Review: Elan Cafe London: The Cafe That Took Instagram by Storm
Exploring the Cafe that Took Instagram by Storm: Elan Cafe London Review
As the England capital brims with great brews, I could not have been more excited to visit something different, which is Elan Cafe during my trip to London in the weekend. After seeing this coffee shop plastered all over my Instagram, this beauty was first on my list, and I had high expectations.
What is Elan Cafe?
In an attempt to combine health, beauty, food and interior design all in one, Elan Cafe was born in August 2017 to showcase both style and substance together. Elan Cafe is truly a blogger’s dream. Vintage bicycles, flower walls, marble tables – Elan Cafe was nothing like I had ever seen before. A cafe that was every bit as gorgeous as it looks in the photos. Founded by Alexandra Miller, the cafe has a wide variety of dishes that caters to the vegan and gluten-free. Cafe labelled ‘the most Instagrammable cafe in London’ opened it’s the first branch in Mayfair back in August of 2017, and 3 months later following great success opened the second branch on Brompton Road, in Knightsbridge.
Of course, what makes Elan Cafe so unique was the decor. Stunning floral decorations, contemporary pink chairs, a pink blossom tree branching over the cafe, an aesthetic that makes you want to kick yourself for leaving your DSLR at home.
The Food at Cafe Elan
After a long day, my partner and I wanted something a little more than tea and cakes, so we opted to go for something a little heavier. He ordered a Spiced up shepherd’s pie, and I ordered a Burford brown which is practically an eggs, Benedict. To drink, we ordered a Turkish coffee, a watermelon iced tea and also a mint hot chocolate. The drinks were very average in my opinion. For a £7.50 Turkish coffee, I expected to be blown away, but when my partner asked me how my coffee was, I couldn’t say anything more than a flat “yeah, it’s alright” because that’s exactly what it was. Alright.
The Burford Brown was a little better. Beautifully presented and the egg was as runny as an egg should be. The hollandaise sauce lacked a little bit of flavour and character, but it wasn’t something I couldn’t live with.
The shepherd’s pie, on the other hand, was just a disaster. We knew there’d be sweet potato mash within the dish, but we didn’t know there’d be so much of it! The tray was filled with sweet potato mash with very little meat. But the lack of meat wasn’t the issue. The issue we had was an overpowering taste of the mash. It was sweeter than eating a jar full of sugar in one go. Sweet and incredibly sickly. It just didn’t work, and we failed to understand why this dish made it to the menu. Bite after bite; my partner held his breathe and attempt to finish the meal, just because of how expensive this plate was. He struggled in his attempt, which meant I had to go in and offer a helping hand. Both of us together…we still failed to finish that one tray.
At least we had that average glass of Turkish coffee to rinse it down.
‘Busy’ is the only possible word that you can describe Elan Cafe. Staff running around, rushed off their feet, bloggers standing around waiting to get a shot with the flower wall while the bloggers sat right in front of the flower wall snapped thousands of pictures of one another for hours on end. Gaining fame and exposure through Instagram is an excellent strategy for the cafe to have but putting the flower wall in a tiny bit of space meant there were bunches of people standing around and hovering over my table while I tried to eat. I wanted to love Elan Cafe and the atmosphere of that the beautiful decor brings but I felt a little let down by it all.
The Service at Elan Cafe
The service at Elan Cafe was the biggest disappointment of the whole experience by far. We arrived at the Knightsbridge cafe at 2.30 pm, saw a long queue of people outside so decided to come back a little later in the evening to avoid the wait. Around came 5 pm and we headed back to the cafe for a second attempt of a table. Yet again, a queue of people waiting outside but this time, we decided to wait it out to see what the fuss was about. After twenty to thirty minutes of staying in the cold and rain, we reached the door and stepped foot inside where it was at least a tad bit warmer. The waitress at the door looked at us and asked: “can I help you?”. I responded “no, thank you. We’re just waiting for a table. A waitress has already taken our names.” The waitress looked at us with complete disgust “okay. So you need to be waiting outside.” With a little more attitude on the ‘outside’ and an added eye-rolling to follow. And with that, she pointed her finger and sent us outside. Myself and my partner were mortified. The pleasant feeling you got in the beautiful surroundings of the cafe was entirely unmatched for the service you received before you even managed to get a table.
