Crowdfunded ‘paleo' restaurant Pure Taste fails

06 July 2015 by
Crowdfunded ‘paleo' restaurant Pure Taste fails

A crowdfunded restaurant offering a "paleo" menu in London's Westbourne Grove has closed less than a year after it opened.

Pure Taste was a venture from from nutritional therapist and head chef Holly Redman and started as a monthly pop-up in Sussex before setting up in a permanent, 90-cover site in December last year.

However, the restaurant has shut its doors and a note on its website stated that it would be closed "for the foreseeable future".

The business opened after it raised more than £30,000 from nearly 400 backers through the Kickstarter crowdfunding website.

But in an update on that site last week, Redman broke the news to investors that the restaurant had foundered: "I found out last week that we were unable to secure the extra investment we needed and that our financial situation was worse that I realised," she said.

"I've put my heart, soul and passion into this business and while the food and concept has been very well received we just weren't able to get enough customers through the doors to make it work, so I've had to declare insolvency and shut the doors.

"I can't apologise enough to those of you that are yet to claim your rewards. I don't really know what else to say right now, other than thank you for your faith at the beginning, sorry I couldn't make it work and that I have every intention of doing this again someday having learnt from my mistakes."

Backers were offered the chance to invest anything from £5 to £5,000, with in exchange for a series of rewards on a sliding scale. While a £5 donation merited a personal thank you from Pure Taste on its Facebook page, and Redman's "undying gratitude", a £5,000 donation (which was taken up by one backer), offered exclusive use of the restaurant for up to 50 people, a personally designed six-course menu, and live entertainment.

Confirming the closure to The Caterer, Redman added: "Sadly we couldn't make it work financially where we were, so it's back to the drawing board for a bit. I'm going to be doing some popups and catering for a while, while I refine the business model and look for investment to launch something similar but hopefully more profitable in the not to distant future."

Based on the "paleo" or Paleolithic diet (also known as the caveman diet), the restaurant's dishes focused on protein-rich, high-fibre options and generally excluded dairy products, grains (such as those with gluten), legumes, processed oils and refined sugars.

Typical dishes included gluten-free bread, charcuterie platters, chicken liver and bacon with plantain crackers, steak with sweet potato wedges, chestnut roast with orange and coriander cauliflower pilaf, mussels in Thai coconut broth and fresh fish such as salmon with pomegranate.

Desserts included gluten-free sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce and salted caramel ice-cream, chocolate tart with cacao nibs, plus nut cheeses with apple and ginger chutney. There was also be a selection of biodynamic wines, gluten-free beers and Kombucha tea fruit juices (Kombucha is a fermented tea, originally said to be from China, and is often hailed as a healthy diet drink).

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