Along with the ever-growing popularity of social media apps such as Instagram comes a sudden burst in pastel pink-painted, flower and glitter-adorned ‘Instagrammable’ cafés scattered across London. The desire for a perfect, colour-coordinated feed is changing the way we view eating out, and poses the question: would we prioritise aesthetics and the ‘Instagram factor’ over the quality of the food served?

Cafés and establishments such as Peggy Porschen Cakes, Saint Aymes and Elan Café feature on the Instagram accounts of almost all popular London bloggers. While baby-pink hot chocolates and dainty, colourful cakes may look tempting, the reality often is that they are unreasonably overpriced and the cafés are uncomfortably busy. These establishments pride themselves on being ‘Instagram-friendly’, with their main priority clearly being their visual aesthetics; however, this is not to say that the food is disappointing: these eateries offer a vast range of scrumptious cakes and other sweet treats that are most often as delicious as they look.

Often, reservations are required to be able to eat at these high-demand ‘Instagram cafés’, and queues are not uncommon outside of them- I waited in line for around twenty-five minutes during my visit to Elan Café in Mayfair last year. Inside, staff are obviously unfazed by the customers’ constant photo-taking (myself included), and even offer to take photographs for the customers- after all, the more photographs posted on social media, the more publicity for the café. The food was undoubtedly very tasty, with the experience made even better by the floral and aesthetically-pleasing surroundings, although the hot chocolate and popcorn-blondie that I ordered were significantly more expensive than equivalent snacks in other coffee shops and tearooms around the city. The customer is very much paying for the elite experience of eating at a blogger-revered café, surrounded by captivating neon signs and walls covered entirely in beautiful, blush-pink roses.

London is not the only city that is experiencing a sudden rise in ‘Instagram cafés’- they are popping up in big cities all over the world, such as Amsterdam, New York, Los Angeles, and Sydney. Whether these establishments are a justified and exciting business opportunity or overpriced and ridiculous is a matter of opinion, but the fact is that they are remaining popular all year round due to the hundreds of social media bloggers and influencers giving them publicity. ‘Instagram cafés’ are practically always successful, revealing how sometimes irrationally important social media is to the new generations.