Luckily throughout the night, we were served by a waiter a little more pleasant. However, my partner found the experience hard to enjoy after being so pissed off about the waitress. It shows that one bad event could change your entire perception of the cafe and the experience as a whole.
The Cheque Out
We went into this cafe knowing what sort of price we’d be paying for our food. But whether the food was worth the price was a whole other story. The total bill amounted to approximately £50.00 for two people. Considering this is a cafe and also taking into consideration that this is London, I’d say this is still quite pricey. And I could also see the look on my partner’s face after he paid the bill, knowing full well that he didn’t enjoy his food and now even more so the price he had to pay for it. I’m not sure that I can say that the quality of food is worth the price, but I assume that the pricing strategy is purely based off a nice setting. But that shouldn’t be the case. I’m sure I’d be able to get a better cafe experience elsewhere for a price worth paying or even lower.
Elan Cafe Bottom Line
In all honesty, I have mixed feelings towards Cafe Elan. If you’ve never been and thinking about going, I would 100% recommend the experience. The cafe is simply beautiful and something a little different to your usual coffee tables and chairs. However, if you asked me if I would choose to go a second time; probably not. It’s great as a one time experience, but the queue, combined with the merely average standard of food and the service is personally just not worth it. I think the owner has a great USP set out, perfect for all the bloggers out there but to me, Cafe Elan is just a pretty face. But in life, you can only get so far with a pretty face and no substance.
- Beautiful decor
- Accessible location
- Poor standard of service
- Not the greatest tasting of food
- Unbelievably expensive for what it is
- Long queues throughout the day
Elan Cafe Details
Frequently Asked Questions
Elan Cafe in Knightsbridge is the location with the flower wall. Although, Elan Cafe can also now be known as EL&N.
The designers of Elan Cafe is Holland Harvey Architects.
No, it’s a pretty casual cafe however decor is pretty nice and done up so I’m sure you’ll want to be taking photos here so can’t hurt to dress up for the shot!
Best Time to Visit London
- Best times for shopping: All the best sales in London happen mid-June to late July due to its summer sales. If you haven’t heard of Harrods, you may want to look it up. It’s a department store that’s not to miss if you visit London for the first time. Incredibly luxurious, you could spend hours in Harrods, and guarantee that you’ll get lost, it’s that big. Yes, mid-June to July means summer holidays and more expensive airfares, so the next alternative is visiting London in January where all the January sales happen. You could save a lot of money across the board, with cheaper airfares, cheaper accommodation and bargains left, right and centre. If you’re looking for an all-year-round sale, consider heading North of London to Bicester Village. Bicester is a luxury outlet centre that has all your luxury brands from Gucci and Fendi to Burberry and Prada. It’s also where Kate Middleton is known to shop.
- Best times for galleries and museums: The galleries and museums in London tend to be quietest during January and February so you can be sure to avoid the long waits and queues to get in. Many museums and galleries also offer later visiting hours at least once or twice a week too so this gives you a chance to visit these attractions in a quieter setting; avoiding the daytime crowds.
- The higher seasons:London is heavily touristed during the months from June to September when kids are off school and climates are a lot better, but this is probably a given. Not to mention December when there’s a rush of seasonal shoppers and festive activities happening. So if you’re planning a trip during these months, expect peak airline prices, long lines and booked hotels so plan your trip early and book well in advance.
- The lower seasons:London’s quieter seasons tend to lie in January and February where you can expect cooler temperatures (and when I say more relaxed, I mean quite cold) and a substantial drop in tourism levels. Those who don’t mind the colder climates and wants to experience London life then these may be the best months, but make sure you pack warm clothes and an umbrella for the wetter days.
Stay in Touch
Join imjoeyt.com for VIP front row access to exclusive content, regular giveaways & so much more!