Cousins, Nishant (a.k.a. Nish) and Harshil Modasia (a.k.a. Harsh), and best friend Thomas Price (a.k.a. Pricey) launched on February 13th this year their goodness-on-the-go ENROOT café in the heart of Herne Hill at 107 Dulwich Road (on our Eco-Foodie Map). Their concept is simple and wholesome: serve healthy food that tastes great and that makes you feel even better at affordable prices for everyone with a £5 cap on all their products. ENROOT will provide you with all the nutrition you need at any time of day, from fresh juices and smoothies (£2.50) with superfood add-ons (did you know that chia seeds contain more calcium than milk?), a must-have Chai Avena Caliente breakfast oatmeal drink (heaven in your mouth!), hot pots that include variations of curries and stews that test out different ingredients every day as well as a weekend special ceviche pot (with tilapia, shrimp and salmon), a unique homemade ENROOT scotch bonnet sauce, salads, empanadas, 100% natural protein balls, mouth-watering desserts, great coffee and more!
But, their café is about way more than just the yummy nutritious food (what more do you want?!); it’s about breaking boundaries, promoting their local community and bringing together different cultures and traditions into a medley of palatability and dialogs. Nish, Harsh and Pricey also bring together an unprecedented combination of languages and nations; among them they speak English, French, Spanish and Guajarati and share extensive travelling experiences around the world where they have found inspiration for their combinations of ingredients and spices. From, India to Australia, South America, the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Europe, these young men have just about the whole globe covered and you can taste it with every mouthful!
What inspired you to start the café?
Located in the heart of a very mixed community with young professionals, families and a widespread Jamaican influence, we want to push forward the health and wellbeing revolution, we want to show that it doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg to do so. We want to give back to our community and become a reference point for locals. We are anti big corporations and want to show that sourcing local ingredients is easy and sustainable. We want to share our love of good food, with minimal use of refined ingredients (such as sugar) and last, but definitely not least, we want to promote a meat free diet and give meat free alternatives for an environmentally conscious food intake. At ENROOT all of our dishes are vegetarian or vegan and only on weekends do we make the exception of including fish in some of our dishes!
How do you go about creating your menus?
We work very closely with our sources at Brixton market and Spitalfields market and stock up on fresh produce three times a week, always using what we have at hand to make our different dishes and as a result we have little to no waste! And the good thing about serving meat-free food is that all our ingredients stay fresh and last a lot longer. We also strive to use as little animal derived products as possible, never using butter, instead we use organic coconut oil (that we also sell in store for less than £5) or olive oil, and to use as little sugar as possible we will use natural sweeteners such as freshly squeezed orange juice or mango.
What is your policy on waste management?
We have been brought up never to waste food and that is how we run our café. If we have left overs at the end of the day, we will either bring it home and have it ourselves or give it out to our friends and community. But we actually have a very good turnover and rarely have any wasted food at the end of the day – our curry-in-a-hurry has already been sold out! We also run Free Fruit Fridays where anyone can come by and pick up their free fruit of choice, whether it be an apple, a banana or an orange, we will give out whichever fruit we have the most of. We also separate our food compost and give that directly to local Herne Hill allotments.
What are your three favourite ingredients?
Plantain, chickpeas/chickpea flour and chia seeds.
Have you encountered difficulties in trying to be environmentally friendly?
Packaging is the trickiest part about being environmentally friendly – but we do our best! We get all of our packaging from BioPac that provides 100% biodegradable products that can be composted alongside food waste.
What is your objective/plan?
We think the best way to start expanding our brand would be to cater at festivals and other such big events and eventually to franchise the concept of freshness and goodness-to-go.
ENROOT already catered at the Vagaband Kickstarter launch on March 2nd!