Foodie Five: Healthy Lunches in London
We all start the new year with good intentions to detoxify, whether that means ditching the 3pm biscuit binge or a total transformation from burger junkie to vegan warrior.
But these resolutions are often abandoned within a few weeks of returning to work, when quick and convenient snacking trumps calorie conscious catering.
However, with an ever-expanding list of balanced restaurants and diet friendly delivery options, eating healthy but heavenly fare in London has become a whole lot easier. Below you will find five of the best. Let’s lunch, ladies.
Best for: salubrious socialising.
ETHOS is London’s hottest new vegetarian restaurant, revolutionising the idea of meat-free munching. Seats are nestled between silver birch trees and colourful self-service platters are laid on marble platforms. We loved the fermented vegetables in the signature coleslaw, especially as fermentation is set to be a key foodie trend for 2015 with live cultures said to aid digestion. However, the stand out dish is the aloo scotch egg with homemade spicy ketchup: the yolk oozes perfectly from the centre of the generously sized sphere, whilst the slightly spicy exterior is well executed and doesn’t feel like a meat supplement. Happily, dessert options are also plentiful, and though our vegan panna cotta had a curious texture the puds are still worth saving space for as our peanut butter and chocolate ball was heavenly.
Whether eating in or taking out, dishes are priced by weight, so cutting your portion size will cut your calorie intake as well as your bill. A moderately heaped plate will cost you around £13 but this is high quality nutritious food in a setting surprisingly tranquil for somewhere just minutes from Oxford Circus, so we think it’s a price worth paying.
ETHOS, 48 Eastcastle Street, Fitzrovia, London W1W 8DX
Best for: al desko dining.
We all know that homemade packed lunches are economical and let you make bespoke creations free from preservative nasties, but when you have all-day meetings and a pressing deadline, rising early to make quinoa is unlikely to be a task at the top of the agenda. Fortunately, former city-worker Ed answered our packed lunch prayers when he began his journey from lawyer to lunch boy and set up delivery service, WellFed.
WellFed lunches are nutritionally balanced and include high protein meat options. More importantly, they pack a serious flavour punch. Our favourite so far has been grilled steak with roasted broccoli, kale, brown rice, and ginger dressing. At just £6.25 for a guilt-free meal including a free energy bite and delivery, we certainly feel that the company lives up to its name.
WellFed currently deliver to Spitalfields but will be expanding in the near future. In the meantime, if you’re not in East London but are looking to improve your dining al desko, we also love the speedy service at Eat First and for hardcore health fanatics we recommend Raw Fairies.
3. The Detox Kitchen
Best for: on the go grazing.
Founded by the talented Lily Simpson, this serene deli in Soho provides the perfect antidote to calorific chain shop creations. Ditch syrup laden lattes for an In The Pink smoothie, a blend of raspberry, banana, apple, rice yoghurt and a kick of fresh ginger. The fresh range of seasonal salads, lean meat and fish will also have your mouth watering, whilst our on-the-go snack hack – savoury muffins flecked with sundried tomato, sweetcorn, courgette and pumpkin seeds – hits those hunger pangs in the right places. With an ample array of gluten, wheat and dairy free dishes, it’s little wonder the Detox Kitchen now has a concession in the Harvey Nichols Foodhall and has attracted a serious celebrity fanclub including Elle Macpherson and Gwyneth Paltrow.
The Detox Kitchen, 10 Kingly Street, London, W1B 5PJ and Harvey Nicholls, 109-125 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7RJ.
Best for: calorie conscious celebrations.
If you’re looking for somewhere to entertain clients or celebrate a special ocassion while avoiding rich cuisine, Roka is our number one choice. Serving contemporary Japanese robotayaki as well as traditional sushi, Roka’s extensive menu has a wide range of low calorie options and sashimi superior to most in London. The tuna tataki with apple mustard dressing has the perfect balance of creamy toro tuna with a tangy twist. As with sister restaurant Zuma, Roka’s black cod is a must-order dish and here it’s served with a citrus-scented yuzu miso. If you’re going to break your diet for anything, the baby back ribs with a spiced glaze and cashew nuts are mouth-wateringly good. All four London locations boast sleek interiors, reliable service and faultless food so this is a fail-safe option when you need to impress but don’t want to regress.
Roka, Charlotte Street, Aldwych, Mayfair and Canary Wharf.
5. Planet Organic
Best for: food trend followers.
If your day is decidedly grey and you need an urgent pick-me-up, Planet Organic is the place to go. With hot and cold food counters where you can mix everything from slow cooked pork and bean stew to edamame stir fry and Greek salad, Planet Organic is great for indecisive eaters.
The salad bar includes a delicious detox salad of shredded beetroot, carrot, pumpkin seeds and an orange dressing, whilst a green goddess (including apple, kiwi, cucumber and pineapple) from the juice menu will leave you feeling virtuous for the afternoon. For food trend followers, there are alkaline salads, matcha green teas, nut milks and nut butters, coconut milk yoghurts (lactose free, gluten free, everything free), a plethora of raw desserts, kale crisps and a whole lot more.
Planet Organic, six stores across London.