CLOSED: Saf - Kensington

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 29 reviews )
Hours

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The Barkers Building, 63/97 High Street, Kensington, West London, England, W8 5SE

Restaurant and bar located inside a very large Whole Foods Market in Kensington. Food is mostly raw, some cooked, substantial portions, and well presented. Also offers a take-away selection. REPORTED SHUTTING DOWN 1ST WEEK OF FEB 2014.

Categories: Vegan, Organic, Western, Take-out, Catering, All Raw

29 Reviews

First Review by jptashiro

interesting raw food, I need to come back and try the cooked stuff - Edit

I ordered the raw lunch that came with a very uninteresting pair of creamy cashew cheeses, a fantastic pad thai and a juice of my choice. Seating by the kitchen, I saw lots of delicious dishes being served. The hamburger is super popular!

Pros: beautiful presentation, wide menu

Cons: loud

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Favourite by far - Edit

Even my meat-eating boyfriend loves Saf. It makes a change to be able to order everything on a menu, and there's broad enough choice to keep most happy. The menu also seems to change frequently enough to keep things interesting. We loved the dumplings and had them two visits in a row. We also enjoyed the squash risotto and aubergine pancake. The sorbet was a bit of a miss, but the rest of the meal made up for that. The decor is smart, but as it's contained within a larger food court it's best for lunch or early dinner. On our visits we've found the staff friendly and attentive, and they even remembered us the second time round. This place is first on my list for my next trip to London, and I'll be taking family when I get the chance.
Updated from previous review on Tuesday December 24, 2013

Pros: Yummy, proper food, Totally vegan, Plenty of choice

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Raw and tasty! - Edit

A great choice of mainly raw food. Makes you feel healthy and happy, really recommend it. Lovely juices, try 'The Red Pill' and the Banh Mi baguette really delicious

Pros: raw, tasty

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Good! - Edit

We enjoyed that restaurant in october, very nice, savory, healthy dishes. A lot of taste, nice shop corner where to find different food. We like it's vegan with a good part of raw. We will go again and again!

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Nice - Edit

Enjoyed our food. Had a lovely nut roast with gravy. The only thing I didn't enjoy was the cocktail I ordered- way too much vanilla. Other than that a nice place to eat above the wonderful world that is wholefoods.

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Yummy and varied menu - Edit

I visited last year and for lunch (a wrap or sandwich type meal) and wasn't that impressed, but I gave it another go and decided to try a 'meal' and it was delicious. It can be expensive, but there is a 2 or 3 course lunch deal with a selection of 3 different dishes from the main menu, so works out well.

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Delicious healthy food - Edit

This restaurant is inside the Whole Foods, upstairs. You can order take away or sit in the restaurant part which is nice.

My partner had the peanut and pineapple curry which was delicious and very flavoursome. I had a few starters instead of a main - dumplings (they were a little undercooked but delicious), the vegetable chips (I didn't like these, I had never tried dehydrated vegetables before and they were very chewy) and the cashew cheese and crackers which was AMAZING! They make the cheese themselves.

We both had fresh juices which were really good. For dessert my partner had the coconut sorbet and banana ice cream which were very tasty. I had the chocolate raspberry dessert which was amazing. Great service, highly recommended, all vegan.

Pros: All vegan, Great service, Great healthy food

Cons: Some of the starters weren't the best

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Exquisite - Edit

I have only been to Saf once and that is due to the cost and not having enough birthdays. I sometimes treat myself to their products in my local health food shop though, but it is not the same as having their fresh produce.

It is wonderful feeling that every bite you take of your meal is healthy, while still being delicious and special. I love how being dairy-free is not a barrier for their creativeness - they make fantastic cheeses and puddings regardless and I feel vegetarian restaurants should take note.

Fab cocktails.

Pros: 100% vegan, Innovative, Health-orientated

Cons: Public location (within shop), Perhaps too fancy for some tastes

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Amaze-Balls!! - Edit

We love Saf! There's a lovely choice of both raw Vegan, and cooked Vegan foods, snacks, deserts, and drinks on offer. We always try to eat raw, whenever it's on offer-the sushi is lovely, and we've also had the raw cheesecake. They have some lovely cocktails, too! Definitely worth a visit.

