The Healthy Cook Co, Kingston - On the Tea Shop Trail
PUBLISHED: 12:19 21 May 2013 | UPDATED: 12:19 21 May 2013
Going against the grain, The Healthy Cook Co started life on the internet before branching out to the High Street in Kingston. Louise Johncox discovers a destination perfect for a healthy treat
The low down…
Owner Trisha Kelly opened up shop in November 2012 with the aim of providing healthy tasty cakes and products for people with food intolerances. Trisha’s sister and nephew have coeliac disease, providing a personal reason for the venture. I first discovered The Healthy Cook Co when I was offered a slice of chocolate cake with a cup of tea while having my hair cut at the Organic Hairdresser opposite the café. Having my tresses trimmed while sipping tea and eating chocolate cake is a double indulgence. I enjoyed the light texture of the cake so I popped across the road to investigate. The fact that the cakes are made out of natural ingredients was an added bonus for me and a treat for those with food intolerances.
When stepping into the Healthy Cook, the scent of baking is fragrant in the air. There is a small counter with cakes on display, a dresser packed with products and food books and magazines are stacked on a shelf. Flowery curtains and tablecloths add to the homely feel. This unique bakery cum café is a welcome addition to Kingston where international coffee chains have taken over the High Street, often offering tasteless and expensive goods. “I wanted a tea shop-style décor because I thought it would be a bit different in Kingston and would suit Old London Road,” says Trisha.
There are four tables seating 12 people. I sat near the window, close to a dresser where the cakes and produce caught my eye, and enjoyed a view onto quirky Old London Road and its independent shops. There are dry mixes for soda bread, chocolate cake and vanilla cake for customers to make at home.
The chocolate brownies are most popular followed by the pear and almond tart, the chocolate beetroot cupcakes and the carrot and raisin cakes. “The chocolate brownies fly off the baking tray fresh from the oven before I have a chance to display them,” says Trisha. All baked products are wheat, gluten and dairy free, many are egg free and some have no added sugar; any item can be ordered for a specific diet. The carrot cake won the award in 2009 for Best Freefrom product of the year. The judges said that ‘the cake was moist, light, tasty and very home made and won on its looks and on its delicious, not over-sweet icing’.
Trisha, who comes from Mullingar in County Westmeath, southern Ireland, also bakes soda bread served as toast in the café or for sale as a loaf. One bite of the soft soda bread and I was back in Ireland.
Cakes start from £1.50. Toasted soda bread and marmalade, £1.95. Coffee starts at £1.80 for an Americano and £2 for a cappuccino and latte. Teas/infusions cost £1.60. Soup and a slice of soda bread (£3.50) is the most popular daily dish but the vegetarian all day brunch (£5.95) is catching up (two carrot and coriander vegetarian sausages, homemade hummus, spinach pesto, two slices toasted soda bread and homemade baked beans).
The Healthy Cook Co is a bakery and café that simply feels good for you. It’s got all the ingredients: homemade cakes and food made with care, comforting atmosphere and treats to take-away with you. Aside from small cakes you can order big cakes; the gluten and dairy free chocolate cake is the biggest seller followed by the egg free version then the carrot and raisin cake. Guilt free cakes to make you feel good.
• The Healthy Cook Co, 32 Old London Road, Kingston upon Thames KT2 6QF. Open Mondays to Saturday, 8.30am to 5pm. Tel: 020 8541 1405. Web: www.healthycookcompany.co.uk
Louise Johncox’s parents, Peter and Frankie, ran Peter’s tea shop in Weybridge from 1958 until 2000 when they retired. Louise is now writing a book about her parents’ tea shop, with the working title of The Baker’s Daughter (see louisejohncox.com/index.htm).