As I've mentioned before, I'm not vegan or even vegetarian. But I do like to try a lot food that is... mostly because I'm intrigued by new ways of using ingredients and flavours, and because it's often a healthier alternative.
I was therefore quite excited to spot that a raw food cafe, 42°Raw, had opened in the back of the Royal Academy of Arts, and popped in to pick up some lunch last week.
You might not spot the cafe unless you know it's there, and you have to go into the back entrance of the Royal Academy to find it. But you don't have to look at any art (unless you want to).
I had the raw lasagne.
It's made of 'squash, tomato sauce, walnuts, parsley pesto, cashew creme, and baby spinach'. There were also definitely slices of courgette, some garlic, and sunflower seeds involved.
Obviously, it didn't taste like traditional lasagne. But it was amazingly flavoursome, definitely reminiscent of the concept of lasagne, and a clear improvement on a boring salad.
In the spirit of adventurousness (not greed, of course) I also tried a piece of the chocolate cake.
It was more like a mousse cake than a sponge - you couldn't eat it (tidily) with your fingers. Apparently it's made of 'cashews, dates, cacao butter and cacao powder', but there were definitely also more seeds and things in the crust.
Very good. I doubt it would count as a health food, but definitely better for you than the traditional version, and tasted just as rich and chocolatey.
So, if you happen to be sauntering along Burlington Gardens and have Pret-Fatigue I'd suggest this place as an interesting alternative. And you can eat cake and feel sort of virtuous.