Reviewed by Ruman
As a Muslim I don’t drink alcohol so it’s fairly obvious why Redemption Bar , London’s first alcohol free bar, appealed to me. I’ve had non-alcoholic drinks at various restaurants, cafés, pop-ups and beach bars around the world but they are normally accompanied with a heavy meal that leaves me feeling guilty before I’ve reached dessert. As Muslims, we consume a lot of meat. It’s part of our daily diet and the halal food industry is thriving because of our excessive meat consumption. With it’s vegan-friendly, gluten-free menu developed by a nutritional therapist, Redemption offers healthy and great tasting dishes that are free from the bad stuff. Let’s be honest, when most people think of raw, vegan or gluten-free meals they think ‘boring’. Redemption Bar challenges this with Instagram-worthy dishes that leave you feeling satisfied yet guilt free.
Situated in Notting Hill, Redemption Bar started as a pop up in Hackney, Holborn and Portobello. The décor in the new permanent site is welcoming with marble-topped tables, a neon-sign hanging on the wall near the bar and tea lights in jars. My cousin & I arrived just after 6pm on a Monday and the bar had slowly filled up by the time we had left. The lighting was low and the music added to the relaxed vibe, making it a place you would want to hang out in with friends, colleagues or family.
I ordered the ‘baked sweet potato’ which was topped with yoghurt, pomegranate seeds and spring onions as well as the ‘raw zucchini pasta con pesto’ which was raw courgette spaghetti, tossed in walnut and pumpkin seed pesto and topped with a rocket and tomato salad with Brazil nut ‘parmesan’. The potato was baked perfectly with the yoghurt complementing its sweetness well and both dishes were packed with flavours. The portions were generous too.
On the recommendation of our waitress, the food was accompanied with a ‘coco-tini’ – a coconut water based, berry infused ‘martini’ shaken over ice with a squeeze of lime cherry and an ‘apple mock-jito’ consisting of muddle apple presse, lime and fresh mint served over ice and topped with soda. The drinks had a perfect balance of flavours with the taste from the coconut water in the coco-tini coming through but not overpowering the berry. The apple mock-jito was refreshing with the lime adding a kick to the drink.
For dessert, I opted for the ‘dark chocolate tart’ made with raw cacao, avocado, coconut and date ganache on a hazelnut and medjool date crust. The bar’s mantra is ‘spoil yourself without spoiling yourself’ and for me, this dessert captured just that. My cousin ordered the ‘English summer cheesecake’ which was a strawberry cheesecake made from strawberries, cashews and coconut on an almond and medjool date base. The desserts tasted so good that I had to remind myself that they were made from raw, in-season ingredients and without any added sugar.
Redemption Bar offers an alternative for those who want an alcohol-free night whether alcohol is already part of their diet or not. As the Redemption site states, the bar offers a space away from temptation (be that alcohol, wheat, dairy, meat or sugar) that still feels like a treat. I will definitely be going back for a second helping of that dark chocolate tart!
Click here to find out more about Redemption Bar.
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Having recently graduated from SOAS with a BA in History, Ruman is now part of the team at Halal Gems and is a founding committee member of the award-winning Ramadan Tent Project. Forever consumed by a mixture of wanderlust and FOMO, her interests include all things social media, travel, charity and food. When she’s not behind a screen at Halal Gems HQ, you may find her wandering around galleries or checking out London’s newest openings.
You can follow Ruman on Instagram and Twitter.
Reviewed by Ruman