Pros: Raw and cooked Vegan food, Vibrant flavours, Lots to choose from

Cons: The other sections in the food hall!

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Vegan treat - Edit

There is a great deal good to be said about SAF. The ingredients are well selected, properly prepared and presented in an attractive manner. The menu is modest in length (a virtue in my book)but has enough genuine choice to please most people. The staff were friendly and attentive and the service prompt. It is not tha cheapest place but by no means the most expensive, not in London terms. The reservation one might have is that it is alongside a large food hall on the upper floor of a largee food market. However: (a) it is possible to sit, as we did in a section that makes that less apparent and (b) the food hall, though not vegetarian, is a cornucopia of food delights and is a treat to walk around itself. With that reservation, this is a splendid place and thoroughly recommended.

Pros: Quality food well presented, All vegan, Good service

Cons: Food hall aspect

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Excellent! - Edit

My daughter and me had a Saf burger each. It was so delicious!! We both thought that it was one of the best meals we had ever had. And my daughter is not even a vegetarian.. I am looking forward to get back to this place.

Pros: excellent food, big portion

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Very good raw food - Edit

I liked their raw food. Their guacamole and flax seed crackers were delicious. I also tried their raw lasagne, which was nice. Freshly prepare juices and smoothies are also available. Service was very friendly. Nothing to complain.

Pros: Good raw food offers, fresh and good quality, good service

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Vegan

  Contributions +28

love it - Edit

as I am not only vegan but also limited in what I can eat by health concerns, it is always wildly exciting to me to find somewhere that works for me. I love this place! The food is all organic, healthily prepared (totally possible to get a delicious lowfat, gluten free, vegetable rather than starch based meal without any compromise or substitution), and delicious. It fulfilled my primary desire-- food I don't have to compromise my diet for-- and my secondary desire for a restaurant-- food I couldn't make myself at home. Loved it. It's a little bit of a splurge but for what it is it's very reasonable compared to some places. 5 stars.

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Nice but a bit overpriced - Edit

Nice food but rather overpriced. The raw options in particular were a bit small and not very exciting. I had better raw food at other places in London. We had the raw pizza and an asparagus crepe. The 'side salad' for both dishes was just lettuce. The atmosphere was also a bit pretentious (and yet food-court-ish at the same time!), it didn't feel like a vegan hangout, more like a posh place for rich people on a diet.

Pros: Fully vegan, Raw options, Well-presented

Cons: Overpriced, Atmosphere

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Worth trying - Edit

Saf was inside Whole Foods in London and we happened to be in the area. We went at around noon and it was pretty quiet but the service was still very slow. We shared the vegetable gyozas to starts, slow roasted asparagus farinata and the nyonya laksa. All were very tasty. The portions were fine enough for lunch but it felt expensive for what it was. Of course, this is Kensignton and Whole Foods so you have to expect to pay those prices. The had a great selection of fresh juices, but at about 45 pounds for lunch for 2, it did not feel that worth it. The waitress questioned our choice of juice, as if it was impossible that a man would choose to drink beetroot juice. We would go back but would not rush.

Pros: good food, great fresh juices

Cons: Expensive, small-ish portions, slow service

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Worth a visit, mixed feelings. - Edit

I have eaten here a few times. The food is excellent, but not especially exciting and not cheap, and I think it is telling that I have more often chosen to eat stuff from Wholefoods which I visit quite a lot than eat here.

The service has always been good, and the venue is cool, but you can kind of feel like you are eating in a food court (which you kind of are).

Certianly worth visiting though, and I know I'll happily eat there again. Good for gluten free options.

Pros: Good food., Good service.

Cons: Restaurant prices, foodcourt venue.

