As somebody who lives on a plant-based diet, this quirky little cafe in the centre of Hale really is one of my happy places.
The decor is snug and retro, with shiny cutlery pots on each table and a counter full of raw, mouth-watering goodies, such as carrot cake, cashew brownies, bliss balls and banana bread.
The Garden strongly advocates the importance of staying hydrated and they really show their commitment to this philosophy with the huge water tank located on the counter! This is kept constantly full and infused with different fruits and vegetables every day.
Today I had ginger, lemon and mint infused H20 – I must say, for anybody who finds water bland and boring, you will not be disappointed. Take that Volvic, with your sugary flavoured water! You most definitely can get the taste without all those spoonfuls of refined sugar!
So we make our order and my keenly anticipated ICED MATCHA LATTE (made with almond milk) arrives promptly, brought to me by one of the fresh-faced, friendly waitresses. Refreshing, sweet, and immensely energy boosting, this really sets me up perfectly for a busy, eventful day.
Mum ordered a GREEN TEA and there really is no brand that tastes quite like it. This loose leaf tea is stored in a metal filter instead of a bag, adding to the whole retro feel of this raw-food café and also meaning she’s not sipping on the dust that most tea bags are actually filled with nowadays.
The fact that this is the one place in Manchester I can order vegan pancakes makes my decision one of total ease – MATCHA PANCAKES (Yes more matcha) made from buckwheat flour, topped with a choice of bananas and cacao spread or mixed berries and cashew cream. I’m in a rather indulgent mood and so go for everything, ending my order with a cheeky request for a dollop of Booja Booja ice cream on top (again, something that is not available anywhere else in my local area).
Mum has less of a sweet tooth and so goes for GOOD MORNING GREENS – a generous slice of thick artisan bread topped with avocado and tomatoes, along with salmon and a poached egg if wanted. As mum doesn’t avoid animal products like I do, she adds salmon.
No food ever quite satisfies me like these pancakes do. Although I have heard others comment on how filling they are, I always have room for their special RAW CHEESECAKE which is varied constantly with new and interesting flavours. In the past I have tried chocolate orange, salted caramel, chamomile & vanilla and recently my favourite of all, the spirulina and matcha mermaid cheesecake.
Today I was greeted with the most aesthetically pleasing slice of utter heaven and it didn’t disappoint in taste either.
What mum and I just love about this place, is that we’re indulging without feeding our bodies with rubbish, due to the fact everything is organic and no dish contains refined or processed ingredients. To sweeten their dishes The Garden make use of coconut sugar, maple syrup and other such naturally occurring sweeteners. Although many may screw their noises up at the thought, even my Dad (who really is a man who loves his puddings) agrees that their raw vegan cheesecake is nicer than any sugary, refined slab of dessert he’s had before in restaurants or from supermarkets.
Every time we leave, I joke that I’m getting ‘The Garden blues’ but I’m super serious really. The service I’ve received has always been friendly and unforced. The atmosphere never fails to be vibrant and positive, and to add to that, there’s always a killer playlist so kudos to whoever puts that one together! (I’ve used Shazam a lot in this place!)
For me, The Garden really is a little patch of heaven in a city full of fast food restaurants, takeaways and sugary sweet shops. I’m just hoping that one day I’ll see pearls like this on every street and everyone will realise that eating healthy is not a chore but a wonderful, exciting prospect that opens up a whole new world of tastes and flavours.
GIVE YOUR BODY WHAT IT NEEDS AND IT WILL THANK YOU
(And in the mean time, I’ll thank The Garden)