Throwing it back to when we were allowed to meet people outside of our household for food, I’d spotted that a new cafe had opened up on Little Clarendon Street, which was a good midway point to meet a friend for lunch. Tree Artisan Cafe talk about a passion for sustainability, and focus on local ingredients and suppliers when it comes to their offering, which of course I’m all for, so I was looking forward to giving it a try.
Vegan options – and they’d called out the fact that it was plural – had been promised to me on the Tree Artisan Cafe website. I was a little disappointed on arrival when there was actually only one vegan sandwich available, the more or less done-to-death combination of falafel and hummus. At £5.95, it was more than I’d typically want to spend on a sandwich to takeaway, particularly as it was half the size of all the other non-vegan sandwiches and baguettes on display in the cabinet. The sandwich was made using a bright pink bun topped with black sesame seeds. I think the beetroot bun is a bit of a gimmick and it didn’t really add anything to the eating experience, although that’s not to say it wasn’t nice bread. In fact, considering my underwhelm when I was forced to order it as the only option, I actually did enjoy the sandwich a lot, and I can only in part put that down to the fact that I was ravenous after a gym workout. Along with the crisp falafel and familiar hummus flavour, there was a decent amount of soft grilled sweet red pepper, and the filling was topped off with the fresh crunch of spinach leaves. It’s not necessarily going to blow your mind, but was a perfectly tasty on-the-go lunch option.
To wash my sandwich down, I’d ordered a green smoothie. Compared to the cost of the sandwich, I thought the smoothie menu was very reasonably priced, and you could expect to pay more at other food establishments. In typical me fashion, I took ages to decide which one to order from the eight or so options on the menu, and ended up asking for a recommendation. The green smoothie was a blend of mostly veggies, with mango added for sweetness. I loved this smoothie, with a generous squeeze of lime making it zingy and refreshing. Even the freezing cold and wind outside didn’t hamper my enjoyment of it.
One thing there were a couple of options for, was cake. My friend and I ordered a slice of each and shared them. I know some people have tried the cafe and there hasn’t been any available at all, so I think it might be a bit hit and miss, but I’d say it’s worth trying them a couple of times to see what they have in. The first cake we tried was the lemon and blueberry, and it was delicious. The sponge was light and soft, and it was sandwiched with just the right amount of buttercream. It was pretty sweet and you wouldn’t want a much larger slice. The other cake on offer was a coffee and walnut sponge. The coffee tasted almost burnt, and to me it was a pretty strong flavour, but my friend (an avid coffee drinker, where I am not) said he couldn’t taste the coffee at all. So mixed opinions about this one, but we both agreed we preferred the lemon.
As me and my friend are from separate households we took our food and found somewhere outside to eat, and the cafe only has a very small seating area in anyway – which was pretty much full when we visited, and felt very warm and cosy. I popped back for a cup of tea to warm myself up later on, and on both visits the staff were really friendly and kind. It must be pretty scary opening up a new food business at this time and I’m keen to support small local independents where I can. If you find yourself in the Jericho area, please do check out the Tree Artisan Cafe for a coffee with oat milk and a cake to go.