A Messy Mexican burger with tortilla chips and salad

The Den Cafe, Colchester

I treated myself to lunch at The Den yesterday (you can read about my previous visits here and here).  I was pleased to see that there was a new low gluten option (meals without gluten-containing ingredients are marked as low gluten because they do not feel that they could say it is gluten free when there is a high risk of contamination in their small kitchen): a “Messy Mexican” burger made with soya, rice, beans and seeds, which was served with salsa, lime flavoured soya yoghurt, salad and either tortilla chips (low gluten version) or in a toasted bun.  I ordered this with added avocado, a cappuccino made from soya milk, and an Anandas gluten-free round up for afters.

A Messy Mexican burger with tortilla chips and salad

Something rather embarrassing happened when I came to pay.  My credit card, which was obviously tired and emotional after its busy morning, refused to scan.  That was okay though because I could pay in cash.  Unfortunately, I was 20p short.  I asked the owner to drop the extra avocado, and received the answer “No problem” and she took the money out of her own tips pot.  Obviously, I had no money for a tip, but you can guarantee that next time I visit I will leave a nice chunky tip!

It was only 11.30am, but the café was already starting to fill up so I took the opportunity to check out the upstairs seating area.  It has the same style as downstairs, but perhaps with added energy from the large scale murals.


The food was delicious and very filling.  I never learn that I don’t need a Round Up too as the main course is enough, but I enjoyed eating that treat, after the Allergy Brothers were in bed!  And, of course, the service went beyond good service and into genuine kindness.  I’ll be back.  With a working credit card.  And a big tip.


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