This week, the London Living team interviewed the owner of MOTHER to find out more about this hot spot in Here East, the delicious and vibrant they have on menu, and their plans to make London a healthier and more environmentally friendly place to live!
Siblings Charlie, Chloe and Patrick decided to open their own restaurant in 2016 (MOTHER), with a passion to make wholesome plant based food that doesn’t cost the earth! All food is made fresh on site, prepared daily and sourced from organic suppliers.
Along with living healthily, being environmentally conscious is another passion at MOTHER, as the team ensures they use products and packaging which are recyclable and reusable.
Unit 1 Canalside Here East
Having recently opened (in 2016), what was the biggest driving force behind opening the café MOTHER?
As three siblings, we all had similar experiences with feel good cafes and juice bars in different parts of the world. These places were great to visit because the food left you feeling amazing! For years we felt something similar needed to exist in London, so we set out to create one ourselves.
What inspired you to choose Here East as home? What do you love the most about the location?
Our sister Chloe was driving around London slightly lost one day and came across Here East. We felt like it was the perfect place for MOTHER to root itself. Here East describes itself as a home for makers, which is exactly what MOTHER is about – taking what nature provides and making it into exciting, vibrant tasty food. The beautiful natural setting on the riverside helps us create our own little corner of paradise away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Eating organic, healthy, delicious food is deemed as expensive for most people. Did you feel that was a challenge for you in the beginning, trying to change that perception for your customers?
Undoubtedly, our main aim is to make healthy, delicious food accessible to as many as possible. However, the challenge comes in the fact that we refuse to take the common short cuts that are very tempting and will help reduce the costs of running a business. We believe we have found a price point that is both competitive, and reflects the quality of the ingredients and care that goes into making them. Eating an organic, healthy diet does not have to be expensive, it requires a shift in shopping habits and eating habits. To lower your shopping bill, we would suggest using your local growing community vegetable boxes for cheaper seasonal produce. At MOTHER, we sell a range of grains, nuts & pulses in our new in-café bulk store “MOTHERs Pantry”.
Since you have opened your café MOTHER, have you noticed an increase in competition in healthy cafes and Restaurants?
Yes, we are delighted to see lots more healthy, vegan and plant-based places opening throughout London. It’s also great to see similar cafes opening with a focus on sustainability. Through access to wider sources of information we believe people are gradually people are becoming more aware of the importance of the food they consume and how they consume it. It makes us feel good, and is good for the planet. We will support any business who shares these ethics.
Take us through your menu, what types of food do you have on offer?
Our menu has something to excite everyone, whatever the occasion.For those making a day of coming to visit and enjoy the surrounding natural beauty, we have our special dishes worth travelling for – like our caramel waffles with fresh berries, our big juicy burgers (made partly using our organic juice pulp) or our fully loaded frozen acai bowls.
We also have more grab & go daily offerings which are specifically aimed at those that work on the Here East campus every day. These include a fresh home-made salad bowl, cheese toasties, soul warming soups and rotating hot pots (like West African Peanut Curry or our very popular Sri Lankan Jackfruit curry).
As we look to the future we are excited about evolving our menu with an eye on innovation and what the future of food looks like. We are increasingly hearing from our customers on how they want to cut out meat and dairy (or reduce it), but we don’t want to sacrifice flavour. So it’s about coming up with exciting ways to combine our ingredients. Most recently we developed a smoked salmon, like product using salt-baked flaked carrots with liquid smoke. We serve it with cashew cream cheese on a gluten free bagel, and it has recently been featured in The Guardian and live on Channel 4’s show named ‘Sunday Brunch’.
I noticed you are aiming to become a zero-waste business which means a lot of the products and packaging you source are recycled and/reusable. Do you feel that has increased awareness in the MOTHER community on changing customer’s personal recycling habits?
The amount of waste produced on this planet and the detrimental impact of this is something that has come on our radar in a big way, and I think it’s the same with a lot of people living in London. As a business we feel we have a responsibility. We can’t just serve feel good food at the cost of the planet.
We hope that by cutting plastic straws, giving people a place to buy produce not in packaging and offering a glass bottle return scheme for our juices that we are helping to raise awareness of this and provide alternative more sustainable solutions. We encourage and invite anyone in the local area who has ideas or feedback that can benefit the community, to come in and speak with us
How does your restaurant differ from other healthy eating restaurants in London?
At the moment, we believe we have something special to offer that you can’t find all over London – and that is largely down to the fact our approach has been inspired by other parts of the world. We use 99% organic produce, with nothing artificial or processed. We make exciting tasty and vibrant dishes all on site, and we do it with one eye firmly on the health of the planet, all served up in a relaxed feel good Canalside location. There’s other restaurants that offer some of that – but we believe we are unique in having it all.
What are your personal guilty pleasures food wise!?
If you follow a plant-based or vegan diet in London you are fortunate that you don’t have to miss out on anything at all. Pizzas, Donner Kebabs, Burgers, Kentucky Fried Chicken you name it…there are some incredibly passionate people who have ‘veganised’ it with great results.
A guilty pleasure is eating a whole tub of ice cream watching a film – and now with Booja Booja and Ben Jerrys or local makers Black Milq you can do this dairy free.
We also love MOTHER’s Raw Salted Caramel Slice (alongside a whole bunch of our customers who have willingly travelled miles to get their hands on it).
I have noticed that MOTHER hosts monthly events. Can you tell us more about these special events?
Yes, more recently we have opened up our space to everyone in the local community to use it for events that inspire positive change and align with our vision. In 2019, we are hoping to do many more of these. So far we have hosted workshops (cheese and wreath making), music events with Sofar Sounds and open mics, sound healing and meditation evenings and many more.
If anyone reading this has a gift they want to share with the community, we would love to discuss and support this.
I also noticed that you sell cold pressed Juices. Can you tell me a little more about cold pressed juices, and the benefits of a juice cleanse? Are you a die-hard fruit or a veggie smoothie fan, or bit of both?
Cold-pressed juices are at the very core of what MOTHER is about – we have invested in the world’s best cold pressed juicer which we house in our canalside café and juice works. We are very passionate about the benefits of introducing high quality veg juices into your diet, having seen and experienced first hand the benefits of it in ourselves and others.
We believe the principles to follow are the simplest ones – buy good quality produce & consume it as fresh and unprocessed as possible.
The next best method is consuming in a juice form. Cold-pressing is a process of juicing that gently squeezes the juice out proven to be the most optimum way of maintaining its natural nutritional value. The juice you find in supermarkets will have then also been treated in some form to give a longer shelf life, which in turn further deteriorates the quality.
The main benefit of a juice cleanse (or even a liquid focused diet including smoothies and soups), is giving our digestive systems a much needed break from working overtime processing the heavy diets we tend to follow. When given this space it is remarkable to feel the benefits – from increased mental clarity, deeper and better rested sleep cycles, to even reversing long standing illnesses.
People often say that healthy eating involves time. Do you have delivery and takeaway options for the super busy?
Yes we do – we deliver through Deliveroo and UberEats at the moment. We are developing our own delivery service to help bring the costs of this down.We are also looking at creating our own recipe cards in the. The ingredients are pre-weighed for people to cook at home and save time, as well as ready meals available to take away. Watch this space!
What top tips do you have for healthy eating out in London – other than MOTHER obviously 🙂 ?
For healthy eating we tend to look for places that are as close to home cooking as possible. We love places like Gaia Pulses in Hackney Wick and the Wild Food Café in Covent Garden. Antonio from Antonio’s Kitchen in Hackney makes great fresh vegan pasta which is also definitely worth checking out.