The 20-cover site is next door to the group’s offices in south west London and serves on-site versions of the group’s packaged foods – including its granola and dairy-free drinks ‒ as well as a new menu of nutritious, balanced dishes with a focus on “living foods”, such as sourdough bread, and homemade kimchi.
It also seeks to promote the group’s message of ‘balanced’ foods, which are largely healthy and nutritious but do not cut anything out unnecessarily, unless it makes sense naturally.
Open from 8am until 5pm, the café serves coffee, dairy-free drinks (using hazelnut and almond milk), breakfast – such as porridge ‒ and lunch dishes, and afternoon snacks such as cakes, some of which are gluten free.
Barnard, who co-founded Rude Health as a food business 10 years’ ago, said she would love to expand the concept should it make sense for the group, although there were no definite numbers or concrete plans just yet.
She said: “I think it could work in another part of London, perhaps completely the other side of the city. We’ve already learned so much, and we will see how it goes. It would be fun to go to East London, as I imagine it would be a very different, younger market over there.”
Barnard, whose husband Nick has just written the cookbook Eat Right: Traditional food wisdom to sustain us today, also believes that foods should be as unrefined and simple as possible, and although Rude Health does produce dairy-free and gluten-free products and dishes, she explained that they would only be ‘free from’ where it makes sense for the product naturally.
She said: “We believe in good food…we don’t believe in cutting things out unnecessarily. We have a good range of ‘free from’, but they’re naturally so. So we don’t have a completely gluten free bread, but if you want something, we’ve got salads and soups, which are naturally gluten free. It’s that kind of approach.”
About the café’s approach overall, she said: “It’s casual, but quality. If you get a sandwich from us, it’s going to be sourdough bread, top quality butter, Neal’s Yard cheese and homemade kimchi. The same with the soup – whether it’s with kale, broad beans or peas. It’s very simple but excellent and beautifully made. Food is all about balance, and just enjoying it.”