Redemption: Putting “Sexy” in Sustainable, Sober, and Sinless Dining
MAKING ETHICAL DINING AN EXCITING EXPERIENCE
The place to “spoil yourself without spoiling yourself”, Redemption is the brainchild of dynamic duo Catherine Salway and Andrea Waters, and in five years, has grown from a cult pop-up eatery, to a wellness haven with three buzzy spaces in Covent Garden, Notting Hill and Shoreditch. A glamorous and trendy atmosphere, with a focus on food that nourishes the body (there’s no alcohol, and the wholly vegan menu is sugar and wheat-free), as well as a strong stance in caring for animals and the planet, Redemption is here to put the panache in ‘principled’. With 58,000 followers on Instagram, a zero-waste endorsement in Vogue, and a celebrity following, we thought we’d see what all the fuss was about!
MARBLE, ‘MOCKJITOS’, AND A WHOLE LOTTA MILLENNIALS
Located of the cobbled streets of quaint Seven Dials, the Covent Garden venue was our Redemption Bar of choice. The sparkly and pastel pink window-front shows off the casual deli, where you can grab freshly-baked treats, refreshing salads, and frothy coffees – but walk along the narrow corridor to delve into the delightful restaurant and bar. A beautiful bar dominates a lot of the space, and visitors can choose to sit at any of the various short and tall tables, or in the pretty courtyard, all of which receive waiter-service. When it comes to decor, think “Instagram aesthetics” – luminous signs, marble tables, copper salt and pepper shakers, plush velvet stools with polished brass legs, and loads of foliage. To top it all off, the individually patterned wallpapers in each toilet cubicle make the lav an oddly appealing photo op!
Settling in, we perused the extensive cocktail menu, and tried out the strangely seductive sea foam sour. A purple concoction topped with a foamy surf, it’s hard to describe the flavour in any other way than that it tastes like the ocean smells; namely, salty. I’m definitely not doing its uniqueness justice – and it certainly wont be everybody’s cup of tea (seawater) – but we found it oddly addictive, and finished the glass. For something a little less alien, try the Ceder’s crisp & cucumber tonic – a gin and tonic, without the morning headache.
NOURISHING, NUTRITIOUS, AND GODDAMN DELICIOUS
A unique culinary experience, we felt it was our moral duty to work our way through as much of the menu as possible. To kick off, we snacked on the sharing antipasto board – a generous-sized, Italian inspired medley of smoked paprika and herb cashew cheese, chargrilled artichokes, marinated mushrooms, sun-blush cherry tomatoes, Italian olives and raw crackers. We were both especially big fans of the cashew cheese spread – and despite one of us being vegan, and the other a carnivore, were both in agreement that it could simply be enjoyed as a stand-alone, creamy spread, and not just a vegan cream cheese dupe that exclusively appeals to plant-based people.
For the main affair, we tried the jack soft tacos and buff burger, and scoffed chunky sweet potatoes and guacamole on the side. On first look, I have to admit, we were skeptical – the tacos were blue, and we were dubious as to how tasty the seeded charcoal brioche bun around the burger could really be – but they were actually both delicious, and more of just a quirky, plant-based twist on some well-known dishes, than a completely unconventional dining experience. The chunky sweet potatoes came out on top for us – they were topped with chipotle mayonnaise, spring onion and pomegranate seeds, and were the perfect consistency for scooping up chunky guacamole.
Missing out on dessert because you’ve been defeated by your first two courses is a truly devastating affair – so we got a take-away hazelnut brownie from the deli, for the road. A lover of all things sweet and decadent, cake that tastes like it’s good for you is not really my jam. Thankfully, the moorish, gooey and only naturally sweetened hazelnut brownie completely nailed the idea of ‘healthy indulgence’, and to be honest, didn’t make it past the first stop of my train journey home.
HEALTHY, HERBIVORE HEDONISM: THE VERDICT
We were pleasantly surprised by our visit to Redemption. Slightly more pricy than one would typically expect to pay for a casual meal out, they expertly balanced curating unique, one-off dishes, with ensuring that you were still guaranteed to eat something that you enjoyed, and leaving with a full stomach. A restaurant with a firmly-rooted ethos in caring for the planet, its animals, and ourselves, Redemption is far from a fad or trend, and is instead an innovative concept and movement, that’s earned its place as one of London’s top wellness institutions. Whether you’re plant-powered, fuelled by fish fingers, or a slave to a steak dinner, a visit to Redemption will nourish your body and soul.