I’m so stoked to be back in London town, but one thing I’ve been dying to have is one of those yummy, fresh Sydney style smoothies I used to get on my way to Coogee beach back in Sydney. Enter Essence Cuisine, in Shoreditch’s Leonard Street, which has now become my go-to smoothie and raw, vegan food spot.
I discovered Essence Cuisine on a warmish September day and I’ve been coming back even with the Winter cold. At the time, I needed to prep for a meeting in which I had to discuss my PhD proposal with my supervisor, but I just couldn’t face going over it again in my room, so I put on a leotard and walked around my favourite bits of East London to look for a café to read in. Enter Essence, where everything – from coffees to desserts – is vegan.
Aside from a lovely vegan flat white, I went for the Tropical Dragon Fruit smoothie (£4.50), made with pitaya, mango, coconut water and pineapple. It’s light, fresh and sweet but it doesn’t leave any dizziness or heaviness in your stomach afterwards like many overly sugary smoothies do. Sure, for that price in Sydney I would’ve gotten a double smoothie, but it’s London we’re talking about here.
Nested in the quiet Leonard Street just off Great Eastern Street, Essence Cuisine is a quiet space to drop in with a book or, in my case, to get my head around my research. Although the menu is very “Aussie healthy” – with raw parfait, pancakes and chocolate, salads, vegan lasagna and dairy-free cheeseboards – the interiors is very Shoreditch. Industrial, techy and well-lit, Essence faces the street art and never-ending construction site that is East London.
Sure, smoothies in Australia can be cheaper, but for London standards you can get away with a breakfast not costing more than £10 and a lunch just over that. In short, if you’re looking for an unusual lunch or coffee spot that doesn’t break the bank or hurt animals, Essence is the place.
Pictures: Carolina Are