The saddest part of any road trip is when it has to come to an end but luckily I’d planned some exciting things for the final leg of the journey to drop the van off in Ipswich including a few days in Brighton, hanging with my Sister in Law and her family and a tattoo appointment in Peterborough with one of my favourite artists Harriet Heath. I was really excited when I realised that Jen from blog turned bakery PS It’s Vegan’s cafe The Den at 23 wasn’t even a ridiculous detour on the drive from London to Ipswich meaning that I could finally try some of her delicious eats.
The Den is located right in the centre of Colchester and it’s the only cafe on Crouch street which means that they’re really well positioned for both visiting vegans and hungry locals for whom The Den might be their first introduction to vegan food.
Nick started with a hot chocolate which I was so jealous of that I had to order one for myself. I’m usually a soya milk girl but Jen’s partner Robert, the man in charge of the coffee machine, recommended coconut milk and I was so glad I listened to him. This was without a doubt the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. It was smooth, creamy and intensely chocolatey without any lingering coconut flavour and to kick it up another notch it was also topped with the wonderfully indulgent and fun combo of whipped cream and marshmallows.
Now I’ve taken my own mallows along to coffee shops to pop in my hot choc before but I’ve never been anywhere that just had them on the menu and I’d never had whipped cream on a hot chocolate before. I know! I didn’t get into whipped cream until after I went vegan (yay for Schlagfix!) so I’d always missed out on this fun treat and hoo boy is it good. If I lived near The Den I would order this all the time!
The cafe’s menu is a mix of breakfasts, burgers, sandwiches, salads and sweet treats which include waffles, a desert island burger and grilled cheese and ham sandwiches. Of course I ordered a grilled cheese, there were a few options but I eventually settled on cheese, ham and tomato after seeing that they were using Tofurky ham. The cheese is VioLife and it melts perfectly.
Breakfast is served until they run out and thankfully they had just enough of their delicious tofu omelettes left to whip Nick up a breakfast bagel with an omelette, Linda McCartney sausages and plenty of ketchup.
Nick couldn’t resist a slice of their Apple Crumble Cheesecake which I was even tempted to try a forkful off despite my hatred for cheesecake. It was definitely the best cheesecake I’ve tried but as a cheesecake hater you can’t trust my opinion! Nick said it was epic which is a pretty excellent compliment.
I didn’t have enough space left for one of the cafe’s famous waffles but because Jen is the sweetest she gave me one to take away which I topped with bee free honee for dinner that evening. It was so delicious, I’ve never managed to make a waffle that good no matter how fancy the waffle maker, and if you’re visiting The Den I’d highly recommend ordering the toasted waffle with maple syrup and non dairy ice cream because how good does that sound?!
The Den also sell a small but well selected range of take away snacks including Vego bars, Ten Acre Crisps (the cheese and onion flavour is off the hook!), Spacebars and Freedom Mallows.
Also in stock, as of last week, is my zine European Vegan which I’m super excited about! Sadly I’m having to put my Big Cartel stores on hiatus because the logistics of sending individual zines out to people from Thailand / Cambodia / South Korea / wherever else I end up in the next 10 months are just too complicated. It’s no biggie though you can now pick up copies of the zine from Infinity Foods, Herbivore, Rabbit Food Grocery, Dr Pogo, Active Distro, The Cowley Club, Black Cat Cafe and, of course, The Den.