Made in Chelsea meets healthy food; Squirrel seems to be South Kensington’s latest casual food hangout at the forefront of the “clean” food scene. Given’s its predominantly well-off clientele, I was surprised to learn that they had a soft launch, which I – of course – went to. Flicking through its twitter highlighted to me its “in-crowd” opening party, featuring Rosie Fortescue, Kavita Sodha etc. Millie Mackintosh has also since visited.
Fittingly, Squirrel is from the same people behind Bunga Bunga, Maggie’s and Mr Fogg’s. Framed around providing nutritionally-balanced, delicious, freshly prepared food and drink, founders Duncan Stirling and Charlie Gilkes have brought some new faces on board: their wives. With marketeer Anneke Gilkes and nutritional therapist Zoe Stirling, the team have come up with super-healthy food which isn’t restrictive.
Squirrel has a stylish/nutty interior: the highlight of my trip was eating from their acorn-shaped salad box in the 21-foot stylised oak tree host. Style meets health seems to be the latest trend at the moment. Even Coyo teamed up with Lulu Guinness to create a dairy, soya and gluten-free ice lolly in three popular flavours: Skinny Dip Chocolate; Sunny Salted Caramel; and Very Vanilla – all dipped in the finest dark chocolate. On the workout front, meanwhile, lululemon leggings have hit the cat walks and yummy mummies are sporting their wares even when not working out. Not only is Squirrel in vogue on the style front, but also on sustainability: they’re championing, seasonality, recyclable and fully compostable packaging and making the most of the “ugly” fruit and vegetable which doesn’t meet the supermarket’s tight standards.
Open from 7am, Squirrel offers breakfast with everything from chunky avocado toast and porridge pots to organic yoghurt with tempting toppings on the menu. If you want to grab some snacks to go, you’ll also find them: nuts, seeds, fruit and roasted beans hang in bird feeders to decant and take away. The drinks list is also extensive: matcha lattes, hot tonics, Allpress coffee are served from the “Fallen Oak” coffee station; water infusions and iced teas are also available from the re-fillable “Drinking Well”, whilst cold pressed juices, kombucha, fresh coconuts, turmeric lattes and reishi hot chocolate are available from behind the counter.
Typically the dishes have fashionable labels. On their salad menu, Broc Chic features feta, chickpeas, spinach, rocket, broccoli, shredded red cabbage, beetroot, cranberries, mixed seeds and a herby lemon viniaigrette, whilst Mary Berry is filled with goat’s cheese, spinach, rocket, strawberries, peas, almonds, mint and a balsamic viniagreete. Strawberries in savory salads is very in vogue at the moment – one of my favourite quick-and-easy salads combines strawberry, avocado and toasted almonds with a balsamic glaze. Sadly, neither options were yet available during this opening week so I built my own combination inspired by Broc Chic. My acorn bowl featured kale, broccoli, beetroot, edamame beans and all the nuts and seeds on offer. The salad has converted me to kale: it was creamy and marinated well in the dressing. The broccoli was also finely chopped and the nuts and seeds added a welcome crunchy bite. The best bit, however, was the Spicy Cashew Dressing. All-in-all, an ideal summer quick dins.
It’s definitely worth swinging by Squirrel for an all-round experience: healthy food, a musing in the treetops and all forms of nuts and seeds. The team here haven’t compromised on anything.
Squirrel, 11 Harrington Road, Kensington, London, SW7 3ES