Eat Here: Atis, Old StreetBy Francesca Brooking
Atis is a new daytime restaurant in Old Street, founded by husband and wife, Eleanor Warder and Phil Honer. On a mission to disrupt the London lunch scene, Atis is making lunchbreaks healthy, sustainable and plant-powered. We decided to stop by and sample the menu; here’s what we discovered:
Atis is a brightly lit restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows and metallic silver decor. Exposed pipes and hanging lights crisscross the high ceiling, giving the space a futuristic, urban feel. The seating arrangement is comprised of simple yet comfortable wooden benches and a bar runs the length of the window for lone diners who want to read or do some work.
The simple interior draws all focus to the food station, which you could argue, is the most important part of the restaurant for that is where the magic happens. The delicious smells catch your attention first as you wander over before you’re greeted with a feast of colours, dishes, stews and sauces. Choose your meal from the large menu that dominates the wall behind and watch it assemble before your eyes with opportunities to customise as you go.
Atis is dedicated to getting London to eat more sustainably sourced and plant-powered food. It’s not about cutting out, dieting fads or gimmicks at this restaurant. Instead, balance is celebrated and every dish is lovingly made with fresh and good quality ingredients. Although plants take centre stage, Atis does include cheese, chicken and fish that are sustainably sourced from suppliers they trust. Flexibility is key to the Atis ethos and the restaurant works closely with talented chefs to create dishes that are both mouth-watering and nutritious.
Atis’ approach to sustainability goes beyond food. Since it’s a restaurant that allows you to eat in and take-away, all cutlery, plates and bowls are made from recyclable materials to further cement itself as a community that cares for both the customer and the environment.
Atis caters for breakfast and lunchtime diners. The menu is a colourful mix of seasonal bowls, warm bowls, salads and the option to build your own. For breakfast, customers can have a selection of porridge, granola and sourdough toast to kick-start their day. Drinks include cold-pressed juices, teas, coffees and kombucha on tap. Customers can eat in, take-away and order online if they happen to be in the vicinity.
Knowing I had the option to take-away, I decided to go all out and order a selection of dishes. To kick things off, I opted for the ‘Azteca’ salad. It was a vegetarian dish (Atis caters for vegan and gluten-free diets too) filled with romaine lettuce, spinach, sweetcorn, black beans, pickled red onions, crumbled feta, smashed avocados, tortilla shards and coriander and served with a lime dressing. It may have been a salad, but make no mistake it was hearty, filling and bursting with flavour.
Atis gives the humble salad the attention it deserves and great care goes into each flavour and ingredient. It invites you to embrace the salad, not as a diet or ‘good’ option but as a dish to be relished and enjoyed in its own right. I went for the large option, and although it was bigger than my head, I had no regrets and I will definitely be ordering it again.
My next dish of choice was the ‘Dahl-ing’. It was a warm bowl, an ideal lunch on a cold and blustery winter’s day. The dish was a kaleidoscope of colours that brightened up the afternoon. Spiced red lentils were heaped next to cherry tomatoes, pickled red onions, turmeric roasted cauliflower, coriander, puffed rice and mint. A curry yoghurt dressing topped the dish, giving it a warm, spicy flavour but without too much heat. It was heavenly.
I finished off with a seasonal bowl. This time I went for ‘Rainbow Roots’ and once again it was an explosion of colour. The dish was made up of quinoa, spinach, roasted roots, shaved beetroot, crumbled feta, shredded red cabbage, puffed rice and a generous helping of apple cider vinaigrette. The dish was a celebration of seasonal produce which tied-in with its sustainability initiatives. The beetroot, roots and cabbage took centre stage, fresh and flavoursome.
Atis Review: Our Verdict
If you happen to live or work around Old Street then you’ve struck a gold mine. Atis is a real asset to the area and makes lunchtime a highlight of the day. The menu is small but well-chosen and if you don’t see anything that immediately takes your fancy then you can make your own and there’s plenty of ingredients to choose from.
The prices are reasonable for lunchtime, ranging from £6.80 to £9.00 for a bowl. True, they may not rival the prices of your average meal deal but then again all the ingredients are nutritious, fresh, sustainably sourced. The large bowls are also big enough to enjoy over multiple mealtimes so really, it’s an investment. All in all, Atis is the ideal daytime spot for those wanting to find a healthy and flexible balance to their diet.
To find out more about Atis, visit the website here.