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Favourite veggie place in London - Edit

I eat here with my mum every time we take a trip to London. It is nice to be able to have a glass of bubbly with a vegan meal, and we have tried a range of weird and wonderful dishes that are presented superbly and taste delicious. It is expensive (but this is a pretentious area of London), and you have to be a bit open minded with the menu - e.g. the 'pad thai' is more of an asian salad rather than a 'pad thai'. Our favourites are the chickpea pancake thing and the japanese dish (I've uploaded pics).

Pros: exciting menu, tasty food

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great food - Edit

All vegan with many raw items and several gluten-free. Multi-award-winning kitchen, from our dairy-free milk, cheeses, sauces and dressings, all the way to our cakes and ice creams. Juices £5.25 (I had Easy Being Green detoxifier, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, made with cucumber, celery, spinach, kale, lemon). Teas by the Pot £4; Fairtrade coffee. Six desserts, five of which 5 are raw, £5.50, including white chocolate and jasmine tart - white chocolate and jasmine cream with cacao nib crust, caramelized apricot sauce and espresso syrup; and cinnamon butternut squash cheesecake.
Snacks £4, including curried kale (raw marinated and dehydrated kale crisps flavoured with curried coconut flakes and sunflower seeds) and kimpura (stir-fried carrot buttons marinated in agave and cayenne pepper with arame kelp and black sesame seeds).
Wraps & sandwiches £7.90, including Vietnamese wrap and Saf burger. Soup of the Day. "Cheeses" plate. California Roll: avocado, enokki mushrooms, umeboshi puree and cucumber wrapped in parsnip rice and dusted with beetroot powder, served with orange ponzo dipping sauce and pickled radish. Also pumpkin risotto; and spinach and radish-top "quiche." Several salads, including smoked tofu; kale, avocado and walnut; sea vegetable salad; and a list of super foods you can add to the salads for £1. (I had Thai Red Curry for £14.45: butternut squash, aubergine, okra, spring onion, runner beans, organic Saf tofu cooked in coconut curry soup, served with mixed wild rice.)
Fantastic menu, but it was not a tranquil meal (1 pm Saturday), seated at tables between the juice bar and the noisy, busy food court. Might be less noisy in the restaurant section to the right of the entrance.

Pros: vegan

Cons: noisy location

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Disappointing - Edit

After finding this attractive-looking all-vegan place with several raw and gluten-free menu items, our hungry party of six was eager to chow down. We arrived around 2:30PM when they didn't seem super busy, but they'd just served a large party, they said, so had run out of four of their most popular entrees. We ordered around the out items. But then...

They didn't bring us any water. Ever. Despite empty water glasses sitting on the table throughout.

They didn't inform us that the chips and guacamole appetizer we'd ordered for the table came with only three (3) small kale chips. There we were breaking chips in half to share among the six of us. Inexplicably they brought large empty plates and set these in front of us as the three chips and 5 oz. of guacamole swiftly disappeared.

The service was extremely slow, albeit friendly. When our three-year-old made a disgusted face after tasting the pear-cucumber-fennel smoothie, the waitress offered to bring her a plain pear juice instead. The pear juice was frothy, brown, and tasted like pear. At £5.25 a pop, however, the smoothies were disappointing.

Our entrees were pretty to look at, but disappointing. I got the raw gluten-free Saf Bowl and the best thing on the plate was the plain undressed half avocado. The zucchini "noodles" were oily though fresh, the cashew "rice" was salted and unsatisfying (I would've preferred plain steamed brown rice), the marinated shiitake mushrooms were extremely salty (almost indelible), and the kim chee, while fairly authentic in flavor (though not texture--it was too mushy) to my pleasant surprise (I grew up eating Korean food), was also too salty. My husband's pad thai didn't taste anything like real pad thai, he reported.

The bill came to £90 (including our £9 tip) which was exorbitant given what we got in the huge waste of time in which we got it. Sad to say we will likely never eat there again.

One star for being all vegan. Another star for being friendly and trying to be helpful. Half a star for offering raw and gluten-free items that at least sounded and looked good.

