On a chilly February Sunday, I went to Primark and bought myself a mermaid throw, convinced by a morning spent walking around Soho in the cold winter air. All this mermaid business left me feeling pinker than my usual death metal self, so I hopped on the 55 from Tottenham Court Road to Hackney and decided to finally try the food and coffee at the vegetarian café Palm Vaults.
The first things I noticed as soon as I walked into Palm Vaults were a pink explosion and a queue. Five people ahead of me and a packed café meant waiting, possibly for half an hour. I had nothing to do on that day because it was one of my few days off pole and I have no boyfriends, girlfriends or cats to feed, so I decided to wait around. It was the right decision.
Shortly after I began queueing, one of the waitresses, a ridiculously pretty girl with a short bright orange bob and officially my favourite person ever, came back with rich, thick and juicy salted caramel brownie bites for us poor sods left in the queue. The wait wasn’t a surprise: Palm Vaults is picture perfect, mostly healthy, featuring many gluten-free and vegan options on the menu, and it even has its own merchandise. Although waiting is always annoying, it turned out to be a good opportunity for people watching. Half the patrons were fashion bloggers or Instagrammers, wrapped in trendy coats and armed with Canons way bigger than mine, chatting stuff like “Oh, right, and then the week after is Fashion Week!” loud enough for everyone to hear. The rest of us were normal people flexing on the Gram like, hey.
Suddenly two bloggers vacated their table and voilà, it was my turn to sit down. I made my way to my table for one, as the others queuing behind me no doubt thought: “Can’t this bitch just order take-away, no more of this solo dining bullshit!” in horror.
The Food at Palm Vaults
Mara the waitress looked after me helping me choose among the equally appealing coffee and smoothie bowl options the menu had to offer. First up was a lavender latte (£3.50 if you eat in). Having tried the rose latte at AIDA Shoreditch, I just figured it was going to be some coffee-free, lavender coloured pretty nonsense, but boy was I wrong. Palm Vault’s lavender latte is a proper latte, with Allpress coffee and everything. Except that it adds the house’s lavender syrup and steamed Oat Milk to the mix. The latte comes with latte art and dried lavender on top. You can smell it even before it reaches your table and drinking it is like sipping coffee while walking on a lavender field: the perfect treat when your hands are freezing.
I felt a little hungry after my walk so I decided to go for a smoothie bowl. I picked the Unleash The Dragon bowl (£8) under Mara’s suggestion, although I had already made up my mind because it sounded like Trivium’s Becoming The Dragon and if I liked the song, I was sure I’d like the smoothie bowl too. Made with dragonfruit, mango, banana, mint, passion fruit and coconut milk, the bowl had nothing to envy to the ones I used to have on Coogee Beach back during my Sydney days. Smooth, thick and decorated with cute little designs, it was the cherry on top to an already wonderful morning.
Although it is an Instagrammer’s paradise and it does come with all the annoyances of this kind, Palm Vaults is a café worth queuing for. Not only their food is unique and tasty, but the atmosphere is relaxed and the staff goes above and beyond to make you feel at home. You can really tell they’re having fun working there, which translate in their behaviour with customers. Plus, as I was queuing for the toilet (which is also pink) I heard the staff in the kitchen making RuPaul’s Drag Race jokes, yet another incentive for me to sissy my walk back.
Palm Vaults is one of those places that remind me why I love writing reviews. As if this wasn’t enough, it’s dog-friendly and they have a no-laptop, no business bullshit policy which to me is a winner. I walked back home all happy and ready to throw myself into my new mermaid blanket, ’cause it was one of those days.