A friend who lives in Denmead told me that a new vegetarian/vegan cafe called Happy Healthy would be relocating from Whiteley to Denmead very soon. It took a while for them to do so meaning that every time I saw her I’d ask “Are they open yet? Are they open yet” for weeks, if not months. Finally, they are and funnily enough I happened to pay them a visit on their very first day of opening, just by chance.
I was out for a country walk with a friend which took us through the village so we stopped off for a drink to take away with us (we were short on time), I chose Folkingtons elderflower which I must admit, I wasn’t too keen on. We sampled both the vegan chocolate brownie and the banana loaf of which I took a slice home and Geoff and I had half each that evening, it was very tasty. Unfortunately my friend and I had just bought a roll each from the Co-op up the road. After biting into it I realised it had chillies in (hot!) and cheese on top and possibly inside (we meant to pick up the black olive rolls, the labels were wrong). I mentioned it to my vegan friend but it was too late as he’d already scoffed the lot. Oops 😀 Had we known that Happy Healthy were open we would have stopped there to pick up some grub instead.
The deli shelves were being erected and we had a chat with the proprietor. The decor is kind of shabby chic, it’s all kind of hippy colours with painted distressed tables and chairs.
Returning home from a cycle ride a week later I popped in for lunch. As well as the menu there are daily specials written on the blackboards inside on the wall and also on the mirrors, which are easy to miss so take a good look or ask.
I enjoyed a wholemeal pitta bread pizza with mushrooms and red peppers with cashew cream cheese and it was really very nice. I also had the Ginger Beet smoothie which consisted of ginger, beetroot, pineapple and blueberries. I don’t generally have smoothies but I knew I loved the Sweet Beet juice from The Natural Deli in Bishops Waltham so thought I’d give it a try but a smoothie is a lot more ‘bitty’ and thicker than a juice so I’m not sure I’d have another.
I took home a slice of both the chocolate brownie and the banana loaf this time.
Geoff and I paid them a visit a few weeks ago on a Saturday for lunch. Now Geoff’s not a vegetarian nor a vegan (nor am I really but I have had to change my diet recently due to problems with my gallbladder which I’ve now had removed so I’ve had to adopt to that way of eating) but as he knew they would have lots of things there I’d be able to eat he didn’t mind. Aw, he’s such a kind man.
Inevitably, Geoff went for the soup of the day – always a creature of comfort is Geoff. He had the organic tomato & basil soup which was served with super fresh wholemeal bread.
I had the country mushroom pie with roasted sweet potatoes.
This was very nice although I think it could have done with a few more mushrooms.
We had a brownie each, I took home half of mine as I couldn’t manage it all. It wasn’t as nice as the ones I’d had previously, which was disappointing but when I had the other half later that evening it did seem better. Perhaps it had come from the fridge and it was a little hard? I’m not sure.
The coffee’s weren’t so good, they tasted burnt so I left most of mine.
The shelves need to have more on them, it’s too sparse, perhaps less shelving and perhaps a ‘living wall’ (I’m always on about this but I think it’s a really good idea, Southsea Coffee have an excellent one and I know of another place which have herbs they use in their food). Still, it’s early days yet. I took home a box of Birchall’s Green Tea & Peach which I’d had before at Southwick Village Store & Tearoom and it’s very nice.
The service was very friendly and good although it seemed they were all rather young and eating at the counter is not really a very professional look 😉
Geoff also said he would return, although as he’s not vegetarian or vegan it wouldn’t be his first go-to of course – he prefers things like bacon butties! But they do have scrambled eggs on toast on the menu and he likes that too.
I went back again today for lunch with my sister and it was a better experience than my last visit.
The specials sounded excellent today which included the following dishes – goats cheese & sunblushed tomato roulade (which sounds lovely), warm orange & fennel salad with toasted walnuts and baked goats cheese & sweet potato salad with spicy tomato chutney.
I had the toasted granary seeded loaf (which was in fact wholemeal) with smashed avo’, roasted cherry tomatoes and an added extra, feta. This was lovely, the bread was wonderfully fresh again and there was plenty of feta cheese.
My sister had the cheddar cheese roll with spicy tomato & chutney, with a salad garnish and a little pot of chickpea crisps.
The banana bread was being made as we ordered but as we were leaving it still wasn’t ready, Godammit! We each shared both the chocolate brownie – which was gorgeous this time – and a cashew & apricot cookie. I’m going to have to ask for their recipes, the cakes and cookies are so good.
I don’t much care for apricot but this cookie was almost to die for. In fact, being the little piggy that I am I took home a slice of chocolate brownie and a cookie – got to share with Geoff when I get home, I must think of my poor husband.
I had a black Americano coffee and it was so much better than on the previous visit, perhaps it depends on who makes it.
Happy Healthy haven’t a toilet but there is one across the road in the free car park.
I do like this place very much and will definitely return.
Living life, loving cake