Losing My Veganity


Last night I had my first ever vegetarian meal at the Redemption Bar in Shoreditch. And I had the privilege of dining there in the company of the vivacious Emily Davison from Fashioneyesta, this being our third meeting together. And we had a lovely time.

Emily looked stunning as per usual, and you can see a detailed description and photos of her outfit and makeup in her blog post about the day.

She is very familiar with vegetarian and vegan food, but I’m not. The only time I can recall consuming anything vegetarian is having occasional things like vegetarian sausage rolls at buffets in the past, usually when I’ve picked them up by accident, or if they gave us some vegetarian substitute for something in school. And I was never particularly keen on it at the time.

So I’ve always been a meat and fish eater, though I do like other things like pasta as well. Obviously I eat vegetables with meals too, though it’s supermarket bought stuff for the most part as it’s convenient and what we’ve always done. So it’s probably not the healthiest way of doing it. And I don’t mind a little bit of salad with things – I used to hate it as a kid, but as an adult it hasn’t bothered me when I’ve got a salad garnish with things like burgers or other meat dishes while I’m out and about. I don’t have salad as a meal on its own though.

So when Emily asked if I wanted to and try Redemption with her, it was obviously a great opportunity to try something different, so I was definitely up for it. Redemption serve natural, healthy vegetarian and vegan food that is free of gluten, sugar and wheat, along with non-alcoholic ‘mocktails’ in a wide variety of flavours. And the menu did look very intriguing.

So we headed down there, using the map apps on our phones to show the way. It’s only a 10 minute walk from Shoreditch High Street station, but not the easiest to find if you don’t know the area well. But we got there, and were made to feel very welcome. And it was very busy, it appears to be a very popular place.

For the main course I had asparagus & spinach black rice risotto, described on their menu as “asparagus, spinach and peas black rice risotto topped with salsa verde, pecan nut ‘parmesan’ and rocket”. It was a step into the unknown, not being the kind of meal I would usually order in a restaurant, but I was pleasantly surprised, it was very nice. Emily enjoyed her courgette pasta dish too. She let me try a bit of it, and it was nice for sure. You can tell you’re eating natural, healthy food from the way it tastes and feels, and I mean that in a good way. The portion sizes are very generous too, you get a lot for your money.

Emily smiling and wearing a burgundy coloured top with orange and pink flowers. On the table in front of her is a big plate of courgette pasta, and a cranberry cocktail.

To drink with it I had a Pious Pina Colada mocktail, which they describe as “a tropical combination of fresh pineapple juice, lemon juice, pineapple chunks, coconut kefir, coconut yoghurt and coconut milk blended with ice”. This was a very sweet cocktail, but not overpoweringly so, so it tasted pretty good. I do like pineapple and coconut, and the combination worked well together here. Emily, meanwhile, had the Crantini which, as the name suggests, is cranberry flavoured. I tried a sip of that as well, and I can see why she liked it.

My large plate of asparagus & spinach black rice risotto, with a frothy white coconut and pineapple pina colada cocktail

For dessert we both had the lime cheesecake, described as “zesty lime cheesecake made from cashew nut cream, vanilla and coconut oil on an almond and sprouted buckwheat base, drizzled with raspberry coulis”. It’s an accurate description, as the lime flavour comes across very strongly, the cheesecake had a lovely soft texture to it, and the raspberry flavouring on the top was a tasty addition. Indeed, it was presented very nicely. It’s what you might call a very Instagrammable dessert.

They were lovely big slices too, to the point where I had to be chivalrous and help Emily to finish hers off. Which I had no objections to given how delicious it was. It seems Captain Caption is expanding his superhero credentials to food now, lol! I really ought to get that title on a t-shirt or a cape or something. Seriously, it’s a name that’s stuck – we both agree it ought to be made official in some way, now that I’ve subtitled so many videos for her (47 and counting so far). So if anyone has any good ideas for designs or how to get it done, feel free to let me know! I’d love to surprise Emily at a future meetup!

Emily with a slice of lime cheesecake covered in raspberry sauce, and a large mug of hot chocolate.

Anyway, we both accompanied our dessert with a big mug of hot chocolate as well, which they call “Wake Me Up Before You Coco”, described as “organic hot chocolate made with raw cacao and coconut milk”. And again this was nice. I think I still prefer the more traditional hot chocolate drinks that I’m used to – indeed, I still need to try some in London – but this still made a nice change.

My large mug of hot chocolate

Then, to finish, we washed our food down with one more mocktail each, as we had wanted to try more than one of the flavours. Emily went for the apple one and, while I was very tempted by it, I wanted us to try different things so that we could sample each others if we wanted to. So I opted for a Redemption Royale instead, described as “a delicate fusion of frozen pomegranate and strawberry puree topped up with sparkling rose water”. This was a nice, refreshing way to finish the meal, as was Emily’s apple drink.

By the end of it all, we were very pleasantly stuffed, and very pleased with the service we received. We wanted to stop and take selfies by the angel wings on the wall outside as we left, but as it was raining at that point we didn’t want to hang around any longer than necessary! That was a shame, but still, I can always do it if I make a return visit – and I would be happy to do so one day, to try some of their other dishes and mocktails.

So a huge thanks again to Emily for inviting me along! It was a great evening, and the food and drink there is very good. I definitely recommend giving it a go if you’ve not been to Redemption before. Even if you’re not vegetarian or vegan, you would still enjoy it.

Emily smiling and holding her camera, with a large mug of hot chocolate on the table in front of her

Sure, it hasn’t persuaded me to become a vegetarian overnight – I wouldn’t take the praise that far, and I doubt any single place could do that to be fair. But then I wasn’t going there with that in mind anyway – I just wanted to try something different and have a good night with a friend. However, it has definitely made me more open to eating those types of dishes when I go out, given that I’ve not really paid them much attention before. Being adventurous here in the big city has been one of the important things for me since I moved here, and this was a good opportunity to do that where eating is concerned. And it’s a very healthy way of doing it too. So I’m very glad I did it, I wasn’t disappointed. I would be happy to go back to that restaurant, or another one like it.

But finally, talking of adventures, I have a particularly big one this coming weekend, involving another exciting new experience. I’m going to be one of the speakers at the Nystagmus Network’s Open Day in Birmingham on Saturday, the first time I’ll have done any public speaking about my experiences as a visually impaired person. So it’s going to be very interesting. I’ll write a blog about it after I get back of course, but I’m also going to try filming my first ever travel vlog while I’m away too. So, if it comes out alright, look out for Glen Cam Episode 1 next week… 😉

Author: Glen

Vsually impaired, with Aniridia & Nystagmus. I'm a fan of Doctor Who, classic sitcoms, Queen and 60s-80s rock & pop. I like to blog about my experiences as a disabled person, and about the things I enjoy in general.

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