Walking into Palm Vaults, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d walked onto the set of a Seventies TV show, or even into a jungle.
Welcome to Hackney’s most Instagrammable café, bringing colourful coffees and planet-friendly treats to Mare Street.
As I walked through the entrance, I was greeted by two smiley baristas and a huge array of cakes and cacti. Pink and green seemed to be the running theme, with huge pink pots of cacti and succulents hanging from the ceiling above diners who were eating food of a similar hue.
My waitress for the morning, Ranny Cooper, explained she’s an illustration graduate based locally. She has worked as a barista for four years alongside her studies, and joined Palm Vaults in August 2016.
Ranny explained the ethos of Palm Vaults to EastLondonLines: “We serve vegetarian and vegan food just because our boss is a vegan. Animal rights are so important and we need to treat the planet properly! We’re not 100 per cent vegan because we want to offer people options but we cater mainly for a vegan diet.”
Although Palm Vaults is only just reaching its first birthday, it has gained quite the following on social media from revellers desperate to try the aesthetically pleasing snacks, or simply to take selfies in the palm tree-embellished toilets. The hanging planters are a big hit with customers and staff alike.
“Plants bring life to a place. It’s nice having a tropical hub like this down such a bizarre street,” said Ranny. Each pastel marble table is adorned with vases of flowers and they even make their way into some of the menu – such as the Waterfall smoothie adorned with lavender.
The menu is a refreshing change from your standard coffee shop. It’s a must-visit for fruit lovers, as each smoothie crams in at least five pieces of exotic fruit and plant-based ingredients, topped off with coconut milk. The coffees are available with a variety of dairy-free milk options – coconut, oat and soya to name but a few.
But that’s only the beginning of the huge range of choice customers have, whether they’re just stopping for a quick caffeine fix or going all-out for brunch. From acai smoothie bowls to toasted banana bread, Palm Vaults somehow manages to inject a bit of pink into most items on offer.
Ranny told me how working at the cafe isn’t just about great customer service, it’s about experimenting with the plethora of plant-based ingredients they’re given to work with. “Although I love interacting with customers, my favourite thing about working here is making all of the fun food and drink,” she said.
“You feel like a scientist – I’m adding cacao to beetroot juice and I’m then going to be adding coffee, vanilla and agave… There are so many ingredients and it’s like you’re in chemistry class. So, it’s fun and we’re always trying to expand our recipes, always trying out something new, experimenting is really good.”
As for her personal favourites from the menu, she steers away from the most popular pink items. “There are far too many items I love” she laughed. “One of our tonic lattes, the golden latte, is really good. It’s juice, turmeric and ginger made with agave and oat milk. That is divine. Or I like our Unleash the Dragon smoothie made from pitaya, mango, banana, mint, dates, passion fruit and coconut milk.”
I asked her what the future’s looking like for Hackney’s prettiest coffee shop. “There are big things in store for Palm Vaults!” she smiled. “No spoilers, but stay tuned and keep following us!”
Look out for Palm Vaults on an Instagram feed near you – or head to 411 Mare Street, Hackney.