La Suite West is a newish upmarket hotel in Bayswater that houses RAW, an even newer mostly vegan restaurant. I’ve been meaning to sample the menu since the place opened, but only just got around to paying a visit to this stylish venue for a relaxing afternoon tea.
My views on RAW are strongly divided. The service and staff attention to detail was outstanding, and it’s of course always nice to see more vegan options in the capital (or anywhere). The downsides? Honey on the table and meat for breakfast. Still, the offerings are unique and I’m interested in returning to try a dish or two from their main menu.
Along with a variety of teas and coffee served with RAW’s afternoon tea (I had a gorgeous jasmine blend), there’s also a selection of five finger sandwiches (and should you want more, they’ll gladly oblige):
- Grilled Portobello | basil pesto | cherry tomatoes. My favourite, hands down. Super tasty. Had seconds. Want more now.
- Hummus | cucumber | rocket | red onion slices. You don’t even know how happy I was to see only one cucumber/ruined item on the menu. The reason I avoided any other afternoon tea was because I could think of nothing worse than cucumber sandwiches, which are something British people seem to find acceptable. At any rate I rather enjoyed this once it was de-cuked.
- Tofu scrambled | spicy guacamole. This one was okay and I would eat it again, but I could take it or leave it.
- Roasted butternut squash | cream of artichoke and truffle. My second favourite sandwich and the most creative of the lot, in my opinion.
- Roasted spinach | garlic | aubergine | cauliflower mousse. Some of my favourite veggies rolled into one sandwich, I wanted so hard to like this one! Alas, I tolerate aubergine only when it’s cooked to oblivion and here it was crunchy.
The next platter to come out included scones alongside an enormous bowl of whipped coconut cream with strawberries. The coconut cream was excellent, although more like pudding than a thick cream, and I liked the addition of fresh fruit (although I’d like to see it change based on seasonality). The scones were on the small side (not a problem since the sandwiches are pretty much on open tap), but definitely fresh and absolutely good. Jam pots were available for if you’d like to take the sweetness up a notch (the coconut cream was rather cloying).
The final plate to arrive was comprised of a piece of sesame halva, a raw chocolate and coconut cake, and a raw chocolate truffle. None of it blew me away. Based on those I’ve tried I’m not a great lover of raw desserts, however, so perhaps my judgement is skewed.
Next time, and I hope there will be one, I plan on trying some options from the main menu. I’ve got my sights on the Thai roasted tomato soup and collard wraps!