Two years ago, London’s healthy eating scene needed to catch up - unlike New York, Sydney and Hong Kong, getting a quick and genuinely healthy/tasty lunch on-the-go was difficult. Many of us settled for another boring tuna salad and a green juice (mostly apple) which didn't keep us coming back for more.
The story has now changed radically. Leading the way in The City are the founders (Rahil and Asad) of SHOT, who opened up shop in 2016. Ever since there has been a line of suits out of the door. Using top quality ingredients from seasonable and sustainable suppliers, their chefs cook the made-to order food onsite and it tastes incredible... even for your meat-and-two-veg kinda person.
We have followed the guys closely since they started their journey and caught up with them last week to learn about what drives them and why they do what they do.
What is the story behind S.H.O.T?
Put simply, we wanted to create the kind of food that we’d spent years searching for! Restaurant quality food in fast food time; no compromise on health & nutrition; full transparency. We want to build a brand that people trust to deliver clean, nutritious and delicious food & drink, the healthiest cooking processes, the highest quality ingredients and a sound philosophy on health & wellbeing. Healthy eating has become overly fussy, restrictive and confusing; we want to do our small part to rebalance that!
We absolutely love the way there is something for everyone on the menu at S.H.O.T. What else sets you guys apart from the other takeaway lunch shops in London?
The quality of our ingredients, the breadth of choice, our transparency levels...
But what really set us apart are our health credentials, and the trust that this elicits from our customers. At a time when people are asking more questions about the food they consume, and demanding higher nutritional standards, this is the key to the success of our brand. Our 10 Promises lay out the roadmap to a healthier diet and we go to extreme lengths to ensure that we never compromise these rules. There are no fads, no scientifically tenuous diets, no cheats. Instead, we build on fundamental nutritional pillars which won’t sway with fashion: zero chemicals; no refined sugars; unprocessed, nutrient-dense ingredients; organic for ingredients susceptible to pesticide absorption; free-range & grass-fed proteins; clean cooking methods. No rival brand comes close to matching these promises.
Where do you stand on organic produce?
We take a selective approach. In our view, the benefit of going organic isn't equal for all foods. For example, the pesticide residue in spinach is very different to that in avocados, which are protected by their thick skins. So for fruits & vegetables, we take the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list as our guide; we are 100% organic for everything on the list. Our juices & smoothies are fully organic too. The juices in particular contain a huge volume of produce, so any chemical residue in the ingredients would be magnified. Our dairy is also organic, to eliminate the risk of any nasties fed or administered to cows being passed on. And for everything else, we go organic wherever we can do so without impacting the prices our customers pay. This includes our oats, quinoa, buckwheat, noodles, peanut butter, cacao and plenty more!
Are you guys more more matcha or more coffee?
Both! We love our matcha (ours is premium grade & organic of course!). It’s great being able to get a caffeine boost without feeling “wired”, and knowing that you are getting a huge dose of antioxidants at the same time. But sometimes, only a coffee will do! Especially when it comes from Nude Coffee Roasters, the best micro roastery in the UK in our opinion.
Best seller on the menu?
The Thai Green Fish Curry. More than any other dish, this is the one that keeps our regulars coming back everyday. Some of our competitors do similar products which our customers have tried before. So when they try ours, already knowing that it’s the healthiest possible version available, and find that its also tastier and fresher, that encapsulates everything that we’re trying to achieve.
Our Immunity Shot also deserves a mention. We use cold-pressed, organic lemon & ginger, plus organic echinacea and manuka honey. We’ve had so many people experience a real, tangible benefit; it’s building quite a reputation!
Having a restaurant requires a lot of hard work and rigour, how do you both make sure you get enough down time?
It certainly does, but luckily we’ve all had plenty of practice at managing busy lives! It’s vital to make time to relax, otherwise your productivity suffers. How exactly to relax is a very individual decision; what’s important is that you find what works for you and actually do it! Between us, there’s a combination of working out, yoga and meditation. And it helps that there’s three of us to split the workload and share the pressure!
A lot of your customers are busy city workers. What tips do you have for people living life in the fast lane, wanting to stay healthy and feeling their best but without missing out on any of the fun?
Managing a busy City life, especially alongside an active social calendar, can certainly take it’s toll on health. We’re very much in the “prevent before you need to treat” camp. To give yourself the best chance of standing up to the physical and mental exertion, look after your health whenever and wherever possible to build up your “credit". If you eat healthily, exercise regularly and sleep well most of the time, then on the occasions when you don’t, your body will be much better equipped to recover quickly.
And of course, eat at SHOT!