CLOSED: The Den at Twenty Three

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 16 reviews )



23 Crouch St, Colchester, England, CO33EN

Open March 2015 a vegan diner offering breakfast and lunch, gourmet burgers and hotdogs, waffles, ice cream, cake, tea and coffee. Confirmed closed December 2017.

Categories: Vegan, Take-out

16 Reviews

First Review by claire lille

Tasty special, no hot drinks - Edit

We went to The Den yesterday for a birthday lunch, as I am vegan. It was my best friends first time at a vegan place, and I wanted her to be impressed. When we arrived, close to 2pm, there were no tables inside, so we asked the person at the counter whether we could sit outside with a coffee while we waited. She tersely told us that they weren't serving hot drinks anymore, and we could only have cold drinks out the fridge (not ideal while you are sitting outside on a cold November day). However, when a table did become available, she did come out and tell us and told us where to go promptly.

We both chose the falafel burger which was a special, and was really nice. The menu was limited though. It was all burgers. I was hoping for a bit more variety. It would be been nice to have a stew or something else which is easy to prepare in advance and then keep warm throughout the day (up to 4 hours usually). There were also no cakes at all, and a limited cold drink selection (and of course no hot drinks).

I also found the basket difficult to eat out of (I wanted to use a knife and fork) and would have preferred a plate. Salad as an option instead of tortilla chips would have been nice, but the tortillas were nice and not too salty.

Later, another table was delivered hot drinks, so I asked the waitress as she passed back to the kitchen, as we had been told they weren't doing hot drinks. She told me that they had resumed hot drinks now as they weren't so busy, but didn't offer us one.

We were disappointed that the service was not delivered with a smile. Having worked in food and beverage, we both completely get how awful it can be, particularly when you are in a small space and it's busy. But a smile costs nothing, and we would have been far more satisfied if we had been told that hot drinks were temporarily suspended (because their barista wasn't in) and that they would let us know when they came available again. In the event, we ended up having coffees at another independent cafe which turned out to have some great vegan friendly options.

My experience of good vegan restaurants is that you feel like you have entered a friends home, and that is what makes people go back again and again. The Den is a casual place suitable for children and adults alike, but I think we must have caught them on a bad day, which we found unfortunate.

Pros: falafel burger was nice.

Cons: limited menu, all burgers, no hot drinks and limited cold drink selections, customer service wasn't as expected.

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Love this place - Edit

Lovely staff and amazing food. Conveniently located in the town centre. Only quibble is it's not open later.

Pros: Great food, Friendly staff, Good prices

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Yummy! - Edit

Always my go-to when I'm in town. Service is sometimes a little slow, but it never bothers me because the food & staff are so wonderful! Definitely recommend to anyone ✨

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The BEST vegan cheesecake - Edit

Very friendly service. The food and drinks are beautifully presented and delicious. They also happen to have the best cheesecake I have ever had!

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always so welcoming - Edit

I can always rely on the den to give me yummy vegan food That's different to what I cook at home. Jens cakes are particularly good

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Delicious burgers - Edit

The den at 23 is a nice stop for lunch. The burgers are delicious, with good combinations of flavours. The interior is light, but seating is somewhat cramped. Burgers are somewhat pricey, do not come with chips :(, and extras, such as avocado or hummus, cost an extra £1 each. The menu is sizable if you're willing to pay for the extras. It certainly offers the best vegan burgers available in Colchester, despite a few minor issues

Pros: Very good burger, Breakfast and toasties very good

Cons: Expensive, with additional charges for some fillin, No chips, Cramped

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Quality and tasty food. - Edit

My partner and I had lunch there a couple of months ago. Very nice burguers and amazing cupcakes!
A wider variety of mains would be great.

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Best burgers in town - Edit

Amazing range or burgers, sandwiches, panini's all with violife and fake meat. Also amazing waffles and ice cream as well as hot chocolates, milkshakes and a fridge full of lunch ideas.

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Good vibe, good food in small portions - Edit

We visited for breakfast. A few others there too which was great to see, but we still found seats upstairs. I liked that they don't plaster 'vegan' across the front! Decor is a mixture of white and pine, and swirly and colourful in a restrained way. There doesn't appear to be much ventilation which was a real shame; it makes for smelly clothes and the fumes were visible. The serving staff were lovely. We both had the breakfast bagel with a sausage and a tofu omelette. It was very tasty and done well. My companion was still hungry afterwards (they could at least have given us two sausages! he said) and for the price i agree it could have been more substantial. But hey we were glad the place was there at all and enjoyed the visit.
Updated from previous review on Sunday February 21, 2016

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Super vegan lunching. - Edit

My friend and I had a happy long lunch here on a day trip to the city.
The decor is fresh and modern, the cafe clean and welcoming, the staff are friendly and efficient and the food tasty.
We shared the sausage/omelette bagel and a quarter pounder burger. The burger was tasty and filling and came with fresh salad. We weren't sure what to expect with the bagel filled with sausage and 'omelette' but that too was tasty. Of course, it can't quite be compared to the egg omelettes we remembered from long ago but it was yummy in its own vegan right!
The lemon drizzle cup cake and chocolate/coffee icing cakes were light, moist and full of flavour. Happily too, they weren't over-iced with too much sweet 'butter'cream as vegan cupcakes are often these days.
A great place for a vegan lunch. And you can stock up on Vego and other choccie bars there for later.