Updated from previous review on Friday April 06, 2012
Updated from previous review on Friday April 06, 2012

Pros: All vegan, Nice decor

Cons: Horribly slow, distracted service, No water provided, Food was over-seasoned

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Pleasant and convenient - Edit

Saf is an impeccable, slightly posh experience. It's part of the food
court at this very large Whole Foods store, so you can either eat "in"
the restaurant (which really means in a slightly segregated space), or
take your meal to one of the communal tables and combine it with food
from other places.

The food felt substantial and very, very neat ("Saf" is, after all, a
word that means "clean" in several Asian languages). I didn't
discover until later that it's a raw-food place (nothing cooked above
48 degrees C), which means the technique did not outshine the food.
Of course, you'll pay generously for all this.

Given the location, it's naturally easy to combine a meal here with a
shopping run to the Whole Foods.

Pros: tasty, convenient location, can be combined with other places

Cons: not inexpensive

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Stellar. Awesome. Food! - Edit

Service is incomparable. Saf in on point. Presentation is beautiful. I love the cheese board. This really is fresh food for a clean palate. I am a spice fiend but you really can taste the goodness and freshness. Mushroom in chickpea crepe was perfect as are the Pad Thai and the curry and everything else. They go to such lengths with in-house produce- their drinks ...oh my....especially their mocktails. I love SAF!

Pros: Everything

Cons: Nada

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Ok - Edit

We had a soup, burger, two juices and two desserts. The juices were great. The food was OK but far from impressive. The service was quick which made for an easy meal but it was quite expensive for what you got relative to some other great veg restaurants around (e.g. Mildreds).

Pros: quick service

Cons: expensive

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not what it says on the tin - Edit

Service in this restaurant was very good and the staff were friendly. However our meals were disappointing. I had a wrap with onion jam, vegan cheese and quinoa but could barely taste the onion and cheese. The "mixed" salad consisted of one type of lettuce although it did have a tasty dressing. My friend left half her meal and thought it lacked flavour. The "fresh pressed juice" came out of a carton. Overall we felt let down and would not eat here again.

Pros: service

Cons: not what it says on the tin

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Simply excellent - Edit

Just like the Shoreditch location, the Saf restaurant in Kensington is one of the best culinary experiences London has to offer. With a menu sharing some dishes in common with the Shoreditch location (such as the unmissable gyoza) the Saf at the Kensington Whole Foods also boasts some dishes of its own, equally delicious and satisfying. With its diverse menu of food and drinks, and whether it is a raw meal or one of the cooked options, Saf never disappoints me and always makes me wish they would open locations in other countries too!

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Absolutely fabolous food - Edit

We spent our last money in this place and didn't regret a single penny waving goodbye to us. Indeed, the prices really are on the expensive side - our raw lasagna nearly cost 15 pounds and the burger, the cheapest main dish, was 9.80, but the food was at an incredibly high standard, very filling, very well served in an enjoyable ambiance so that I let them have five happy cows for that.
Unfortunately, we didn't have enough money left to try one of their raw superfood shakes - next time!

Pros: delicious!, healthy food, freshly prepared

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Good - Edit

We tried this place again to see if it had improved. Yes it has, The food was just lovely, and they did have some cheaper options as well which is great. We had a chickpea Crepe which was divine (main course) and we also had a red pepper cashew cheese wrap which was very tasty. For desert we had the chocolate torte just lovely. Really glad we decided to try again.

Updated from previous review on Wednesday June 16, 2010
We went this restaurant when it first opened and then again this week. The one in Shoreditch curtain street is much better than this one. The food is a little expensive for its setting in the middle of the wholefoods market. The first time we went we enjoyed the food, the second time the food was not wonderful, quite boring, and very expensive for a lunch time. It is good that everything is vegan but I think they could do better.

Pros: all vegan, good staff

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One of the best - Edit

Besides the California experiences this is one of the most inspiring places to visit for a raww food enthusiast.

The place has some fine dining components that I personally prefer, and the staff are gently, and not to fast. Wich adds to the fine dining experience. The food was OK, but the desserts outstanding and worth it all. And I liked the opportunity to have a glass of wine.

Pros: nice desserts, wine, Fine dining atmosphere

Cons: price?

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