LONDON | Veganuary was a complete flop. Well for me at least. Hours of initial enthusiasm and meal planning fell flat upon the seducing aromas of buttermilk fried chicken, freshly ground burgers, mint lamb… you get the drift. For a carnivorous eater like myself, entirely omitting meat and dairy proved challenging, apart from when it came to dining out. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would have noticed a steady rise in vegan eateries – many of which serve a mouth watering selection of foods worthy of winning over all sorts of taste buds. Enter Redemption, a laid back plush restaurant with branches in Shoreditch and Notting Hill. Not only is it vegan, the restaurant aims to bolster one’s well-being serving wheat-free, raw, sugar-free, non-alcoholic cocktails, organic where possible whilst aiming to recycle 90% of their waste. We can safely say that their mantra ‘spoil yourself without spoiling yourself’ is apt.
Upon entering the cosy Shoreditch branch of Redemption Bar you’re met with a painfully cool conservatory style interior, coupled with spotless white walls and forest green velvet seating – it just oozes classiness. The neon pink ‘Redemption’ sign adds a touch of 80’s glamour which works perfectly for the casual and trendy location.
We met with owner Catherine Salway who took us through the steadily rising trajectory of the restaurant and the menu, with dishes designed by renowned executive chef Andrea Waters. Of opening a alcohol-free, vegan restaurant in a town where people like their drink, Salway said “People thought we were mad to create an alcohol-free vegan space in the world’s most notoriously boozy city, but we all need a break from the usual temptations and toxins from time to time. Our job is to make it glamorous, sexy and cool to make the healthy choice. My job is to create a menu of beautiful dishes and drinks which are as delicious as they are nutritious. You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy it and to have a good time with us.”
The fuss-free menu draws from across several cuisines for the Savoury Dishes (starters and mains) – there’s Asian, the Maki rolls platter and Tokyo Salad, to Italian, wild mushroom black rice risotto, to inventive dishes, sweetcorn and red pepper pancakes. There’s eye catching ‘Good for you desserts’ such as acai berry and vanilla cheesecake, smoothies and cocktails such as ‘Coco-rita’ an alternative to Margarita and ‘Apple Mock-Jito’.
The sugar free, alcohol free Pina Colada started got us off to a winning start. It was hard to believe there wasn’t any alcohol or sugar but thanks to the kefir, there’s a real sweet kick. We went on to sample the Maki rolls and Firecracker Cauli garnished with red chillies, spring onions and sesame seeds. The Cauli dish delivered a pleasing alternative to a meaty dish – sweet and rich with flavour. The colourful Maki Platter consisted of quinoa, crunchy fresh vegetables wrapped in seaweed with soy sauce. One could taste the high quality of foods and preparation with both dishes down to the beautiful presentation. Service was effortlessly friendly and efficient – smiles all round with a real sense that the staff wanted to be there.
Redemption is a vegan’s haven and pretty much a budding/struggling vegan’s saviour. The flavours and texture of the dishes trump a lot of meat and dairy based meals and makes for a worthy break from our daily consumption of naughtiness!
Redemption is still new to the scene, but at this rate, 2017 is set to be a winning year for these guys. Not quite vegan yet, but I’ll be ordering the odd Redemption lunch via Deliveroo to fill in my sin-free-eating quota. In the world of Salway “In Redemption we have created a sanctuary where the toughest decision you’ll make is to come – and after that you can’t make a bad decision for yourself or the planet.”
320 Old Street
London EC1V 9DR
Mon – Fri: 12:00pm to 10:30pm
Sat: 10:00am to 10:30pm
Sun: 10:00am to 5:00pm