Hailed by the health crowd as being one of the best vegan restaurants in London, I pay a visit to Redemption Bar in Notting Hill for Good Things to find out if the plant-based dishes are really worth rooting for
After a few too many weeks (okay, months) of gluttonous overindulgence, paying a visit to Redemption Bar for dinner seems more like a necessity than just a nice meal out. There are only so many cheese platters one can consume before enough is enough.
The brainchild of two female entrepreneurs: Catherine Salway, with a background in business at Virgin; and Andrea Waters, an experienced restauranteur and raw chef, Redemption has been deemed as one of the coolest places to find a vegan bite, serving up sin-free food in both Notting Hill and Shoreditch. With an emphasis on eating to ‘spoil yourself without spoiling yourself,’ this seems like my kind of healthy dining.
I take the plunge and visit the Notting Hill site with a friend on a drizzly January night, arriving to find a little chic restaurant tucked away on a side street. Filled with twinkly lights dangling from the windows and plenty of chatting diners sitting beneath them on velvet chairs, it’s a buzzy, bright place. Not too busy, not too quiet – the Goldilocks of midweek dining.
Ravenously hungry, we waste no time in scouring the double-sided sheets before us. Meat’s off the menu of course, but so is sugar, wheat and alcohol. The sceptic in me questions whether taste might be too, but I’m pleasantly surprised when our drinks first arrive at the pretty marbled table.
The raspberry royale (£5.50) is deliciously refreshing, made from a blend of frozen raspberry puree and rose essence topped up with sparkling water. It’s bubbly and light – my insides feel better already. My friend ordered an apple mockjito (£4.95) which proves another hit – a mix of muddled apple presse, fresh mint and lime, served over crushed ice and topped up with soda water. We swap drinks and nod at each other in agreement – both are pretty good.
My eyes always tend to be bigger than my stomach so we skip starters and opt for two big mains with a sharedmaki roll platter (£12.75) instead. Our food arrives speedily (always a bonus when starving). I’m a big sushi fan, and the heaving platter of 12 maki rolls filled with quinoa, avocado and enoki mushroom proves a welcome sight. The rice-free rolls are surprisingly filling and a plate between two is definitely enough to share.
It’s our mains that are really worth trekking out in the rain for. We both opt for jackfruit rendang coconut curry(£12.50) – a rich Southeast Asian-style dish. The fresh jackfruit mimics the textures of pulled pork excellently, and the added fresh turmeric, lime and ginger adds a spicy kick that has me digging my spoon in again and again. The fruity curry comes paired with a hefty serving of jet black rice and cauliflower kimchi – like yin and yang, the contrasting colours look great on the plate together.
Not only atheistically pleasing, the ingredients in each dish have been chosen to help boost the body, whether it be to improve digestion or add an immunity hit. If you’re still battling your January resolutions, this is definitely where to find motivation. Food here is saintly but doesn’t taste like cardboard, making it excellent for ‘vegan virgins’ venturing out into the great unknown of trendy plant-based lifestyles. Dishes on offer don’t sound like typical diet food either. As well as curries, the fairly simple menu’s filled with burgers, risotto and even deceptively decadent desserts.
I watch a plate of cake sweep past my table and feel my sweet tooth envy kick in, even though it’s getting late. We order bliss balls (£5.75) to go – smooth raw dark chocolate and medjool date truffles, along with two creamy ‘wake me up before you coco’ (£3.50) hot chocolates. All organic, all raw – and all delicious. We happily devour the lot as we make our away along the picturesque Notting Hill pavements, reaching the tube just as we drain the last of our cups.
Consider me a convert – Redemption is turning rabbit food into stylish and creative feasts. Fuss-free, fairly inexpensive and not a faddy diet in sight – this is one January resolution worth sticking a fork into.
Make it happen
Where: 6 Chepstow Rd, London W2 5BH
Bookings: Phone 020 7313 9041 or click here to make a reservation
This article was originally published on GoodThingsMagazine.com