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Last week, I was kindly invited to SAF Restaurant & Bar on Kensington High Street, London, by Kerem Sezer, the restaurant’s Business Development Manager, to sample their mouth-watering menu.
On entering, the restaurant décor was simple and elegantly minimal, setting a good ambiance. SAF stands for Simply Authentic Food and offers a completely vegan menu with a wide selection of raw food and biodynamic drinks, which is a welcome remedy to the excessive amounts of meat and dairy that most people frequently consume. Kerem explained that the menu is comprised of a mix of raw and vegan foods, which are genuinely delicious and appeal to wide range of people. This is the perfect restaurant for fit foodies, the health conscious, vegetarian & vegan diners and people who simply love food that is tasty, real, creative and different.
SAF work with both experienced chefs and Whole Foods Market to source the finest of seasonal ingredients (there are different menus for Spring, Summer and Winter), and buy most of their ingredients from locally sourced British suppliers, if not, from other sustainable and creditable suppliers. The restaurant is conveniently located above Whole Foods Market Kensington, which means after dining and feeling inspired by the delicious menu, you can go downstairs and buy your own healthy ingredients.
We started with the Raw Fresh Juices; The Skin Server (parsley, spinach, cucumber, carrots, aloe vera) and The Red Pill (beet, apple, carrot, ginger). They were amazing – neither too bitter or too sweet and exceptionally moreish.
Our appetizer dishes were the Raw Cashew Cheese selection with raw flaxseed crackers and fig compote, and the Sauerkraut Dumplings with spicy plum sauce and cress. The vegan cheese tasted reassuringly good with a pâté like texture, perfect on the raw flaxseed crackers and the Sauerkraut Dumplings were delightful, I would have happily eaten a whole plate of them for lunch!
Next up was the Raw SAF Pad Thai made of carrot & courgette ‘noodles’, spring greens, chipotle cashews, coriander, enoki mushroom, sprouted mung bean and lentils, with chipotle lime sauce. Admittedly, this was unlike any Pad Thai that I’ve ever tasted before, but that is most likely because it wasn’t fried to within an inch of it’s life and saturated in sauce. This was really fresh, palatable and not at all ‘heavy’ on the stomach, in fact, it was like eating a big salad.
Finally, we were served the SAF All Day Breakfast, which is probably one of the most deceptive fry-ups that I have ever come across. The chefs have been incredibly creative with the vegan ingredients and it looked and tasted as good as a real fry-up.
Sadly, I didn’t have time for dessert or wine and had a hairdressers appointment to honour 😉 However, I will definitely be back! The dessert menu looked delectable (raw cheese cake!) and all of the wines are vegan, biodynamic and organic. I will also come back one weekend for the Weekend Nut Roast, having tried other items off the menu – I know this will be good!
People often shy away from vegan restaurants as they have previously been stereotyped as bland, insipid and full of rabbit food. SAF is more than just greens, it is beautifully presented dishes, which are tasty and exciting.