Pros: Clean and welcoming., Simple, tasty burgers., Delicious cakes.

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super friendly staff, tasty food - Edit

Had burgers, drinks and a sweet afterwards with my sister. The food was all tasty and the meal size was great. The staff were super friendly and helped you out with the menu in choosing what to get, with some good suggestions for drinks (they do soft drinks with ice cream! floats or spiders or whatever you call them here hahah). The food came out quick. Obviously all with the premium price, as you come to expect if you wanna eat at a vegan cafe. Free wifi :) - Daniel

Pros: tasty food, friendly staff, came out quick

Cons: pricey as usual, burger could have been slightly warmer

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Nice to have a Vegan Cafe close by - Edit

I enjoyed my burger here, my partner had the waffle. They were tasty... but did not taste homemade or fresh, we saw them just warm up the waffle... really wish they made things fresh to order, as waffles are quite easy to make and seeing as it took quite awhile to be served, I assumed it would be more home made. Hopefully one day they can expand their kitchen so they can prepare more things on site as it seemed they only had 2 George Forman grills.

I would go here again...because I believe in suppoting vegan businesses and they really are trying.

Updated from previous review on Thursday October 29, 2015

Pros: vegan, friendly, decent prices

Cons: not fresh, waiting times

1 Response
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JenniferDunn 24 Nov 2015 -
Hi Zombbunny

Thank you for your visit and your review.

We are really glad that you enjoyed the food, (despite having some disappointment in our cooking arrangements!)

To give you some explanation on our set up and practices...

We're pleased to say our waffles are indeed homemade (in fact I don't think you can even buy ready made vegan waffles!)
To begin with we did make them fresh to order, however this unfortunately became impractical in the long term (due to space and time restrictions). So instead we now cook the batter fresh each morning and then retoast the waffles as and when required. (and thankfully we have enjoyed very good feedback on them so far.)

You are correct in noticing our burgers aren't homemade. It was our intention before launching that we would make our own burgers, but we unfortunately soon recognised our limitations as a team of two, and had to make a choice to either scrap burgers altogether, or offer a ready-made alternative.
As we were keen to offer as much choice as possible, we decided to source what we believe are delicious burgers from some great vegan companies (for example our Mexican burgers which are handmade in Devon and are organic, and our 1/4 pounders burgers from one of Britain's most ethical food producers).

We do apologise that you experienced a wait during your visit.
We can get exceedingly busy at weekends and also school holidays, which can affect service times, so if you visited on any of these occasions that could explain the delay. We do always try to forewarn our customers of any potential wait time before they order, so I apologise if this wasn't the case when you visited.

As for our griddles-yes they are small, and we are looking to upgrade!

We do hope you will continue to stay with us throughout our journey, as we look to improve on our staffing levels, equipment and hopefully one day our premises!

Many thanks again for your custom,

Kind regards,
Jen and Rob

The Den at 23  

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I am so lucky to have this 100% vegan café near me. The staff are so friendly and always adding new things to the menu and tell you what they recommend. I have been there 6 times now and working my way through the all of tasty treats such as cupcakes violife Panini's, sundried tomato chickpea toasties, burgers, salads, hotdogs, chilli dogs and nachos! The highlight of my vegan life is the waffles with maple syrup and a choice of Food Heaven ice cream, I recommend the blueberry. They also do a great range of hot and cold drinks such as soya milk with syrups and hot chocolate with whipped cream and mini freedom mallows, both of which they sell. You can buy lots of vegan treats like Vego bars, crisps, and wagon wheels. The best place ever so really worth a visit!

Pros: Lovely staff, Good choice, WAFFLES:)

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Tasty burger - Edit

I really enjoyed my burger and was pleased to see there was an option to add a slice of Violife cheese. I was a bit disappointed there were no chips on offer - only Doritos-type crisps. The side salad was a bit plain with just lettuce and tomatoes and there was no dressing.

Overall it was good and I enjoyed my meal

Pros: tasty burger, ok prices

Cons: no chips, no salad dressing

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Colchester's only vegan cafe - Edit

Nice place which I will support whenever I'm in Colchester, although I was a little disappointed at the menu - it seemed to be a vegan take on fast food classics such as burgers and chilli dogs using vegan replacement cheese, mayo, and cream on the waffles. I visited in June and had a sandwich with a chickpea filling, a cupcake and a soy latte which were all delicious but would like to see some healthier options:)

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Brilliant new cafe - Edit

A brilliant new cafe opened this month in Colchester Essex. It is called the Den at twenty three or just the Den. I was so excited the first day going to it as it is vegan and so am I. I could eat anything. Staff very friendly, food great, nice place to eat and look out the window, road not too busy. I hope the couple running it do well. Best of luck to you both and please open another in Chelmsford, I would love to see the Den up and down the country.

Pros: Vegan food, In the centre of Colchester, Great food

Cons: None

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