourite additions are her chalk boards which display daily ‘Tanya’s Specials’, ‘Something Exciting’ & ‘Thought of the Day’ such as the Dalai Lama’s “when you talk, you are only repeating what you already know…but when you listen, you may learn something new”. Tanya is clearly a big supporter of education and awareness around holistic health. Alongside her daily menus- she offers a handout to each customer, identifying and explaining what each superfood is and how they can support one’s health. Her staff are armed with passion and inspiration, ready to share their knowledge with any customers who are keen to learn about the food or truly are new to the raw lifestyle. Also, the cafe has been constructed in a way that caters to a budding homegrown garden- either upstairs on her rooftop courtyard or in the kitchen [microgreens, herbs, greens]. Not only that, the cafe’s interior has been perfectly covered with greenery (alluding to my previous comment about a botanical forest) with what she has coined her ‘living wall’- filled with beautiful potted plants of many varieties, shapes, origins and colours. The menu has been designed to appeal a variety of tastes and lifestyles. Opening Monday-Friday at 7am [ready to welcome the early risers like myself], while on Saturday and Sunday the cafe opens at 8am. Setting the cafe apart from other holistic cafes’ and restaurants; Tanya’s stays open till 11pm on Tuesdays-Saturdays, offering a beautiful menu of tasting plates and sharing bites accompanied by a vibrant menu of unique Superfood Cocktails and Organic & Biodynamic Wines. What a treat! A great touch, especially for a neighbourhood like Chelsea, London.
The day menu is nothing short of inspiring and absolutely tantalising. In order to truly understand how wonderful the food is- you have to visit the cafe for yourself. Words and photos simply will not suffice. Not only is the food beautifully presented, it’s creative, thoughtful, delicious, colourful and incredibly nutritious. Superfoods are most definitely a highlight of each dish. Liquids and drinks include milks (nut & seed milks), shooters (detoxifiers, liver flushes), smoothies (blends of fruits, greens, superfoods and nutmilks), juices (raw, cold-pressed) as well as immune-boosting hot drinks and holistic coffees and teas.
Although I wasn’t able to enjoy any on this visit, I anticipate my return to be filled with bites of Tanya’s incredible sweets and treats. When you walk into Tanya’s, you can’t help but notice the beautiful display of raw cakes, chocolates and stunning treats that fill the display fridge at the front. Tanya has daily creations and also takes orders for special events [birthdays, girls’ night, wedding!]. Displaying her smart sense of entrepreneurship and never-ending loving heart- Tanya shared her chocolates with the world just last week announcing free raw chocolates for everyone for 1 day! What a treat.
I was able to enjoy a lunch as well as an evening of superfood cocktails and small bites. What I really enjoyed is that the experiences were quite different- as if the cafe undergoes a slight transformation from day to night. There is something about the energy at Tanya’s that is so authentic and organic [yes, I said it] that each moment is unique to it’s own. It would be difficult and almost unfair for me to choose my favourite dish or drink- although I will say that the lunch left me wishing I had a larger appetite or more days left to re-visit.
It took me a few minutes of absolute indecision to pick something out of the amazing list of entrees [pad thai, sun burger, tacos, pizza, nori wrap, ceaser salad], however, I finally decided to go with the Thai Curry Noodles. Although I am sure that each and every item on the menu is nothing short of wonderful, I am happy I went with the noodles. They were unbelievably fantastic. I have since then heard that it is the most popular item on the menu. I can understand why! When the plate first arrived- I wasn’t sure if it was a mix-up and I had accidentally ordered the burger or lasagna. The dish had been plated in a way that each delicious item had been stacked on top of a bed of an intensely green sauce. I am quite sure I could see every colour of the rainbow- and some. It’s difficult to choose the star of the dish, although, I will say that the dehyrdated & marinated veggies are phenomenal. Yum. Take me back immediately, if not, sooner.
Not only has Tanya set the bar for Raw food establishments in London, she has created an inspiring model for the whole world. I have visited many, many holistic food businesses during my travels around the world and I can confidently say that Tanya’s is up there on the list of the best. That being said, don’t take my word for it- please, try it out for yourself. Grab a nutritious breakfast, lunch, juice or a beautiful superfood cocktail and watch your body, mind and soul sing in radiance!