Elan Cafe: A Blooming Good Treat
We decided to do something a little bit different after a tickled pink trip to London ended with a lovely visit to the brand new Elan Cafe venue in Hans Crescent, set just a short walk away from Knightsbridge Station. Whether you’re planning on travelling to the capital for a weekend of culture, planning a catch-up, or are just intrigued by the flowery Instagram sensation, be sure to read on for our review of the fuchsia food extravaganza with recommended nibbles, lattes, and some tips for a fab day out while you’re in town!
London’s Most Instagrammable Cafe
Set in the luxury district of Knightsbridge, Elan Cafe’s fifth location offers a fantastic floral getaway for guests to duck into and escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. After a busy morning of exploring the grandeur of the Natural History Museum, perusing the shelves of Harrods, and maybe treating yourself to a splurge or two in one of the designer stores of the area, there’s nothing more refreshing than stepping foot into the sprawling pink wonderland of sweet, pastel-coloured treats - except, maybe, their fabulous salted caramel hot chocolate. Unlike in those viral Instagram vs real life posts, the reality of Elan Cafe really is as gorgeous as it appears on social media! This is a must-see for all budding photographers or those looking to snap a quick pic for their social media pages before tucking into some delicious food, a greatly refreshing pit-stop for everyone who appreciates the little details of an aesthetically pleasing restaurant.
As you walk in you’ll be greeted by a sparkly pink sign bearing the cafe’s name which sits above the staff counter that you’ll approach to request a table. While you wait, be sure to check out the shelves filled with scrumptious bakery goods - from the stacks of pink raspberry croissants to the creamy cupcakes, they’re sure to get your taste buds tingling with anticipation! To the right is a floor-to-ceiling floral wall that invites guests to the lower level where the more famous Instagram pictures are taken. There’s a cute bicycle there for you to take a photo beside, and the wall makes for a gorgeous backdrop! There isn’t a tremendous amount of space here for people to wait and, with no seating area to take to while you wait, seeing the cafe through the lens of your phone camera is the best way to occupy yourself. We asked for a menu to peruse so we’d be ready to order by the time we were seated.
We were taken to a table fairly quickly - which was surprising as we were fully expecting to be waiting around for a while given how popular the venue is for locals and tourists alike, not that we would have minded; the cafe is so pretty you can’t help but happily soak it all in. The staff were tremendous and our lovely server seemed excited to be there, with her colleagues snapping pics for other guests to get the perfect pose captured. Overall, the experience was very customer-focused. The small details of Elan Cafe are what makes it stand out the most, in our opinion; everything from our ornately designed rose-gold marble table to the pastel-coloured tableware, even including the tailor-made paper straws bearing the cafe’s logo - it was all perfectly fitting with the delicate theme they set out to create.
Is Elan Cafe Worth the Hype?
Let’s be honest; a pretty cafe is nothing without a good menu. We were really curious to see how the food was - is it all looks and no substance, or is it a well-rounded rarity that offers a great experience for foodies and fashionistas alike? Elan Cafe’s menu does differ slightly between the different locations; Hans Crescent isn’t their biggest venue and is the newest so some plates aren’t available here, like the small plates option available in a few of the others. This would be a nice addition as they develop the cafe, but there are so many dishes on offer there’s bound to be something for everyone, so we can’t be mad at that.
The standard coffees are a little above average London prices, ranging from £3.20 for an espresso to £4.80 for a mocha, however, this is in the very high-end area of Knightsbridge and is often a hot spot for people after a day of exploring the luxury stores of Brompton Road. There are other venues, such as the one in Market Place, that offer slightly cheaper coffees if you just wanted to drop in for coffee and a cake on a budget. If you want to splash out and soak in all the tastes of Elan Cafe then there are some other great luxury coffee options that are ambrosia for the sweet-toothed among us; these are labelled as the EL&N Expressions.
We each decided on an iced freddo latte and I opted for a shot of caramel because we all know the best freddo is the caramel version, don't we? These came to £5.80 each, which is fairly pricey - but it was gorgeously decadent enough for me to not mind. I was entranced by the lucky charms latte, though, and if I get the chance to go back I might have to treat myself to a glass; it comes with some of the actual cereal for you to scoop out and have a nibble on while you wait for your food. Quirky, right? If a picture-perfect meal is on the agenda, our server recommended the velvet latte which is vibrantly pink and looks so good it doesn’t even need a filter.
We turned up for our meal at brunch time, so we were each torn between ordering a breakfast meal or lunch. I ordered the breakfast dish at £15, which sounds really vague, but it was the full works! It came with a poached egg, beetroot hummus, avocado, dukkah flatbread, and some tasty extras. There’s the option to add in salmon for £3.95 extra, but the original version was more than enough for me. My lunch companion ordered perhaps the most famous food item on the menu: the red shakshuka, which I had serious food envy over by the time it arrived. If you’re unfamiliar with the dish, it’s a flavourful meal comprised of baked eggs with a red pepper and tomato sauce and has minimal spice, so it’s a great meal even for those with sensitive taste buds; Elan served it up with hummus, flatbread, pomegranate, and some moreish feta cheese. Throw in some extra greens for £3.25 and you’ll have an extra side of courgette and aubergine.
I was pleasantly surprised by how palatable it was! For a while, I forgot that it was a chain cafe; the tastes and flavours seemed strikingly homemade and prepared with love, like a home cooked meal with the whole family. There was a great amount of substance to the food, too, so very unlike those upper-crust restaurants that serve up minimal portions - you get what you pay for at Elan Cafe. If we return, I’ll definitely be checking out the desserts; those strawberry cakes were calling my name, but we were pressed for time on this visit. Don’t be shy of asking your server for a recommendation, they know the menu better than anyone, and they seem genuinely happy to offer a helping hand - whether that’s by taking photos or giving some food advice to new customers.
Pink Casino Verdict
5/5 cherries! There are lots of customers taking photos constantly, but you’ll be doing it yourself so it’s hard to be upset about it. There’s a relaxed buzz about the place that has given this floral cafe chain a brilliant reputation for gorgeous aesthetics and atmosphere; no wonder people keep flocking to all the different locations! This is a great drop-in during a weekend away in the capital, and it makes for a gorgeous date destination and a brilliant place to catch up with friends over an interesting latte concoction.