With only half an avocado and a questionable courgette in the fridge on Saturday’s scorcher, I found myself searching for food-spiration on Instagram. (I know, I know. I hate me too.) Scrolling through, I saw an incredible-looking lunch someone had tagged at The Good Life Eatery, so I abandoned my sad veg and headed out to my closest branch in Chelsea.
The Good Life Eatery is proud of its menu. It’s not for the pre-holiday panic dieters whose idea of nutrition involves picking at a soggy Caesar salad while everyone else enjoys themselves with the food the restaurant actually puts effort into; it’s for people who get that healthy food can be delicious in its own right. In its own words: “We definitely won’t put anything on the menu unless it looks and tastes a million bucks! Good old-fashioned, freshly made food that just so happens to be good for you.”
I like the sound of that.
The place is quite small but in a cosy way, sporting that popular modern/rustic look, all exposed lightbulbs and solid wooden benches. We rocked up at 4pm for lunch so had no problem getting a table, but I imagine it’s mayhem trying to get a seat at actual lunchtime as they don’t take reservations. Luckily for the proper locals though, they do takeaway. (NB: it closes between 6-8pm depending on the day, so it’s only really a dinner option if you go early.)
Irksomely, the menu is only on display on a chalkboard behind the till, which doesn’t work when you’re sitting down. We had to sit there checking the menu on our phones like wallies, but bugger me, is that menu great once you actually get a proper look at it.
The morning menu is served all day on weekends (and ‘til 11.30 on weekdays) and includes all the usual eggy suspects, but they also have exciting things like acai bowls, chestnut and almond waffles, and elaborately decorated chia puddings. There are also salads, sandwiches and wraps, warm bowls, soup and small plates, as well as pudding; lots of choice for the London luncher. The drinks menu is also not messing around. There might even be, dare I say it, Too Much Choice for juices, nut milks and smoothies.
I opted for the The Goodness Bowl salad (£12.50) with an Incredible Hulk smoothie (classy bird, me) and Andrew ordered the Mexicali salad (£10.50) with the indulgent Coco Butter smoothie.
I knew I’d won the lunch war even before Andrew’s even came out. My Goodness Bowl was feast for the eyes as much as the gob. There’s so much to it, I’ve drawn you up a helpful diagram thing. You’re welcome.
Despite so much happening on one plate, it was all so well seasoned and flavoured that everything worked together in glorious harmony. The aubergine dip was smoky and the tomato sauce on the courgetti noodles was rich. I don’t even know what dressed the salad but it was yummy, and quinoa/cauli falafel was a hitherto unheard of combination I’ll definitely be trying to recreate at home. (Watch this space.)
Andrew’s Mexican inspired salad was also a win. It featured vegan walnut mince (non-veggie option: chipotle chicken), quinoa, a tonne of guacamole, tomatoes and a spicy baby gem and kale salad with a rich black bean blend, all served with chipotle cashew cream and crispbread. Like my Goodness Bowl, the Mexicali salad was very well seasoned and tasted delicious, but it was a little ‘wet’ in texture and I think it would have benefited from one of the side options, bread or brown rice or a wrap.
The smoothies were a triumph. At £6 each for 500ml of unusual and expensive ingredients, I’d say they’re good value for the occasional treat. The Coco Butter comprised of coconut milk,
coconut water, peanut butter, dates, banana and vanilla; it was comforting and rich, like a dessert. I thought the Incredible Hulk would feel virtuous in comparison, with its blend of pineapple, spirulina, fresh basil, coconut milk, banana and vanilla, but it was just as delicious.
I’ll definitely be going back to The Good Life Eatery to gorge on sample the rest of the menu. If only they could just open a branch in Putney, I’d be the happiest veggie in the all the land.
59 Sloane Ave, London SW3 3DH
Author: Carla Juniper
Carla is a proud Putney-dweller and newly-minted vegetarian. She loves pickled beetroot and experimenting in the kitchen, especially when accompanied by a very large glass of wine, which is known to aid creativity and culinary prowess. In her spare time she uses her degree in Illustration to create bespoke digital portraits (you can check our her work here).
She also sucks at the flying trapeze.