This week I was lucky enough to have a whole day to myself in London. Being such a rare occurrence, I took advantage of revisiting my favourite spots, exploring the new and getting blissfully lost.
With a horrendous sense of direction and poor map reading skills, I managed to navigate my way to the first stop on my list: 26 Grains. Located not far from Covent Garden Square, this little delight is tucked away in the safehaven of Neal’s Yard. Neighbours to the likes of Wildfood Cafe and Neal’s Yard Remedies, 26 grains is a haven for healthy living advocates and of course porridge fanatics.
The menu caters for meat eaters, omnivores and plant based foodies alike, offering dairy-free, nut free and gluten free options to cater for all. With a wide range of dairy-free coffees to choose from as well, I opted for an almond latte to accompany my book reading perched upon a bench in the outdoor seating area.
Between sips I would gaze at the menu. Having craved Camden street food for a little while, I chose not to spoil my appetite by diving head first into a smoothie bowl. However, the ingredients sure made my mouth water: The Matcha Cacao Coconut Porridge Bowl was bursting with delicious ingredients, an almond milk porridge topped with cacao nibs, Matcha ice cream, a cacao crumble and popped quinoa. They offered a Nordic Spice bowl, brimming with turmeric, ginger and cardamom to name a few, a sure way to cure any sniffle or cold that may be brewing. For those with a more savoury palette, avocado on toast with chilli was on the menu as well as a beetroot and quinoa dish. All were very reasonably priced between £5-7, a bargain for a meal packed full of nature’s goodness. I will definitely be revisiting!
Camden Street Food Market
Before I knew it, the hunger pangs began to strike. Back on the Northern Line I went in the direction of Camden Town. Camden Lock has an array of delicious foods to satisfy any craving. Amongst the Vintage clothing stalls and the second-hand records, you are bombarded with Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisine, suiting the tastebuds of those who like a more oriental and fast food type of lunch. However, for the more unique of experiences, head over to Solomon’s Yard where you will find a collection of pop up food stalls that cover all types of cuisine. From Japanese to Mexican and Persian to Indian, you are never lost for choice.
Being a lover of Falafel, I chose to transport my senses to Lebanon and Egypt for a middle eastern take on this delectable wrap. Packed with pickled cabbage, pickles, olives, hummus, tahini and of course sesame coasted falafel pieces, this wrap was heavenly. With Vegan friendly options (Ask for no Feta) and Gluten-Free alternatives (without the wrap), this little stand never failed to deliver. Brimming with herbs and spices, this £6 delicacy will keep you full until dinner time with little room to spare.
Campbell’s Canal Cafe
Formally Camden’s InSpiral Lounge, Campbell’s Canal Cafe is situated right on the canal. Offering a wide range of dairy-free milks, fresh smoothies, raw treats and a large day and evening menu, this is a place I can never seem to pass by.
The smoothies and raw juices are packed full of superfoods, stealing the hearts of berry and banana lovers alike, mixed with dates, nut milks and vitamin packed powders. The energy balls are a great mid afternoon pick me up, coated in cacao, sesame seeds and oozing with fresh dates. I chose to indulge in another caffeine fix, a hemp milk ice latte which was refreshing and moorish. Accompanied by Matt Haig’s incredible best seller ‘Reasons To Stay Alive’, I was set for the afternoon.
Wholefoods Market: Camden
For any lover of health and wellness, a visit to Wholefoods is a must. Unlike the other stores across London, the Camden branch is rather small. Small seems to still pack a punch in terms of variety, with many fresh treats and cupboard essentials to keep my eyes boggling for hours. The fridges are packed with variety upon variety of dairy-free cheeses, yoghurts, milks and of course meat-free alternatives. The dry sector is bursting with superfoods, wholesome granolas and a wide range of pastas that make you question why you ever stuck to the ordinary wheat variety. Rich and organic vegetables are also available to buy as well as creating your own lunch box to take away with you. Although at the pricier end of the health scale, Wholefood’s offers the more obscure and unique cruelty-free ingredients as well as catering for suit carni’s and omni’s alike. I popped in for a browse and left with a Raw Fudge with Vanilla bar from the Raw Chocolate Pie Company. Made from raw coconut oil, Lucuma powder, Ground almonds, Raw agave nectar, and Vanilla essence, this little delight was wholesome and sweet. It is best consumed when chilled as the product can melt a little with quite a distinct taste of vanilla and Lucuma. Once you detract the ‘fudge’ label, you begin to enjoy the bar just that little bit more without making the comparison with the common butter laden kind.
How would you spend a day in London?