It seems to be de rigueur these days to detox in January – i’ts just something now hard wired into our psychy. Regardless of whether we are doing it to lose weight, break the booze and sugar cycle, or simply because we just feel bleeeaauu after all that indulgence, so many of us now choose January as our purging time to make amends. This does not mean however that you have to stop going out or having great food. I have a birthday in early Feb which I use as my goal date to reward my month of abstinence (cards and chocolates can be send via the office). But for those poor souls with birthdays or celebrations in January what is your option? Even if you are not on the fasting band wagon it’s certain that some of your friends may be. Here, therefore, is Design Restaurants guide to where you can eat healthily in January without compromising your diet or your taste!
The previous incarnation of this restaurant was extremely healthy but the newly launched RAW takes it to a new level. Group Head Chef Victor Garvey and his team have designed a menu to provide some of the best that nature can offer, with a selection of vegan friendly, dairy free and raw dishes. Challenge yourself with Daikon Raviloi (almond, dates, carrot and pesto) or Sea Vegetable Salad (beetroot with miso dressing). Look out for the R which denotes RAW dishes – not heated above 42c – bang on your detox diet! Design Restaurants Members dine complimentary all meal periods. Click here for details.
Who doesn’t love Wagas? Fortunately now most towns have one and they are great for either a celebration meal, or a quick ‘a deux’ during some sales shopping or before the cinema. Steer clear of the coconut milk based dishes and stick to their stock based broths. Their Edamame with chilli salt are a mere 100kcal and the chicken ramen is high in lean protein and will keep your energy levels up! For a healthy desert go for Mango with Lime Zest and Lychee Sorbet – all the sweetness with none of the fat. For more details go to www.wagamama.com.
The mere mention of the word Ottolenghi these days conjours up mouthwatering, fresh, artisan food and they are the team behind NOPI a middle eastern brasserie with a twist. Perfecly located for pre-theatre dinner, the menu offers Roasted Aubergine, Lemon Chilli Feta and Pistachios as a starter and Twice Cooked Baby Chicken, Lemon Myrtle Salt, Chilli Sauce. Nibbles include vegetable crudites with avocado and yoghurt. For more information go to www.nopi-restaurant.com.
This award-winning vegetarian restaurant has long been a favourite of DR’s. They are currently offering Fritter Zaatar – courgette, lemon zest, parsley, fennel seed zaatar dusted fritter, aubergine zhuganoush,pomegranate molasses and seeds, with a salsa salad of preserved lemon, pine nut and sweet currants and a cardamom tomato consommé on the side as a starter. If that doesn’t sound filling enough follow with a main course of Run Rarebit Run – toasty Sussex cheddar rarebit laced with Sheep’s Nose Cider and mustard grains crammed into hotpot spiced cornbread served with smoked yogurt and salt baked carrot, caraway pickled and puréed. Finished with tamari pumpkin seeds, cake crumbs and olive soil. Bet you feel healthier already?! Design Restaurants Member receive 10% reduction from total food bill when ordering from A La Carte lunch and dinner Monday to Thursday. Click here for details.
This eponymous restaurant uses the contrasting five tastes (salt, sweet, sour, bitter and umami) to help design the extensive tasting menus. Chef Sat Bains states “Heath is crucial in menu planning” and fellow bloggers and discerning food critics, The Critical Couple, report the 10 course tasting menu “skips along easily” due to well judged portion sizes. Read their November review here. Although not cheap, Sat has worked hard for his two Michelin stars and £89 for 10 courses is actually not bad givent the level of skill involved. The menu changes daily according to what the kitchen feels is best and freshest. Expect delights such as Crab ‘satay’ and Roast Roots along with Oyster soup and Salt Baked Beetroot. For more details go to www.restaurantsatbains.com.
Saf offers a gourmet approach to raw vegan food. They make cheese from cashew nuts and replace cream in dressings with tahini and wasabi; their healthy, innovative approach to cuisine earned them the Evening Standard’s Best Vegetarian Restaurant award in 2010. They state on their websites ” You will feel as light as a feather both physically and spiritally after a meal at SAF”. With the name standing for Simple Authentic Food the menu offers a well balanced vegan diet enriched with added raw food dishes, healthy energizing juices, teas and enjoyable organic wines. With a predominately asian theme, dishes include Sauerkraut Dumplings with spic plum sauce and cress, All day Breakfast of scrambled tofu, homemade baked beans, grilled tomato and vegan sausage and London’s Best Vegan Burger with chilli fig jam and guacamole. Wash this down with a raw fresh juice of spinach, romaine lettuce, parsley, celery and cucumber (Green Lantern). For more details go to www.safrestaurant.co.uk/.
Seaham Hall is a stunning five-star boutique hotel in County Durham which is also now home to unconventional chef Martin Blunos. The Blunos Sea Grill serves delicious sustainable fish and seafood which as much as possible is locally caught. Served with the trademark Blunos stamp, Mussels are steamed with shallots and oaked chardonnay, Halibut comes alongside peas a la francaise and chive mash and dessert includes Tonka bean creme brulee with chestnut and coffee. Look out for a dine and stay offer and take advantage of the newly renovated and award-winning Serenity Spa. Design Restaurants Members dine complimentary (when joined by a full paying guest) Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday dinner and for Sunday Lunch. For more details click here.
Chef Simon Rimmer has been resident in trendy Didsbury since 1990 and is entirely self taught. Now a household name due to regular TV slots he still plays a major role in the kitchen, shamelessly ‘stealing from cultures across the world to develop dishes that are defined not by a negative absence of meat, but by the positive inclusion of fantastic ingredients and flavours that happen to be purely vegetarian’. The menu is excellently priced and offers Pumpkin, Feta and Pea salad; Roquefort, Pecan and Tarragon Cheesecake; and Jamaican Pepperpot Stew. The atmosphere is also as fresh and zingy as the food. For more details go to www.greensdidsbury.co.uk.
This Michelin recommended restaurant was originally sited in York and moved in 2008, quickly establishing itself as one of the finest vegetarian restaurants in the capital. It aims to feed vegetarians and carnivores by elevating ‘meat-free’ cooking to a new level, experimenting with original and surprising flavour combinations. How about Yellow Pea Soup and Marmite Dumplings? Or Fried Mushroom Mousse and Rosemary Scone with Mushy Peas, Horseradish, Fennel and Whipped Lemon. As a dedicated carnivore I must say my interest is most definitely sparked! With 3 courses priced at £24.50 its definitely a risk worth taking. For more details go to www.vanillablack.co.uk/.
Set up by ex- Zuma chef John Jones in 2006 after extensive time spent cooking in Japan , Yatai won Best Oriental Restaurant in the 2013 Scottish Restaurant Awards. Although ‘healthy eating’ and ‘Scotland’ may not be a classic google search term, Japanese restaurants are now prolific north of the border and Jones intention was to bring authentic Japanese cuisine to the city of Aberdeen. Yatai actually means a ‘small street food stall’ and this small but well established restaurant aims to serve a wide range of classic and modern Japanese food while keeping the convivial atmosphere of the street stalls. Dishes include classic Sushi and Sashimi selections alongside flame grilled skewers such as Rib Eye Teriyaki and Minced Chicken Sansho. Cocktails also use classic ingredients with a Japanese twist such as a ‘Shochu Sour’, shochu, yuzu, eggwhite and lemongrass gomme. For more details go to www.yatai.co.uk/.
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