Why you should visit the Deliciously Ella cafe
I’ve been such a fan of Deliciously Ella through her plant-based recipe books focused on healing nutrition for a good couple of years, but I was so excited to finally visit her original deli in London at long last.
Her approach is completely plant-based, but for meat eaters you can add meat (or fish) to many of her dishes. Her home made ‘energy balls’ in particular got me through a fairly lengthy transition to more clean eating by giving me a real sweet treat in place of my usual chocolate in the evenings, so I’ll be forever grateful for that!
For those of you who don’t know her story, Ella Mills (nee Woodward), suffered from Postural Tachycardia Syndrome which is where the autonomic nervous system doesn’t work properly, and your blood supply to the heart and brain drops when you sit up, causing the heart rate to shoot up. It also has a range of side effects such as headaches, chronic fatigue, allergies, all of which led her to retreat to her bed at the age of 20.
Medications didn’t help her, so she turned to nutrition as a way to reduce the impact of this illness. Although she says it was tough, she cut out processed foods and took up a whole-foods, plant-based diet and took up exercise. Sharing her experiments with food and recipes turned into a hugely popular blog, book deals and now her cafes and food products appearing in most supermarkets.
The deli, which is in a lovely setting on Seymour Place around the back of Marble Arch in London, has a cosy, informal feel to it and is decked out in rustic style with lovely decorative tiles. The menu at first glance seemed quite limited for lunch, but actually it was far from it. It was perhaps because it wasn’t normally things I’d pick (as I tend to avoid beans, lentils and aubergines) such as:
- Thai yellow coconut curry
- Harissa aubergine, quinoa and broccoli
- Cauliflower and red lentil dhal
- Seasonal falafel and creamy hummous
I opted for the Thai curry, which I now make at home as it was just so tasty and full of flavour. I followed it with my first experience of a turmeric latte with almond milk (I can’t believe I haven’t had one before).
I ended up with a rather yellow-coloured lunch but I thoroughly enjoyed all of it. They also had all sorts of goodies for dessert, such as raw chocolate brownies, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy them as I didn’t feel I needed them at that point. Maybe next time…
I really wish more places offered such healthy plant-based food that you can trust to be full of good nutrition and free of things like refined sugar or vegetable oil.
As an observation from someone who has spent most of her time around places like Bank, Moorgate, Old Street, and other areas that are frequented by my day job’s financial industry contacts, it was a refreshing change to be surrounded by a young, preppy, hip audience. Rather than overhearing conversations about financial technology or blockchain, I heard a personal trainer talking about abs and reps to his client; someone talking about yoga, and a German couple of friends who I didn’t understand apart from the odd phrase like ‘life balance’. The deli definitely had a health-conscious clientele and the kind of place I want to spend more time in!
So if you fancy a healthy treat next time you’re in London, I’d definitely recommend Deliciously Ella’s cafe, which you can find at 21 Seymour Place, London, W1H 5BH. There are also a couple of newer locations you can find on her website.