Between all those ice cream sammiches in Bombay and equally scrumptious eats and treats since getting back to London, life has definitely been on the more indulgent side of late (and it’s only set to get more so – watch this space).
#FoodieLife, I know.
But I’m all about finding a balance…. It’s why I started the Healthy London series on this blog, as a way of sharing my discoveries on good food that’s also really good for you, from snacks ideal for a lighter elevenses hour to my favourite healthy hangouts around town.
Well you guys, I now have two new eateries to add to that list. And the best part? They’ve both been launched by some of my favourite food writers/ bloggers at the moment, which means that I can enjoy my favourite recipes without actually having to do any work in the kitchen… #Winning!
Hemsley + Hemsley at Selfridges
Tucked away in the recently-launched Body Studio on the third floor of Selfridges, the first-ever café from the achingly cool Hemsley sisters is a cheerful spot positively radiating that good-vibes-only kind of feel…
Rooted in their Art of Eating Well, everything on the nutrient-dense menu here is free from gluten, grains, refined sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oils… including the burgers!
The black bean and feta burger proved a wholesome choice – a soft, protein-packed patty sandwiched in Hemsley + Hemsley’s signature flaxseed bun (made from just eggs, seeds & almond!), with an added kick from the homemade Sriracha served alongside. I loved the zesty “lime slaw” that came with it too!
While my vegan friend’s Hemsley bowl was a thing of beauty – a vibrant mix of veggies, soba (buckwheat noodles), carrot spirals, quinoa, puy lentils and all kinds of other goodness…
Sadly however, we weren’t blown away by our choice of desserts, tahini-date fudge and chocolate chip cookies (made with ground almond, coconut oil and 85% dark chocolate chips).
Although I love all things sesame, the nuttiness of the tahini was a bit overwhelming; while the cookies were a touch too salty… both were lacking a sharp and cohesive burst of flavours.
I know, I know.
Why bother with “healthy” desserts in the first place? The concept is alien to a lot of people, including my mum who believes in enjoying the real thing or nothing at all.
But I’ve tried enough raw cacao slices, coco fudge (made with chickpea flour, dates, coconut oil and nothing else!) and other such relatively healthy treats (they’re still super high in fats, but just the good kind of fats!), to have developed an appreciation for this new wave of health-conscious foods which are free from refined sugar, gluten and dairy.
So I don’t doubt that I’ll be back at Hemsley Selfridges at some point soon, to at least try the other sweets from their extensive selection ranging from carrot cake covered with a yogurt raw-honey frosting to Hemsley signature “Paradise bars” and ChocBeet cupcakes…
But if you get there before me – please do drop your recommendations in the comments below!
Hemsley + Hemsley at Selfridges, Selfridges & Co, 400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB
The Mae Deli by Deliciously Ella
Meanwhile – just a hop, skip and a jump over in Marylebone, Ella Woodword a.k.a. Deliciously Ella has opened her first eatery too, in collaboration with her fiancé, Matthew Mills. Hence the name, Mae (Matthew and Ella).
It’s impossible to find the deli anything less than busy – but the staff are incredibly friendly and with many visitors getting their orders to go, it’s not too difficult to snag a space in the cosy basement if you’re eating in.
As you’d expect, everything (and I really mean everything) is way too tempting from the build-your-own açaí and porridge bowls for breakfast, to the gigantic serving dishes displayed from lunch-time onwards, heaving with a mouthwatering selection of Ella’s famous recipes.
Seriously, those maple roasted sweet potatoes though…
You can mix and match, combining any four dishes (either hot, cold or both) into your Mae bowl.
The result is a hearty affair, perfectly seasoned and teeming with vivid flavours… I savoured each and every bite from the sticky sweet potatoes (glazed with maple syrup) to the red vegetables and black beans mix spiked with smoked paprika and lemon juice.
The sweet potato falafels were also a moreish addition, while the pesto and avocado dip added a creamy lift to it all!
Since I’d had the foresight to visit with a friend who was happy to share, we also had the stomach for a stack of buckwheat pancakes topped with a homemade berry and apple compote, maple syrup and lots of toasted coconut chips! It was a Saturday after all…
But while the compote was rather lush, the pancakes themselves fell a bit flat as they were a tad too dry. When it comes to this weekend staple, I suppose I’m quite the traditionalist – only the fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth variety will do.
The peanut fudge slice on the other hand… now that was mood-alteringly good.
A scrumptiously nutty combination of almonds, oats, dates, raw cacao powder and cacao butter, coconut milk and heaps of peanut butter, it had quite a lot of bite to it and went down on a right treat with my cinnamon matcha latte!
So don’t be too surprised if you spot me here next weekend, as I’ve definitely found my new addiction!
Mae deli, 21 Seymour Place, Marylebone, W1H 5BH