What’s everybody talking about?
A quick scroll through Instagram will tell you food trends are trending! I know I’m not alone here in my drooling over photographs of gorgeous lavender coloured “nice-cream” erupting from glass mason jars with drizzles of peanut butter, sprinklings of cacao nibs and fuchsia pansies perched on top. I wonder how I’d ever have time to make this ‘smoothie-to-go’ and get to work on time (without acai berry stains all over my shirt)!
Trying to eat healthier often leads to airy-fairy salads that leave us reaching for Doritos an hour later. Fortunately for Londoners, we’ve got better options! Julie of Rebel Remedy tells us, “when you need to get right, we’re here with the highest quality of food and drinks to hug your guts.”
What does the name Rebel Remedy mean?
Rebel Remedy means you don’t need to be perfect to start getting healthy. Shayna and I don’t claim to be model cold-pressed juice and kombucha barons. We aren’t vegan, we drink, we stay up late. We wanted to launch an honest company that can help the average person with their health goals without being pretentious. Our functional drinks, like kombucha, often replace less-healthy drinks – like beer or pop, so we feel we are contributing a bit to the overall health of our community. It’s also ‘rebellious’ to be two women under the age of 33 who own and operate a brewery and restaurant.
Rebel Remedy Health Bar is the new best meal stop on Dundas. Its minimalist design leaves the food and drink at the forefront with glass bottled beverages adding pops of colour to the space.
In addition to that, how does the interior design support your overall food concept?
We designed and constructed every part of it with help during construction from our handy husbands and parents. We wanted the space to reflect our personalities, unapologetically. While also crafting a bar-meets-pharmacy atmosphere. We also can’t thank Edith Boucher enough (Broke and Stoked), for her amazing work on our logo.
Our Remedy Bar is a talking point with customers, whether they’re asking about insect protein or medicinal mushrooms, or how to get over their sh*tty cold. Because our front end is so small, this also means that our customers actually talk to each other and our staff while they wait, and it creates meaningful moments during the rush of the day.
If your sinuses are clear but your stomach is growling I suggest The Big Veg for something that satisfies that “full burger-bite mouthful” craving and ticks your “eat healthy” box at the same time (and yes, it is Instagram worthy).
What are your hopes and dreams for the future of Rebel Remedy?
We’re a small operation making functional beverages and healthy takeaway, but we already have a pretty solid foundation of ‘obsessed’ customers. Our goal is to bring our flavourful and well-sourced kombucha, mushroom tonics, and local produce-driven juices to the mainstream in London. Of course, scaling up kombucha and juice production is a delicate process because they’re ‘live’ foods, so we’re taking our time and not compromising on flavour or quality in the process.
With the FLEX street coming to Dundas, we’ll keep cranking out awesome breakfast and lunches, totally rooted in local agriculture. Right now we’re having fun showing that takeaway healthy food can be really beautiful, fresh, and interesting, and make you feel awesome!
What are your special beverages?
We have four streams of functional beverages – kombuchas, cold tonics, cold-pressed juice, and blended tonics.
Kombucha is raw, unpasteurized, fermented tea made with a bacterial culture – it’s refreshing, fizzy, tart, and rich in short-chain fatty acids and probiotic bacteria that can help to restore gut flora over the long-term. To make it, we use non- GMO Rainforest Alliance Certified full-leaf black tea from a Women’s Co- operative in Kenya, and organic sucanat cane sugar from Brazil.
Our blended tonics are an elevated smoothie with therapeutic grade medicinal mushrooms, future food proteins, spices, and herbs. We package everything in our recyclable branded glass bottles, because the amount of plastic waste in the restaurant industry is something we had to make a statement about.
Our cold tonics change throughout the seasons, but we always have the Chaga Shake (raw cacao + chaga tea) and Sunday Morning (activated charcoal lemonade with local maple syrup). Each drink we make has a specific functional health goal in mind, whether that is a hydration boost, a rush of antioxidants, or a little help with ‘elimination’ (we’re talking poop).
We use a hydraulic press to make our juice, to maintain as many nutrients and enzymes as possible. This means that our juices are packed with vitamins and enzymes.
What can someone expect to find when they walk into RR on a Thursday at lunchtime?
We have a pretty tight staff so you’d find Darren, Mel, or me up front making espresso drinks with Pilot Coffee and organic milk, whipping up blended tonics, or handing out six-packs.
Shayna and Ben would be in the kitchen bottling drinks, making beautiful organic salads full of heirloom greens, or drizzling 100% chocolate over another healthy dessert. On a weekday lunch, there are often groups of people from the banking/insurance towers waiting on pressed sandwiches, high school kids buying the most colourful drink in the cold case, or customers on a mission for the last piece of Blue Majik Cheezecake. We like to keep our atmosphere fun and informal, so we play indie or punk music when we feel like it. We’ve really been digging Girlpool and the new Timber Timbre album lately.
What do you think will be or is already your signature item?
Right now, people are loving our Spicy Ginger Salad, raw brownies, a blended tonic called ‘Nine Lives’ made with cricket protein, Cherry Lemon Haze kombucha, and Sunday Morning – our hangover remedy.
We see this a bit differently – there is an epidemic in this city of business owners calling their product ‘the best,’ or even ‘the best ever,’ seemingly with a goal to disparage other businesses. If you’re really doing your job, you’d just call everything ‘the best.’ Otherwise, what? You’re going to sell a decidedly mediocre product?
It’s like an SEO echo chamber, and we don’t want any part of it. We could call our kombucha ‘the best,’ but that would be disrespectful to the other company who laid the groundwork and familiarized a lot of people with kombucha in London. We focus on what our customers respond to, make tweaks where we need to with the seasons, and we’re quite happy to have many signature items.
What is your favourite part about running a business?
We’re risk takers, and what’s riskier than getting into the restaurant industry? There is a certain thrill to this, equal parts abject terror and total joy. That is the best part.
Feature photo by Ioulia Krisak