I first visited the Wild Food Café in July and since then, I keep finding myself going back. As you walk up a flight of stairs to this new restaurant in Neal’s Yard, the smell of aromatherapy oils drift from the treatment rooms above and below. The place bustles, and as with most new restaurants in London, there is a no booking policy, but I have never had to wait more than a few minutes here for a table.
The room is simply decorated in bright orange and white with an open kitchen and lovely open windows, from which light pours through on to the diners sharing large pine tables.
The real draw of the place for me is the menu. It is rich and varied, but a treat when you know that everything is made from mostly raw, vegan, wild, foraged, and incredibly healthy ingredients.
A choice of blended juices use extra ingredients such as algae, cacao liquor and Irish moss – but none of them bring peculiar and unpleasing tastes to the palate, in fact the opposite. The ‘Incredible green’ smoothie is a delicious blend of avocado, moss, kale, aloe vera, coconut, banana and apples. It tastes as good as a proper banana milkshake. The popular ‘Forgotten Ecstasy’ combines cacao, dates, figs, almonds, coconut, cinnamon and vanilla and there are also fresh coconuts on the menu, which you really can’t beat amongst the ever expanding choice of bottled versions in the shops. These juices are not cheap, at £6 a go, but they are really well made and perfectly blended. There are also organic Spanish and Chilean wines, British beers and Devonshire ciders to choose from.
The food choices leave you wanting to try everything. Wild humus – really thick and made from sprouting chickpeas and tahini heavy, various sandwich and burger options using sprouting breads, sourdoughs and other wheat free alternatives come with well-dressed and incredibly fresh salads which complement the potential dryness of some of the breads. A favourite amongst diners is the homemade pizza – which uses coconut ‘cheeze’, lovely Turkish olives (a feature in many of the dishes which give wonderful flavours), and a raw tomato and goji marinara. Delicious! There are daily specials on a blackboard too, always a soup, a salad and a main dish often drawing from Asian flavours.
The puddings are a real treat, using no sugar or dairy products, but instead almonds, dates and figs to bring sweetness and proper richness. Raw cacao features heavily and all the delicate individual chocolates are hand made on site with real love.
This place is a haven. Services is friendly and passionate, and it is quick enough that you can go there on your lunch break, happily dine alone anytime, or go with friends in the evening and make more of a special occasion of it. It currently features in my five of the best Covent Garden dining experiences.
The Wild Food Cafe
Neals Yard, Covent Garden
By Jessica Hamilton