EIGHT THINGS ABOUT THE ÉLAN CAFE
Unless you’re on Instagram A BLOOMIN’ LOT, or are in the business of being an influencer or a fashion blogger, then you may not have heard of the Élan cafe until now. Allow me to tell you more because it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in London town.
Probably one of the prettiest little places to mooch in right now, I couldn’t possibly write about it without this initial warning …
Élan is a very popular hang out for the fashionistas-bloggers-selfie-takers-and-candlestick-makers!
Along with the Peggy Porchen Parlour in Belgravia (with its candy floss, fairytale pink-everything-interiors) Élan is a stunning, visual dream which makes sense why I first came across (both) these places over on Instagram.
However, work and meetings in the big smoke never really mean hanging out in the Knightsbridge or Chelsea area (they are mainly W1 central) so, I would happily view the floral and pink prettiness vicariously via social media.
That is until I recently discovered that as well as a venue in SW3 – there’s also one in Mayfair, too!
I stumbled on this (slightly quieter) venue when attending a luxury lingerie press event at The Dorchester hotel and spotted the little (and original) Élan cafe directly opposite.
Now, I realise that ENTIRE last paragraph might make me sound like an utter wanker but please BEAR with! (Sorry – this typo makes sense with point no.4).
I’m a freelance stylist and writer (ex-Fashion & Beauty Editor) so I do attend lots of (s)wanky events and showcases, usually held in London hotel suites, spas and the such and of course it’s ruddy amazing! I’m not going to lie. But then it’s usually a mad rush home on a typically delayed overground train to do the school pick-up. Then it’s on with the ‘jamas and a pack of *Wotsits with the youngest while watching back-to-back Mr. Sherman and Peabody on Netflix before homework and dinner.
Why am I telling you this?
Because it’s all about balance, innit! Life can look and be pretty but rest-assured, mine is very on-the-level too, innit! (*if not, then Aldi’s versions of Skips. But two packets, thanks!)
Anyway, back to Élan and my eight things…
1 THE WAITING GAME
Be prepared to wait. When I say wait, it could be 30minutes, possibly more on the weekends. When I went last, it was a bitterly cold day, mid-week and people were being asked to wait outside as the actual inside area is TEENY and there isn’t anywhere to hang out until you can be seated. Bummer.
2 THE FLOWERS
What makes the Instagram crew and influencers flock to this cafe is the decor – without a doubt. The attention to detail from the marble top bistro tables and vintage pink seating is a visual feast. However, the main deal is the ceiling to floor floral displays. Watch out for that selfie-stick!
3 THE GRUB
Onto the food. Now, I didn’t stop for lunch, so can’t really comment other than what I saw being brought out looked delicious! What I did taste, were the puds! Oh boy, so many desserts and again the attention to detail is stunning. Too good to eat? Nah! ENJOY!
4 TEDDY BEAR LATTE
There are baristas and then there are BEARISTAS, INNIT! OK, enough of the bear jokes but come on – how cute is this? Is it just me? I’m a massive Sanrio/Hello Kitty, cute character, novelty phone case kinda person, so maybe it is just me, but this teddy latte totally won me over. However, what is no joke, is how much pride Élan do take over their coffees and not just in taste and teddy bear faces but in their passion to source sustainable and ethical businesses too. Working closely with Union coffee roasters – the first roasters in Britain to source coffee beans directly from the farmers – they control every step of the process – supporting smallholder farms in 13 countries globally, to hand-roasting the beans in east London.
5 SPANISH LATTE AND RED VELVET CAKE
The coffee is not cheap – £7.50 for a Spanish Latte – but OH MY GAWD, it is heavenly! If you like your latte sweet this is effectively an espresso with milk but then with an extra whip of sweetened condensed milk too. I want this on an IV drip, please! FOREVER! Plus the red velvet cake made the perfect pairing.
6 TOP TABLE
You can’t pre-book but the best table in their Park Lane cafe is downstairs. Now I will admit that it was pretty awesome to get this prime spot after a 20 minute or so wait (mid-week, lunchtime) however, there is a downside – EVERYONE will want to take a picture of it – even with YOU IN IT! I personally found that bizarre to say the least! One group even asked us to move momentarily just so that they could jump in a take a few snaps. BONKERS! Bagging this table was brilliant but I certainly wouldn’t have the balls (or the need) to do any of the above, would you?
7 HOW MUCH?
It’s not Costa Coffee prices. It isn’t cheap but it’s a bit like going to any posh pit stop – and don’t forget you’re on Park Lane – it’s not going to suit everyones budget, granted. I worked out that if you were to eat a light lunch, have a cake and coffee, you’re looking at approximately £30 per head. Definitely a treat, innit?!
8 THE CROWD
Considering how busy the Élan cafe is and that a good portion of it’s passing trade will take out a mobile phone to photograph and document their visit (guilty!) I thought the service was great. The staff must have seen some sights and many could probably charge for the amount of photos they’ve taken! Plus, having to keep an orderly line of potential customers interested and calm was personally, SO exhausting to observe – so credit where it’s due.
I really enjoyed Élan and will likely return when I’m in the area again for coffee and a bite…
There’s a real global, digital buzz about the place, yet it’s still confined within a very small and intimate setting.
It’s a bit like discovering a secret spot in the city, something a little bit more exclusive rather than a regular hub to hang-out in plus I really want to take Mr. Husband so he can try the Spanish Latte. He’s pretty militant about his coffee but I’m not so sure he could stomach the selfie-action…?