O-Food is a new restaurant in London where it’s all about food that is good for us AND good for the planet. The company is founder run and I went along for lunch with one of the founders, Jens Hannibal, and a few blogger friends (Helen, Natasha and Genevieve) to see what all the fuss is about.
Jens is very passionate about what he does. He describes himself as a ‘tree hugger’ who believes that we should all be paying a lot more attention to what we put in our bodies and where it comes from. Jens and his team are out to prove that a sustainable, friendly food chain can also be a sustainable and profitable business, and to ensure that all employees – from the management to the waiting staff – are working towards one common goal which they believe in, the employees own 10% of the company. The aim is to make O-Food a popular chain in the capital’s health food scene within the next 3 years, which sounds quite ambitious – until you try the food.
Jens developed O-Food’s menu with the help of two Norwegian chefs, one of whom own a two Michelin star restaurant. There is a focus on seafood and vegetarian food, though Jens recognises that we are a nation of carnivores, and so there is one meaty dish on the menu. The sandwiches are creative, stuffed with all the good stuff, and made with good bread (no Hovis here) which is made fresh daily in Brixton. The ingredients are in season and sourced in the UK where possible – those which come from further afield come from farmers not huge wholesalers. So the food really is good for you (in that it’s fresh and healthy) and good for the world (no mass produced meat, it doesn’t travel for miles and miles, and it is all grown/farmed in a sustainable way). ‘That’s all great but how does it taste?!’ IN-SANE. As a raging carnivore myself, I was sceptical. But the first bite shut me right up. I tried The Decoy (chicken from Sussex and button mushroom in light curry dressing with romaine, tomato and crispy bacon on sourdough roll) and it was delish. You can really taste the freshness in the ingredients! I also tried The Bello (herb baked Portobello mushroom, pickled red cabbage and Spanish Guindilla chillies with roast pepper relish and parsley pesto on sourdough roll) and this was, dare I say it, even better.
The beetroot soup, which I was slightly dreading as I’m not a fan of beetroot, was to die for. In fact, three out of four of us claimed to not like beetroot and the next minute were fighting to get more soup! We also tried the V10 salad (a vegan salad with 10 ingredients) which was lovely but I wouldn’t have it on its own as it doesn’t have enough strong flavours for me (ie. no meat or cheese…). Overall, this was probably the best lunch time meal I’ve had in a long long time. For a similar price to places like Pret, it’s just a no brainier. And that’s before I’ve even touched on the dessert. The cakes are made daily by a guy who lives in Chelsea and they are also IN-SANE. I tried a chocolate and almond, lemon, and lavender. All were great but the chocolate was stand out – so gooey and yet not sickly at all.
As well as the usual offerings, O-Food has a selection of cold pressed juices. I went for the green juice which was tasty but a little too veggie (as opposed to fruity) for me! I also had a cappuccino which was silky and smooth. I’m not a massive coffee drinker but this coffee was dayyyym good! All the coffee served at O-Food is from Workshop Coffee and you can literally taste the love.
Right in the middle of London’s creative capital but also a stone’s throw from the City, O-Food has a great spot in Spitalfields market. There is indoor seating for if you want to get away from the crowds, or you can sit on the patio in amongst the action. Jens, Mikkel and Nikolaj, the founders, are as hands on as they come, working alongside their staff to make sure everything is as it should be, and engaging in conversation with guests, sharing the story behind the sandwiches.
The Fine Print
O-Food is reasonably priced with a sandwich costing around £5 and juices costing around £4. You can also find them at various events across London such as the Nike runs.
I am not a huge fan of bread (weird, I know) so don’t often enjoy a sandwich all that much. This, however, was a dreeeaaaam. You MUST try this place at least once! I can almost guarantee that you will be back for another visit. It’s great to know that the food you’re enjoying has come from a sustainable source and has a good cause behind it, beyond just making money. Especially when it still costs you the price of any other sandwich. On a business level, I’m looking forward to see what the future has in store for O-Food and I have a feeling it’s going to be quite the success story. Watch this space!
Have you tried O-Food yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!