Élan Cafe, Oxford Circus

Some places you just have to go to for the ‘gram right? Élan Cafe is one of them.

Let’s start with the style, which ultimately is why Élan Cafe has had such success on the Internet. With floral walls, slogan neon signs and marble counters, it’s Instagram gold and you can’t deny that. However, on not so close inspection, things are not as luxury as they seem.

I see no reason why the flowers on the tables can’t be regularly replaced with fresh ones, especially as there aren’t that many tables. The Market Place branch we visited is poorly designed with a massive island/serving counter in the middle of the room, leaving space for seating only along three sides. Most of the seating offered is actually outside, which while we visited, was quickly left waiting for inside tables when the awning began to collapse in the wind. Last thing you want when sipping your £7.50 latte.

Across the counter, and almost everywhere you look, the seemingly fancy plates and slates are from Flying Tiger. Right down to the cake slice, you know, THE Tiger cake slice.

We all love a bit of Tiger, but it’s just not what you expect your single £7 macaron to arrive on.

We ordered the ‘Made for Two: Stone baked flatbread topped with burrata, cherry tomatoes, rocket and za’atar pesto’ and the courgette & halloumi fries. The halloumi fries were really good, well seasoned and soft. But the service is also a little lacking. At one point my empty coffee cup was cleared… to be put on the table next to us.

The sweet display is a collection of bakes from bakeries around London, including canelé from Babelle. I probably ordered the least Instagram friendly stem ginger millionaire shortbread (which did not have said stem ginger advertised on the menu or label – *ahem* food standards allergy police). It was delicious, albeit extremely rich and sweet.

All in all, I really should have known better. The Elan Cafe social pages have more pictures of “Instagram girls” posing in pink than the actual food – not my kind of cafe. We had a discount which softened the blow on the £7.50 pots of tea but I would not recommend unless Instagram likes pay your bills.

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Harleigh Reid

I write about food and eat a lot.

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