Urban Eats (Holborn, London)

I'm still slightly mourning the loss of Saf. Yes, it was expensive. No, not every dish they made worked. On the whole though they created flavours and textures I've not experienced either before or since.

I've tried Aloka's raw restaurant and Cafe Gratitude in Cupertino, as well as various attempts at raw dishes by places like Manna V. Some sweet things have worked (Aloka's cheesecake is to die for) but none have come close at creating savoury food that actually tastes like its cooked - or at least processed to the point where it's not obviously a bunch of raw ingredients mashed together. In November last year I met up with Sash and Mits to try a new raw place in London - Wild Foods Cafe in Covent Garden. See Mits' review here for pictures of what can only be described as sliced raw vegetables in orange juice - yuck!

I didn't have high hopes for Urban Eats, but was pleasantly surprised.

Location's good - a nice looking street with plenty of other cafes, 5 minute walk from Holborn tube. When I visited on Wednesday lunch time I was pleased to see a stream of other customers both eating in and getting takeaway.

Everything on the menu is vegetarian, many vegan. Confusingly though items containing honey are marked as vegan. Whilst I realise that some "vegans" eat honey, almost all I've met don't, including the Vegan Society's definition. It'd be good if the menu could be made clearer.

Not all menu items are always available - those that are are in a small chiller next to the counter. It's not obvious which are which or what a plate of food looks like. The front of house staff were friendly, but I had some difficulty trying to figure out what it was I was ordering. The one lady who did seem to know about the items (who I assume is the owner/chef) disappeared into the back before I got a chance to ask.

Hopefully everything I ate contained agave not actual honey.....

Eventually I settled for raw lasagne and a smoothie, followed by a couple of desserts (I'm greedy like that):
Raw Vegetable Lasagne £4.80
served with salad and bread
This is a delicious raw vegan lasagne bursting with flavour from the sundried tomato and macadamia cheese. (R)(G)(W)(D)(S)(V)

Minty Fresh £3
Bananas, Cucumber, Basil, Fresh Mint, Peaches and Apple. Great smoothie with soothing qualities which protect and heal the stomach lining. (G)(V)(R)

Marbled Chocolate & Orange Tavoletta (R)(V)(G) £2

Unbaked Mint Avocado Layer Chocolate Cake (R)(V)(G) £2
This cake is full of omegas, potassium and fibre.
Cheap prices! I can't remember the last time a dessert cost less than £4. I'm not complaining, but given the location I think they could afford to up the prices slightly without scaring away any custom.

First impressions very good - the £4.80 lasagne tasted as good as Saf's £15 attempt! The cheese part was moist and had the flavour / texture of grainy cottage cheese (or at least what I remember it as, it's been a while). The other ingredients were all tasty and worked together. Seriously delicious.

The salad size was extremely generous (but again well dressed), it also came with a couple of slices of "bread":

which I really didn't like at all (I love real bread too much).

I'll definitely order the lasagne again - I look forward to trying other options. The smoothie was good too (I know I use the word good too often and should learn to use a thesaurus).

Dessert a mixed bag. The upper part of the torte/cheesecake was as good as Aloka's:

Really smooth and no sign that it was raw whatsoever. Raw or cooked; a steal at £2!

The base however is what gave it away as being raw - it had that unmistakable texture and taste of raw ingredients mashed together.

The chocolate mint cake looked and sounded good: (there's that word again)
Unfortunately it didn't taste good, at all. I'm not afraid of avocado in sweet dishes - I know it works perfectly well in chocolate mousse. I couldn't eat more than a few mouthfuls of this cake though. It seemed to have been partially defrosted, with big ice crystals still in it. Not to my taste at all :/

Though I ended on a low note, my overall impression of Urban Eats is very positive.

Three out of the four things I had I'd order again, two were exceptionally good and far too underpriced!

I'm really looking forward to revisiting and trying other things :-)


  1. Anonymous said...:

    I hear Urban Eats has closed down (announced on Facebook and Twitter, not website).

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