"Healthy food of gourmet standard"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
The closure of Saf’s Shoreditch branch left just one restaurant offering gourmet dishes of the kind you never thought possible to be made from raw food: their outpost at Whole Foods in High Street Kensington. Step up Down to Earth, formerly Luscious Organic, a cafe, deli and health food shop rolled into one that happens to be located on the same street.
The eatery looks more smart bistro than health store, if it wasn’t for the shelves stocked with skincare products, organic teas and deli items. During the lunchtime we visit a steady stream of yummy mummies and lone customers with laptops pop in for a meal; there is food to take away too, and there are plans to start opening in the evenings for dinner.
As befitting a healthy eating establishment, there are freshly-made smoothies aplenty. We try the Detox Juice, made with ginger, celery, beetroot and spirulina, a type of seaweed rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, and it tastes exactly how you’d expect a detox drink to taste. More refreshing is the Fennelade, with fennel, apple, pear and lemon, and those with adventurous tastebuds might like the fiery Heart Warmer, made with garlic.
The raw food dishes are elaborate as well as flavoursome, like the lasagne with layers of thinly sliced courgette as the “pasta”, stuffed with Portobello mushroom, rocket pesto and spinach, with an ultra-creamy béchamel sauce made from cashew nuts. A vegetable terrine with stacked layers of fennel, red pepper, mushroom, cashew cream, caramelised onions and rocket has refreshing and earthy flavours, and a tower of chopped courgette and avocado is delicious with a light, zingy dressing. Prices are low, with the lasagne costing £6.50 and the terrine just £5, and dishes are surprisingly filling.
Not everything on the menu is raw. There are soups, like a thick, hearty pumpkin soup with lemongrass and chilli, and a clear Thai green soup with courgettes and crunchy broccoli. There is a fantastic tart with thin, crispy pastry and aromatic mushrooms with truffle oil, available with or without goat’s cheese.
A range of vegan cupcakes and sweets like sticky date cakes with nuts and coconut take the guilt out of dessert for those who watch what they eat. Saf has got some serious competition.
Leila reviewed Down To Earth on Fri 19 Oct 2012