Redemption Bar offers an alcohol-free alternative to the otherwise intoxicated lifestyle in London. Not just tea-totallers can savour with poise the alcohol-free cocktails at this trendy bar in Shoreditch, London. The hipster and cool companies of this millennium approve coffee and tea at lunch, wine at al. must wait after work if even. Contemporary health obsession prescribes green juices and superfood tonics to charge you up and acro yoga as the social binder.
ORGANIC, VEGAN, NO ALCOHOL
Redemption started west in the then still hip Notting Hill as a casual, sugar-, gluten- and wheat-free vegan bar and café with a no alcohol bar curated by a nutritionist. It is still not the chic spot you would suggest for a date though, for that head east to its Old Street brother.
Spawning from the more rustic set-up in the West End’s Notting Hill, Redemption promises to “spoil yourself without spoiling yourself” also in Covent Garden and Shoreditch. The booze-free environment is a unique set up for a bar. Other, highly creative drinks are served so the patrons do not feel deprived of alcohol, the cultural construct celebrated until recently that now comes with warning labels.
While Shoreditch generally indulges in raw, untidy appearing interiors, Redemption radiates an ultra clean feel. Plants enveloped in a mossy stuffing accompany the marble tables. The quick bite counter faces a lush courtyard. Oxygenated with leafy greens, Redemption is a healthy space for work as it is generally not noisy during lunch as other cafés. A friendly service compensates for the snail speed kitchen. Relax, read or talk with your drinking partner at this Old Street branch, but do not bring in your boyfriend’s parents as we witnessed in Notting Hill recently. It was comical. The elderly British couple struggled over their Buddha bowls as their son’s vegan yogi love lectured them on healthy benefits of plant-based cuisine. A more casual introduction than taking them to the plush Farmacy around the corner.
Food-wise, the mostly organic plates are satisfying. While served in large helpings, you can take the rest away. “Californication”, the warm old favourite nesting in an earthen dish of baked sweet potatoes with button mushrooms, is ideal on a cold day. The mushrooms were cooked but tasting more like pickled pink onion, blanched spinach and a vibrant handful of radish sprouts topped it green. The Japanese cold brown rice salad with radishes, cilantro, hijiki seaweed and raw cucumbers, dressed in white miso with avocado and sesame sprinkle is a better side dish. Too rich, so get a half portion. The Kale Caesar with gluten-free croutons and vegan “rawmesan” was moist and yummy. RAW foodies find all dishes prepared under 42degrees clearly marked. The mostly raw desserts with superfoods like chocolate or açai berries look ravishing but order less before to keep some space. A ruby forest gateau of rich chocolate mousse on a nutty chocolate base with raspberries and crème Chantilly is waiting for me.
Going booze free here means savouring creative liquid flavours in house-made infusions, fragrant low-calorie sparkling rose water and other fruit and herb cordials. “Fruities” like lemongrass lemonade with chilli, maple and sparkling mineral water, pure salvation (orange , pineapple, lemon and raspberry puree), heart beets (beetroot, orange, lime, ginger, coconut water), apple mockjito (muddled apple presse, fresh mint and lime with sparkling mineral water). Fitbeer, an alcohol-free beer from Bavaria (only 66 calories!). Bees Knees, an alcohol-free rosé or white sparkling wine (only 33 calories per glass). Of course creative smoothies and dairy-free rainbow of lattes fill in the beverage menu in abundance. Still, I rather drink water than the not as wine tasting alcohol-free rosé.
The biking and tech-savvy eastern bite of London now beams with healthy, slow food options, but Redemption might be the best. Striking a central deal recently third branch opened in Neal’s Yard.
320 Old St, London EC1V 9DR; 6 Chepstow Road, London W2 5BH
Mon-Fri: 12noon-10:30pm; Sat: 10am-10:30pm; Sun 10am-5pm (9:30pm in Notting Hill)