What: La Suite West has always had a vegan restaurant but things have taken a sweeter turn as they have replaced it with London’s first vegan French patisserie, Café Forty One. Although there is an emphasis on sweeter foods like afternoon tea and daily pastries, it is still very much a restaurant and has a savoury menu.
New? Café Forty One launched 11th July 2018.
On The Menu: Head Chef Clarisse Flon, a speciality vegan chef, is in charge of the menu which has the likes of Chipotle cheese with caramelised onion chutney and rocket on rye bread and a Brioche roll with cream cheese and smoked carrot ‘salmon’. The pastries change weekly and the tea is complete with raisin and plain scones with homemade berry compote, vegan honey and clotted cream.
The Look: The whole hotel has quite an unwelcoming vibe to it, the hallways are black and doors blend into the walls, so it’s unsurprising that the restaurant is quite bare, some wallpaper or colour (besides the moss green chairs) would really add some life into the room. The terrace on the other hand is lovely, walled with foliage and fairy lights it’s a really nice spot.
What We Ate: I always judge an afternoon tea on how stale the sandwiches are, I’ve tried many that let down whose fillings were let down by dry bread. I did my little touch test on the bread and it felt dry but as soon as I took a bite it didn’t seem dry anymore and all the fillings mixed nicely. My favourite was the brioche roll with cream cheese and clever smoked carrot ‘salmon’ which tasted nothing like salmon but was pretty inventive, I also really liked the BLT with eggplant ‘bacon’ and mayonnaise on sourdough.
I loved the homemade berry jam and actually it was the only strong flavour I could taste as the cream, although it had a nice texture (not too runny) was very mild; the scones were quite firm but were palatable when mixed with the toppings.
What We Drank: No alcohol is served at La Suite West but they did include a glass of non-alcoholic fizz as well as tea. There are also two mocktail options listed alongside the afternoon tea menu (although not included in the price) which are the passion fruit and almond mocktail and my favourite, the super refreshing lychee and vanilla mocktail. There is a slightly longer separate mocktail menu which includes the likes of a strawberry daiquiri and tastes exactly like slurping the inside of a fresh strawberry.
Go With: Whoever you go with just make sure you sit outside.
Where: La Suite West – Hyde Park, 41-51 Inverness Terrace, W2 3JN www.lasuitewest.com
Final Word: I always find with vegan food that no matter how much I eat I never feel uncomfortably full; anything rich in dairy always has me feeling lethargic if I overdo it (which I do) so it was nice to finish the tea feeling perky and ready to continue my afternoon.
Like This? Try These: Beyond Bread, Corinthia, Royal Garden Hotel