London Larder was devised in 2012 to bring you the ultimate eating and drinking guide to London. It was borne out of a need for up-to-date, quantitative and whole-heartedly recommended places to eat and drink.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

42 Raw

Modern European

With Copenhagen leading the way on the culinary front (Noma anyone?) it seems to make sense that slowly the highlights will drift onto our fair shores. 42 Raw is one of the first and, it’s fair to say, one of the most unique.

The concept is easy: nothing is cooked and everything is served is in its natural state (untouched by sugar, dairy, preservatives or colouring). Whilst some of you may have switched off that this point, let us tell you that not a single diner at 42Raw was spotted in hemp clothing or Birkenstocks. This is not dining for the ‘peace and love’ types (although we’re sure they are most welcome). This is a sophisticated design-led health movement, and who can argue with that.

On the day of our visit the sun was shining (rare) and the city of London was in a good mood (rarer). It also seemed like the whole city had headed to this healthy eating establishment for their precious hour lunch break as 42Raw was packed. Or perhaps it was just the fact that 42Raw offers ample outdoor seating making it a prime location to soak up some rays.

We opted to try the lasagne, avocado sandwich and the Thai noodles. The lasagne was a real winner in the flavour stakes, made with courgette strips (instead of pasta), tomato and walnut sauce, parsley, pesto, a cashew sauce instead of the b├ęchamel and baby spinach. All flavours complimented each other perfectly and the dish was light and ideal for a warm sunny day. The avocado sandwich was almost as good with the crushed avocado, tomatoes and sweet red onions: a match made in heaven. We were informed that the raw bread is made by rehydrating the seeds and nuts - a common technique in the raw food movement. The only negative here is that it’s near on impossible to eat the bread with the plastic cutlery on offer.

The Thai noodles, although very delicately flavoured with peanut and coconut and by no means unpleasant, were our least favourite due them tasting that little bit too ‘raw’. ‘It’s a raw food establishment’, we hear you cry, but by using mixed textures in the other dishes (sauces, slices and crushed) the food tastes completely different, almost cooked even (in the case of the lasagne) but the noodles are simply cut vegetable strips and became dull after a few mouthfuls.

In addition to the food, juices are a large part of the menu at 42Raw. Completely fresh, there’s not a bad word to say about them (a fresh juice is a fresh juice after all, how far can you take it?) but worth trying is the cocoa and date smoothie: like a chocolate milkshake only thicker and could (just!) be placed in the healthy category.

For something sweet afterwards we sampled the vanilla cookie, made using raisins, seeds, cocoa and other little bits. The cookie was good but could never be the alternative to a good old fashioned chocolate chip cookie warm from the oven. There’s also a jar of energy balls on the counter, which contain lots of energy boosting ingredients and superfoods, and although energy boosting we don’t think they’re quite right for dessert. Perhaps one to take away for the mid-afternoon lull or pre a workout is the best idea.

Overall, 42Raw is a good destination for guilt free eating at reasonable prices, and for that reason we recommend you try it, even if you just go for the cocoa and date smoothie.
6 Burlington Gardens, W1S
Average price for a main: £6.50
Average price for a smoothie: £4.50
Food/Drink: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Vaue: 4/5

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