Elan café is one of a group of cafés that seem to be cropping up on every instagrammer’s page, everyone wants a photograph outside these very popular cafés’ beautiful floral installations and I decided I needed to find out what all the fuss was about. It isn’t just cafés and deli’s though, it seems to be all manner of establishments featuring elaborate and colourful flower installations in Belgravia, Mayfair and around Hyde Park. I was curious to find out for myself, so I compiled a list of all the places I wanted to visit this spring and summer to feature on the blog.
On an unusually scorching Thursday last week during what seemed to be a mini-heatwave, I decided it was the perfect day to visit Elan Café which is located opposite one of the most iconic hotel’s in London, the Dorchester in Park Lane – what a fantastic location I thought. Admittedly, Elan Café in Park Lane is smaller than its sister café in Brompton Road but just as pretty and surely the food is just as gorgeous.
With creeping ivy and flowers framing the façade of the café, I knew why this café proves a popular choice with everyone from holiday makers to young girls and bloggers. At 11:30am, the few tables outside were full and with only a couple of tables inside which were also full, I was put on a waiting list, no surprise there. There are tables downstairs too, at the back of the café covering the whole wall, a stunning display of faux flowers in varying shades of pink with stairs leading to more seats. Elan café in Brompton road is apparently quite a bit bigger so when I’m next in the Knightsbridge area, I want to visit just so that I can see how it differs to the one in Park Lane.
The display of cakes in the window is spectacular, from brightly coloured tarts, appetising layer cakes, elaborate French-style patisserie and pastries, it was going to be hard to make a choice as to what cake I would have after my lunch.
I noticed Elan café had Canelé, so I made up my mind I would be having one of those. Canelé is a cork shaped pastry from Bordeaux France which has a caramelised crust and soft middle, the one’s on display had various fillings, salted caramel was calling me. Funnily enough, I have canelé moulds at home because I fancied making them after I read about these delightful French pastries, so I really must have a go at making them.
With the queue growing longer with every passing minute, I was grateful I only had to wait 10 minutes to be seated. The menu was so varied and interesting, I was really confused as to what to eat and drink. I wanted to try a hot as well as a cold drink and I quite fancied the chilli hot chocolate but with the temperature coming up to 80 degrees, it was just way too hot to have a hot drink. I settled on a Spanish latte made with condensed milk. The drinks menu is vast at Elan café, there is all manner of hot and cold coffee and latte’s, unusual hot chocolate like chilli, praline, Aztec and Nutella, there are iced teas, fruit smoothies and juices including ginger shots which is great for a boost of energy, you can also enjoy flowering jasmine tea, frappes and soft drinks. Now what to eat!
Breakfast is served all day at Elan café; would I settle on my go-to avocado on sourdough? Elan switch it up a bit and serve theirs with a choice of salmon, poached egg or feta. You can also choose to have avocado on English muffins with eggs, hollandaise or salmon. Also, on the menu is Shakshouka which I’ve never heard of but it’s essentially a North African/Middle Eastern dish of eggs poached in saucy tomatoes, chilli peppers, spices and onions. There are open flat bread sandwiches and cold sandwiches. All the rage nowadays are breakfast bowls or smoothie bowls and I’ve been making my own for some time now but mine are plain and boring compared to the vibrancy of Elan’s. I decided given the hot weather, I would go for a breakfast bowl, you can have Acai, a tropical bowl or chia porridge with almond milk. The tropical bowl is served with kiwi, watermelon, dragon fruit, goji berries and granola and the porridge are served with blueberry and maple berry, hazelnut and coconut yoghurt, banana, hazelnut and chocolate, that sounded interesting, but I decided to go for the Acai bowl. I was happy with my choice because it was a colourful bowl of frozen smoothie with banana topped with chia seeds and fresh mint, granola plus fresh blueberries, blackberries and raspberries with scatterings of toasted pumpkin seeds and coconut shavings.
First impressions when the waitress brought it over was “wow” because visually, it was stunning, so vibrant and fresh, I was already feeling super healthy. It tasted divine and the perfect accompaniment to my Spanish latte which had a pleasant sweetness because of the unmistakable addition of condensed milk. I decided I would be replicating the smoothie bowl at home, my mistake always is to make the smoothie part too sloppy. I think Elan must make theirs in advance and store it in the freezer. I usually make mine with frozen banana and berries which I have an endless supply of in the freezer, then I blitz it in my Nutribullet with a couple of tablespoons of full fat yoghurt. I think this can be kept in the freezer and softened in the fridge 30 minutes before breakfast.
After having a super healthy breakfast, I felt guilty eating a cake but trust me, that guilt lasted seconds. The Canelé was gorgeous, sticky and almost crispy on the outside and chewy and soft with a little bit of salted caramel in the centre, it’s an unusual cake but I’m hooked already.
When I finished lunch, I went downstairs for a little peek, with more flowers everywhere and delicate pink chairs, it’s a cute set up. So many diners were hovering around the stairs to take photos by the impressive flower installation, I didn’t think I was going to be able to take a photo, but I just about managed it. Before I left, I decided to buy a cake to take away with me to share with my daughter who was at school and couldn’t join me. I chose a slice of gorgeous red velvet cake and because I knew it was so hot outside, I also went for a jasmine and lime iced tea.
I was really impressed by Elan Café, yes, it’s a bit expensive but considering the prime position it holds opposite the Dorchester Hotel where rents and rates must be extortionate, I was happy to pay extra to enjoy delicious food you just don’t find in a local café. I can really see how these cute little coffee shops and deli’s have become a bloggers’ dream.
My bill came to £23.07 including service, my take-way bill was £10 for a slice of cake and an iced tea. For more information on Elan Café, click here.
The menu at Elan Park Lane
Acai bowl, £6.50
Spanish latte, £7.50
Salted Caramel Canelé, £4.50
Red Velvet cake £4.50
Iced Jasmine and lime tea, £5.50
Elan Café (Park Lane)
48 Park Lane
London W1K 1PR
020 7491 8880