Image credit: Redemption
Going out for dinner can often mean over-eating and taking in more calories than you usually would (well, it can for me anyway!). And if you’re trying your best to make a healthy choice and decide to opt for a salad, more often than not you’ll be left with food envy while you watch everyone else enjoy mouth-watering, indulgent dishes that don’t really compare to quinoa and leafy greens.
But is it possible to offer healthy food that everyone can enjoy and won’t leave you harbouring the green-eyed monster? Redemption bar and restaurant does just that. Coined ‘the world’s healthiest bar and restaurant’, Redemption is a vegan, gluten- and alcohol-free eatery that offers only low-sugar wholefoods that are chock-full of ‘functional foods’, such as charcoal powder, pine pollen and medicinal mushrooms.
According to Big Hospitality, the brand is co-founded by executive chef Andrea Waters and former Virgin brand director Catherine Salway, with an eclectic menu that includes kale Caesar salad, brown rice penne pasta, vegan Bolognese and pecan ‘parmesan’.
The chain has branches in Notting Hill and Shoreditch, but only recently opened their Seven Dials site in December 2018 after a successful crowdfunding campaign raised £300,000 for the new 45-cover flagship. But if the venue is fully booked, not to worry, as you can also order your food to go.
Redemption was founded in 2014 by Salway, starting off as various pop-ups around the Hackneys and West London areas with the first bricks-and-mortar site coming to fruition in January 2016.
“When we first started out, people thought we were mad,” Salway told Big Hospitality. “But we’ve worked hard to earn our stripes.”
“With this beautiful flagship in the centre of London, it feels like Redemption is now realising its potential and we can bring the entire ‘spoil yourself without spoiling yourself’ vision to life.”
This motto is prevalent not just in the brand’s dishes, but in their personality. Their website details the brand’s belief that socialising shouldn’t mean over-indulgence of bad food that negatively impacts the environment: “Welcome to Redemption, where the toughest decision you make is to come, and after that you can’t make a bad decision for yourself or the planet.
“Why should socialising always be at the expense of your health? This is the question we asked ourselves in creating the idea for Redemption.”
As well as enjoying a range of vegan dishes, Redemption only offer alcohol-free beverages, which include a range of alcohol-free mocktails such as piña coladas, lychee and yuzu martinis and frozen pineapple margaritas. If mocktails aren’t your tipple of choice, you can also enjoy a range of alcohol-free wine and beers or enjoy a cold glass of Kombucha - on tap!
This mindset is one of the reasons I created Kolibri, because I felt as though there weren’t enough soft drinks out there to delight people going alcohol-free, so to see brands offering diners more choice in the way of soft drink options is a big win in my eyes. It also sends a message that having a good time with friends and family doesn’t require alcohol, something that I believe more and more people are starting to understand, particularly with the rise of Dry January and alcohol-free alternatives entering the market, like Kolibri.
Something else that I am a big believer in is personalisation, and Redemption are also big into offering their diners bespoke experiences with a ‘build-your-own Buddha bowl’ counter where diners can “customise their order with options of seasonal vegetables, fruits pulse-based salads, nuts seeds and dips,” says Big Hospitality.
This ideology of clean, guilt-free eating has never been more popular, and I believe Redemption’s success comes from tapping into a market that is asking for more and more clean and healthy food and drink that is not only good for them, but also for the planet.
Redemption is just one of many brands who have answered the call for more plant-based, healthy alternatives. There are many vegan restaurants cropping up all over London, from Cafe Van Gogh in Brixton to CookDaily in Shoreditch, all of which have their own take on veganism with each bringing something uniquely delicious to the table.
It seems veganism is no longer viewed as just eating raw vegetables, pulses and fruit, with the above vegan restaurants showing just how versatile veganism can be in all its creative glory. It’s no wonder the lifestyle is taking off, in fact, Veganuary reported that a whopping 250,000 people took part in Veganuary this year alone.
And with brands such as Redemption and Kolibri making it easier than ever to make healthy food and drink choices, who knows what exciting new ventures and dining experiences will be entering the market in the years to come.