The Ace Hotel London, like its brothers and sisters across the globe, continues to diversify and expand. Way before the likes of Sister Ray and Opening Ceremony joined the Shoreditch High Street location, Lovage, a cold-pressed juice bar with a succinct menu and a “food is power” ethos greeted guests with its compact window placed next to the hotel’s main doors. Described as a “farm-to-street juice kitchen,” manager Samuel Howard keeps things simple, an ever-changing menu of three or four drink options alongside ice lollies for the Summer months, all made in their tiny kitchen. Clear cups filled with the intense and vibrant colors of ‘Violet’ (Strawberry, blueberry, banana, almond milk), ‘Avocado & greens’ (Viridian juice, coconut water, avocado, date, coconut oil, pink rock salt) or ‘Amber’ (Carrot, apple, ginger) draw in customers after a shot of something pure, untainted and as healthy as it gets. We crashed the Lovage kitchen to get a look behind the scenes and talk thorough the process of turning your 5 a day into a pleasure.
Images: Ivan Ogilvie/Selectism
Could you tell us a little about your background?
Personally I used to work in bars, so I moved from late nights to early mornings, looking for something new. I don’t think I could have picked a more different place to work.
How did the initial idea for Lovage first come about?
The idea for Lovage was to create an outlet that catered for a growing number of people interested in cold-pressed juice, and the health benefits they provide. Lovage is supposed to feel tucked away, like a small apothecary, making small batches of specialist, nutritious potions.
What has the reaction been like since you first opened?
We first opened in the middle of winter, so at first we had a loyal following of hardcore juice fans, which has grown larger as the year has progressed. Now that it’s summer we are also seeing more casual juice drinkers, so I’d say the reaction has been very positive. People appreciate the care we put in to our creations.
Juices are an efficient way of absorbing nutrients into your body. Our juices our pulp free, which allows for rapid absorption of vitamins without the stomach having to break down lots of fibre. People use juice as a convenient way of getting a health kick, one that is pretty instant too.
Can you briefly talk us through some of the processes shown in the images?
Produce is cut to size and then fed through the grinder. The produce is gently ground into a pulp. This pulp is then wrapped in a special cloth (the cloth allows liquid to permeate through whilst holding in the solid matter) and made into small parcels. These small parcels are placed onto the hydraulic press and are squeezed with a heavy force, extracting as much juice as possible from the pulp. The juice runs out into a jug below the press and is bottled up and sealed, air-tight. We also remove the air from the bottles to ensure that a minimum amount of oxidisation occurs.
Where and how do you source your ingredients?
We try to keep our produce as seasonal as possible, so that means ordering from as close to Lovage as possible. We use a distributor based in West London that specialises in organic produce, so we have our British fruit and vegetables delivered from farms based just outside of London. We also use local health food shops in Shoreditch for smaller dry goods, such as powdered superfoods, syrups etc.
What are some of the health benefits of particular juice combinations?
All of the juices share some common health benefits, such as the boosting of the immune system. There are some benefits specific to each individual juice too. Our Viridian juice is the grassy green juice, and it regulates the acidity of the blood and supports colon health. People use the Viridian as part of their cleansing routines. The Vert juice, a new addition to the menu, is anti-oxidising and skin rejuvenating, as well having ingredients that act as energisers. It gives you quite a rapid boost in energy.
Do you have a personal favourite?
Personally I like the Amber juice, our own version of the classic Carrot, Apple and Ginger juice combination. It’s part of every home-juicers repertoire, and we thought we’d be foolish not to offer a cold-pressed version for those on the streets of Shoreditch.