Elan – (n.) Distinctive and stylish elegance, impulsive, confident ardour
Elan Cafe first started out as a small but elegant and stylish cafe in Park Lane. And just a few months ago, they have opened up their second branch around Knightsbridge and South Kensington. Let’s say you’re casually strolling around Knightsbridge, you would see an unmissable massive queue outside the cafe. Elan Cafe’s popularity has grown rapidly since the launch. The main reason being its gorgeous decor and setting. It has a pink and flowery theme where every corner is decorated with pink and lots of pink roses. The massive ring of roses that are shaped into a heart hanging by the window is one that makes you stop on the road to look at.
Behind all those pretty flowers, Elan Cafe is also renowned for its use of a minimum-waste system. Coffee by-products are recycled and made in-store into “an earth-friendly range of scrubs and masks for face, body and hair, and are claimed to contain no preservatives or harmful chemicals.
Now the question is…how long did I queue for?! I queued for about 35-40 minutes. Yes, it’s long but the queue tripled up at least when I left the place. I arrived around 11 am and the queue actually wasn’t as long as I usually see.
Once I managed to get inside, I’m stunned by how packed it was. Whilst it’s all visually very pleasing with all the pink and flowery aesthetics, it’s rather loud inside due to the number of people squeezed in there. I got seated by the large communal table. Again, since there are so many people packed inside the cafe, it wasn’t the most comfortable seating at all..
Chocolate Hazelnut Croissant
One of the reasons the prompted me to get the croissant was the colours. Their croissants aren’t just as simple as being stuffed with filling but also rolled with a striped colour dough. There were pink, green, and brown to choose from. As you can see, I went for the brown one, which is a Chocolate Hazelnut-flavoured croissant.
The croissant has a light crisp on the outside and airy on the inside. It was well-layered and flakey. There was a nicely balanced touch of chocolate hazelnut and buttery sensation. All in all, a decent one I’d say.
Coconut Canele (£4.5)
Doesn’t this little canele look so dainty and peculiar? I saw them by the counter and simply couldn’t resist! I picked the Coconut one. It wasn’t originally on the menu but was one of the special flavours available on the day.
Whilst it’s pretty to look at, I can’t quite say the same with the flavours. The canele tasted okay. It’s got a dense texture but the flavours didn’t really pop out so much. There was a subtle coconut touch with an almond aftertaste.
The coffee & tea menu at Elan Cafe is pretty vast. They actually boast themselves having a wide selection of coffee types and beverages from being in partnership with London’s award-winning Union Coffee roasters. With all that, I had fairly high expectations.
However, I wasn’t impressed at all. The coffee was rather mediocre. Especially at nearly five quid, I definitely expected something more outstanding. It tasted like a two-quid coffee instead.
Perhaps their speciality lie with the fancy creations such as Lucky Charms Latte, Red Velvet Cake Latte, etc. But I feel that if they couldn’t get a good grasp of a basic drink, the quality of fancier drinks couldn’t be much better either. Although those drinks probably bring in incredible aesthetics to distract from its actual quality.
…whilst extremely pretty, I find Elan Cafe being a rather incredibly overrated place. “Underwhelming” is the word for it. With all the hype around them, I feel it’s just not worth the value. For the price you’re paying, the quality you get is just not really up to par. It’s quite surprising to me how the line remain constantly so long. Surely just a pretty aesthetic could only last this long without substantial quality behind it? I don’t understand the hype and I feel bad for the staff having to deal with such a large crowd every day. If only as much attention has been put into refining its food and drinks than just that pretty facade, it could’ve been a cafe with so much potential.
Nearest station: South Kensington