Last week YOUhome Notting Hill visited Pure Taste, the UK’s first gourmet gluten-free and paleo restaurant. Located on Westbourne Grove, the deliciously healthy restaurant is based in the heart of Notting Hill. We met with restaurant owner and head chef, Holly Redman and marketing and events manager, Tessa Seward to gain an insight into the business.
How did your journey into the restaurant business begin?
Holly: I have always loved cooking just as I have always been academic. I read Chemistry in university as it was the closest I could get to cooking while studying for a degree. After university I worked in nutrition, more specifically I worked in a restaurant where I created menus for customers with food allergies; a role which married my passions for food and science. Interest was growing within the restaurant’s clientele for the gluten-free and dairy-free dishes I created. So, we ran a gluten and dairy-free night which attracted lots of interest. From there, I opened a pop-up on the one day a month the restaurant was closed. I tested the gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo concept which immediately had a positive reaction.
Tell us a bit about Pure Taste and how the business has grown
Holly: After opening the pop-up, I knew I wanted to open it as an official restaurant. While searching for premises for the ideal location, my business partner and I ran a ‘Kickstarter’ campaign to raise additional funds and outside investment. After an extensive amount of research, we found an ideal location, got the keys and three weeks later we were open. We soft launched in November (2014) and officially launched one month later. Since moving from pop-up to the full restaurant we decided the menu should be completely paleo. I think the safest way to cater for our audience is to make sure our premises is free of all potential food allergens.
What can guests expect from your restaurant?
Holly: I wanted to create a restaurant where people with or without allergies could come and have an amazing meal without compromise. Our aim is to showcase delicious foods which you can eat rather than focusing on what you can’t. The food is mouth-watering and will leave you less bloated and full of energy, the experience will completely change your perspective on ‘free-from’ foods. You will not find a single dish in the restaurant containing grain, dairy, refined sugar or gluten. We want to be a completely dedicated allergy-safe restaurant for people who are sensitive to different foods.
Tell us a bit more about your allergy-friendly paleo menu
Holly: There is a growing movement towards eating real food again which is having a positive impact on the paleo market. We believe in a diet consisting of healthy and delicious food without excessive amounts of butter, flour or sugar. Everything we serve is cooked in coconut oil or duck fat. Because we make absolutely everything in house there are a lot of labour hours in the kitchen. Tessa: The food is totally delicious and tastes incredible whether you have an allergy or otherwise. You just wouldn’t know when you walk through the door that the food is free from so many things, yet the flavors are so rich and satisfying. All diners seem to enjoy reading the ‘paleo diet key‘ at the end of the menu, being able to make an informed choice.
How do you come up with new and exciting menus every eight weeks?
Holly: As soon as we launch a menu, we start work on the next one as it takes between six and eight weeks to fully develop. The restaurant is home to constant innovation, we are consistently working on new experiments, creating new ideas and we love the challenge. As a quick example, it has taken us six months, but we have finally managed to make candy floss without refined sugar!
Have you enjoyed finding different suppliers?
Holly: Yes, we thoroughly enjoy the whole process of finding and working with suppliers. Lidgates is our butcher because their meat is of exceptional quality. They have a wide range of grass fed and free range meat which is important to us from a paleo and health perspective. They’re also local which is really important to us. Our fish comes from our supplier in Brighton and we mix and match suppliers in Covent Garden for fruit and vegetables. We try and use local suppliers as much as possible.
What’s the most popular / your favourite option on the menu?
Holly: The creation of the salmon fishcake dish has an interesting story. We developed the entire menu with the exception of one dish and were left with a list of ingredients which had to be used in order to complete the menu. The salmon fishcakes recipe was essentially created from that list of ingredients. Everyone in the kitchen thought it would be tasteless but it turned out to be heavenly. Now it is the best seller on the menu!
Tessa: My personal favourite is the green soup. The soup is served with focaccia and sourdough, it’s definitely worth trying, even just for the ‘bread’! The dish is a complete delight, after finding out I was gluten intolerant I didn’t think I would be able to eat bread again’ this gluten, grain free paleo option is the best I have ever eaten. I won’t even begin on my love for the desserts, I still can’t get my head around that they are gluten, dairy and refined sugar free and taste this good!
Holly: To create the green soup, we work with a forager in Worcestershire. The greens vary each week. It could be nettles and wild garlic one week and something completely different the next! However, the result remains the same; a delicious green soup.
How important is Social Media to your business?
Tessa: Social Media is the best way to create awareness. Instagram has been the most impactful social platform for us to date. The visual impact of our food is remarkable, people are so engaged, they want to ‘Like’ and comment on all of our images.
Holly: Social Media is incomparable when tapping into our niches. If someone has ‘paleo’ in their Twitter bio or their Instagram profile for instance, we automatically know they might be interested in what we’re doing and we can interact with them directly. People from all over the country are following us, they swap recipes and general lifestyle tips which works really well for us as a community.
What is your relationship like with Notting Hill and the local community?
Holly: Notting Hill has the perfect blend of tourists and locals. It has a great hub of people who are interested in health and wellness as well. Notting Hill also happens to be very close to Paddington which pulls people in from all over the country.
Tessa: People in the area are genuinely interested in fitness and health. The area has some great gyms and fitness studios so Pure Taste really does appeal to the local audience. You can have an energetic work-out and afterwards have this food which is nutritious and guilt-free.
Visit the Pure Taste website here: www.puretasterestaurant.co.uk
Keep up to date with Pure Taste on social media for the latest updates and special events here: