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Review: Roots and Bulbs


Every six weeks or so my colleague and I go for a team lunch. Well, I say team lunch but as our team consists of two, it's more of a team date/catchup/good food glory session. We're a strong team (of two) professionally and both share a passion (read: all out obsession) with good food.

Now you don't know me that well yet (if I never change the status of this blog to public, you never will) but I believe the definition of good food is subjective. Ask Google to define good food and you get the BBC channel, ask a 10 year old and the answer is likely to involve sugar and or potato smiles (maybe even both?!). My definition of good food is as follows:

 Define: Good Food


  1. Food that tastes good and does good. Often accompanied by a lot of hand flapping, gasping and high pitched squeals of a delighted nature.
  2. Healthy green sh*t likely to cause a vegasm.

Don't get me wrong, I can guzzle any food like a pro. My inner fat child is alive and well. For the most part however, I am happiest when chowing down on fresh, wholesome goodies which are preferably Fairtrade and Organic. I like the idea of my food doing good inside my body and out.

Luckily for me, I have a partner in my quest for nutritious justice and we're slowly but surely working our way around the health food joints across central London.

Today we spontaneously decided it was time for a trip out for lunch. Previously we've picked a destination in advance but being caught short (and with a fair pile of work awaiting attention on our return) we found a location to explore in Marleybone: Roots and Bulbs.

When we arrived we were a immediately taken with the decor and atmosphere. A dark green haven for the worship of superfoods, Roots and Bulbs balanced a dedication to home made and soul nurturing goodies without being pretentious. Everyone would feel welcome here and gorgeous (yes, I use this word to describe stationary) literature explained the menu options in a rustic, simple way.

The juices (cold pressed and freshly made) were kept cool and on display in funky "floating" chillers. This gave the whole vibe an almost "lab" feel. This was combined with homely touches here so it didn't feel clinical.

Juice wasn't on our agenda however as we were gunning for the smoothies. Superfoods galore, we picked "The Captain". A thick, gloopy smoothie containing:

Home made almond milk



Hemp seeds


Chia seeds

I felt myself grow healthier just thinking about it. Other smoothies of note include The Bee (named presumably for its inclusion of bee pollen and honey) and Smart Smoothie (coffee, coconut and walnut? Sold!).

Food wise the menu is limited but don't let this deceive you. It is better to do a few things well than many things badly. Seasonal and fresh, August's menu included culinary adventures such as quinoa vegetable salad with teriyaki tofu, marinated kale with peanut and chilli or a more traditional organic salmon sandwich.

Love the graphic design on the in store literature!
Love the graphic design on the in store literature!

Love the graphic design on the in store literature!

Picking up our chosen dishes, we were met with a cold harrowing realisation that shook the experience to the core.

There were no seats.

Repeat, there were no seats.

For a lunch out, this was pretty integral to us and we found ourselves wavering. London weather is tempestuous in its nature but, with little other choice, we decided to take up residence outside the shop. They lost beetroot brownie points for this, but if we were looking for a drop in and take out cafe this wouldn't be a problem. Bad luck guys.

Speaking of beetroot brownies, did I mention the cake? Of course I didn't. I probably wanted to keep it a secret and all to myself. As well as viscous smoothies, floating juices and seasonal surprises- they had cake! Beautifully displayed in glass cake stands we took our choice from beetroot brownies, banana and almond brownies, banana and maple  bread, carrot muffins and green tea and apricot oat bars. It's also worth noting they had luxury muesli and home made nut butter for sale too, adding to the the hippie grandmother vibe.

We settled on beetroot brownie and banana and maple syrup bread and chowed down.

The Verdict

I wanted to love this place but in the interest of (food) science, I must be objective.

The food was good, not a flavour fiesta but choc a block with nutrition and protein meaning I feel full and happy as I write this. I can't say I'm overtly inspired and preaching to the world to go try Roots and Bulbs for themselves though.

The smoothie was an acquired taste, I'd happily go with this choice again and supped my way through but the texture was not unlike a semi melted candle. Its beige colour describes its taste perfectly: neither here nor there.

The cakes again fell slightly short of our (probably too high) expectations. The beetroot brownie had that fantastic depth of colour that only putting vegetables in baked goods achieves, but as Colleague delicately put it: "it tastes like sand".

Sand seems a bit unfair in my opinion, but it definitely needed an extra oomph of cacao and maybe some extra moisture from dates or agave  nectar. Hey, I likely couldn't bake any better, but I'm not selling to the world (yet).

The champion of the meal was the banana and maple bread. Soft, bouncy, and goo-ey in all the right places, my only qualm was that it was not overtly banana-esque in its flavour. In fact, the banana provided more moisture than flavour.

Would we go again? For sure. Their smoothie selection is just begging for me to try one of everything. Plus their staff were spot on: friendly, informative and approachable. I also caught sight of them trying new flavour concoctions, batches of bakes and generally looking more than at home in their little green paradise of good things.

Not quite The Good Life Eatery (which you can read more about here) but a blooming good find close to the office which I will be visiting again.

Nutrition > flavour : we give it 6/10.

Playlist Updates: a very folky feeling

Playlist Updates: a very folky feeling

Living the Good Life at The Good Life Eatery