As a Deliciously Ella fan, I was surprised I hadn’t yet visited the Mae Deli. It’s probably because I tend to recreate her recipes chez moi – whether this be her moreish energy balls and cacao cookies, or her maple chia pots, superfood smoothies and endless grain bowls. Her recipes have – quite literally – animated me into the kitchen. But when my companion suggested a brunch catch-up at the Mae Deli, I couldn’t say no.
In their own words, The Mae Deli is “Matthew and Ella’s Deli. A place of health and happiness on 21 Seymour Place, London”. Whilst Ella is the creator of the dishes, Matthew – now her husband – swapped a successful business career to launch the deli in the heart of Marylebone. As is well-known, Ella burst onto the health food scene with her successful vegan blog DeliciouslyElla.com, followed by record-selling recipe books. In outline, her dishes celebrate natural foods, creating vividly colourful and inventive plates using superfood ingredients. Her success is partly due to the presentation of her dishes; so enticing are her photos that she – and the Mae Deli – are a huge hit on Instagram.
Inside, the place is well-designed and felt very inviting. Split over two floors, the (air-conditioned) downstairs has a few tables, benches and a very lazy armchair, whilst the top floor is home to the counter, the Smoothie bar and a few stools to watch Marylebone life going by. It’s very busy: crowds of women were ready to get their daily fix of matcha lattes made with Rude Health brown rice milk and power balls, clamoring around the tempting exhibit of fresh salads and sweet treats. There’s no menu; rather, a large black board sets out all of your eating options. Best of all, the deli were offering samples of their (deliciously) moreish Pecan brownies.
Although I was tempted to go for a sweet treat – whether an acai bowl or the banana pancakes – I couldn’t resist the sight of the falafel. Opting for a Mae bowl, I selected Sundried tomato falafel, Red cabbage slaw, Paprika pepper humus and the Mediterranean tomato, olive and artichoke salad. It didn’t disappoint and was incredibly well seasoned. Although their food is focused on natural, plant-based goodness, it doesn’t sacrifice on taste whatsoever. So tasty were the falafel that they didn’t need the humus dip. Although the food is not a bargain (the Mae Bowl is £9.75), the quality is superb and very satisfying.
With everything from breakfast bowls and Mae salads bowls, Mae are spearheading the bowl-food trend. Whether popping by for brekkie, lunch, dins, or just a snack, it’s worth trying this place out. It’s a healthy haven from the hustle and busy bustle of Oxford Street. Since I do have a sweet tooth, I’ll definitely return to try the Banana & Coconut Pancakes with Berry & Apple Compote, Maple Syrup and Coconut Chips (£5.50).
A few snaps of the Mae Deli on Weighhouse Street:
The Mae Deli, 21 Seymour Place, London W1H 5BH