What is Wild Food Cafe?
Wild Food Cafe offers a vegan, gluten-free, organic and raw-centric menu in a bright & buzzy 1st floor location overlooking Neals Yard in Covent Garden, London.
Everything about Wild Food Cafe is bursting with vibrant colour from the exterior, to the menu itself, the food, even the restroom doors. Many of the dishes are rainbows on a plate that look custom designed for Instagram greatness. When you visit, be prepared to desire after every dish en route to being served to fellow diners.
Wild Food Cafe Venue, Dining in Style?
Most seating is at long communal tables. This reminds me strongly of yoga retreats where meals are happy social events. Food paired with conversation and laughter. Be in the right mood with the right company, or eating singly, and the lively, open atmosphere is therefore a big positive. There *are* also some high chairs at the kitchen bar at which you could eat whilst watching food being prepared and a few 4 seater tables. So you can dine here as a single, couple or small group.
Water carafes are kept on each table and constantly refilled. I *really* like this. No need to order, pay for and wait for water here.
Reservations are taken only for groups of 10+ with all others being walk-in. This place is popular & at any busy time this *will* mean a queue to be seated, potentially a long one.
On both occasions I have visited a dedicated host has greeted me with a big friendly smile, answered my questions about allergens & given me a choice of where to sit. Whilst coping with high demand servers appear to be genuinely happy & keen to please.
The thumbnail below offers a VR or 360 view of the interior.
Wild Food Cafe Free From Menu
Wild Food Cafe is 100% gluten-free and vegan. Many of the dishes are raw. However none of these distinguishing features are even *mentioned* on their website and menu. Instead what is emphasised is the use of organic, seasonal, ethically farmed, locally sourced (where possible) and minimally processed ingredients. The term I use to describe my own diet, “plant based”, is what they use to describe their cuisine instead of vegan or vegetarian.
Even as a coeliac who seeks out vegan food I applaud this. Wild Thing Cafe appears to want to be known first and foremost for the provenance and quality of their food rather than *only* what it is free from.
The menu has fewer choices than many venues. There are 4 starters, 4 mains and 5 desserts. My own experience is that this matters little when each dish is reliably excellent and the menu changes to reflect seasonably available fresh ingredients.
This is also one of few venues having drink options that actually capture my interest. I usually ignore drinks and take plain water and focus on the food. Here I would happily sample my way through the creative array of smoothies & juices. In fact I’d love to see Wild Food Cafe offer a *flight* for tasting. For example, offering 4 small servings instead of 1 large. This is something you can find occasionally for wine, for gluten-free beer at The Willow and at Choco Vivo in Los Angeles for chocolate.
There is also wine, 2 beers and 1 cider. One of the beers is gluten-free and the other is not which makes it the only gluten containing thing on the menu. I still think of Wild Thing Cafe as 100% Gluten-Free since cross-contamination risk from a bottled beer is negligible.
Wild Food Cafe, Food to Die For?
I just love it when the first bite is surprising and delightful and that is exactly what my own starter of ‘What I did this Spring’ delivered. Ironically it was a bite of roasted eggplant, the one non-raw thing in my entire meal. It was soft and succulent, meaty and savoury. I was sharing my starter and also sampling that of my dining companion but I *may* have hoovered up the eggplant slices.
Another starter option is ‘Oyster in a Shell’. This is cleverly presented with in an egg shaped and egg shell colored bowl. A dollop of sweet potato foam makes the ‘yolk’ in the center.
Significant menu space is dedicated to the Samurai Burger, evidently a flagship dish. The visual is certainly very impressive. There are many flavors woven into this burger and the umami taste is very strong. The ‘bun’ itself is a mixture of mushroom and seeds and perhaps seaweed too. Try as I might I could not place all the flavors but I very much enjoyed trying.
I tip celeriac, which is the root base of the celery plant, as the next kale. Watch it rise to greatness in the next few years. Low calorie, mildly nutty, versatile. Great as a mash. In the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ dish celeriac takes the center stage along with parsnip spirals and are well complimented by the dressing, seasoning and fresh rocket. Crispy & crunchy.
Preludes over, now the important bit, desserts! There are just enough to make the choice really difficult. Relief the choice dilemma by promising a return trip or dining with others and sharing. Between the Matcha cheesecake with a terrifically zesty Yuzu sauce and the White Chocolate Goji Berry Tart I prefer the flavour of the tart. However the texture of both is very similar. Creamy, rich, smooth, velvety and pleasingly thick. There is more of it to enjoy with the Tart!
Wild Food Cafe Recommendation
You do not need to be a raw, gluten-free or vegan foodie to love the food here but if you are, consider this a *must visit* destination. Wild Food Cafe is also a place I would confidently bring anyone that I wanted to introduce to raw, gluten-free and vegan food done really, really well.
The lively, colourful, upbeat atmosphere is uplifting and energising. However some caveats. The venue will likely be full & have a queue around any peak meal time. The prices are high relative to simpler options on the high street. The communal tables *can* be a big plus if you are in the mood but unsuited for anyone seeking to work, have peace & quiet, or have privacy & intimacy. Come here in the right mood, alone or with the right company, and it *will* be terrific.
Of the four raw-centric cafes and restaurants in London with which I am familiar, this is so far my clear favourite. Vitao on Tottenham Court Road is also excellent and does offer a more intimate atmosphere. I am overdue, long overdue, to visit Nama Raw Artisan Foods in Notting Hill and Paradise Unbakery in Kensal Rise.
Go to Wild Food Cafe!
Google Maps have newly enabled the creation and sharing of lists, so I have added Wild Food Cafe to a 100% Gluten Free London list Google Maps list.