Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Travelling Beanie: The Den at Twenty Three, Colchester Review

A humble sized room with a big blackboard, some stalls, tables and a counter is what you see as you enter the modern yet cute cafe of 'The Den at Twenty Three'. As the first and only vegan cafe in Colchester which only opened around 3 months ago, you may think "hmm they're probably quite quiet" but oh no; It was buzzing with people to get their soya latte fix or a burger and a sit down.

On the outside window of the cafe, there are the words "100% plant based" and I LOVE that.
Seriously, I love that simple sentence. Why? Well because it's a much kinder and softer way of saying vegan. It calmly introduces everyone and anyone to plant based food - I mean, it really backs up the idea that you don't have to be labelled a 'vegan' to go into the cafe. Everyone could do with some more plants in their bodies, couldn't they? So by enforcing this title it really just grabs everyone, veg head or not.

I ordered the barbecued chickpea salad and oh my giddy aunts' cotton pyjamas. It was so good, and big! I am so done with cafes that give you, like, half a cereal bowls' amount of salad. Voluptuous, the bowl was filled to the brim of salad leaves, buttery avocado, sweet tomatoes and a zingy, smokey and warm load of chickpeas with this fab barbecue sauce.

The Den offers a plethora of vegan substitutes, like violife cheese, Vbites burgers, soya whip, veggie marshmallows, etc. Personally I'm not a fan of many vegan subs, I'd rather just eat the wholefood stuff only because a) the stuff I've tried before like vegan cheese has tasted gross, b) it's often quite pricey and c) I don't tend to miss those things I gave up when turning vegan, BUT saying that, I tried a bit of my mums' "cheese" and chutney sandwich and is was actually so good - SO good that we bought violife cheese as soon as we got home! And I sometimes crave a proper hazelnut latte with whipped cream or a hot choc with marshmallows so I completely respect these guys for giving the opportunity to not miss out to all.

It was really busy on the day we came, understandably, so we did have to wait a little amount of time but if anything it just made me even more excited for the food which was to arrive! They also gave us free cupcakes at the end which was so thoughtful of them, and they were delicious too. I had half of a chocolate one and half of a bakewell flavoured one - of course the chocolate was my favourite, but they were both gorgeous.


We went back, oh yeeeaaaaah. This was quite a lot later in time, and the reason I hadn't posted this blog post was because I thought mum wanted to write something but she got a tad busy with work (sorry The Den!).
The second experience was even better, probably because I was hungrier, or maybe just because I had got even MORE excited about going back. This time, I ordered a Messy Mexican Burger with avocado and it was so good! Literally, delicious - it was the perfect balance of a healthy meal and a  bit of a treat. Afterwards, I got some chocolate icecream and a big slab of watermelon (which Jen really kindly gave for free because it had been sitting in the fridge for a bit, nevertheless it was still super tasty) - the perfect Summer's day meal.

Please check out The Den at Twenty Three, whether you're plant based or not - you're guaranteed to have a lovely time and a very, VERY happy belly.

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