I’m sure by now, you’ve come to expect a healthy little post on this blog every so often, especially when life seems to be gathering an indulgent pace.
I strive for a balance by eating light when I can… and personally, I find that there’s nothing quite like a beautiful and satisfyingly-wholesome salad to help me do so! Thankfully, we’re deliciously spoilt for choice in this area now, courtesy of the new-age healthy eateries popping up all over London. Here are some of my favourites, where I’ll definitely be getting my fix this summer…
Recently opened on Drury Lane, this minimalist and very eco-friendly eatery serves up one of the tastiest selection of salads I’ve encountered in a while.
Think cinnamon-roasted heritage carrots, split fava beans and squash sprinkled with sultanas and pumpkin seeds, grilled harissa chicken (slow-marinated before) and roasted aubergine with tahini and sumac… (to name just a few of their sprightly options).
You can build-your-own box, choosing between two (hot or cold) sides to go with your protein-based main; or simply grab one of the ready-to-go boxes if you need to dash back to the office. It makes for a very perky lunch al desko!
Farmstand, 42 Drury Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2B 5AJ.
A short walk down from Farmstand is a charming little cafe cosseted between the colourful patchwork of Neal’s Yard, which is dedicated to the love for simple, natural and visually appealing food…
Peppered with delicate yet vivid flavours, the salads here showcase a versatile mix of ingredients from buckwheat to sauerkraut, while the unique dressings add a sharp edge – I’m working my way up to trying the fennel and dill-based one! Expect edible flowers for a final flourish.
SaladPride, 2 Neal’s Yard WC2H 9DP
Eat Poké London
Also a thing of real beauty? Poké.
If you haven’t heard about this Hawaiian classic yet, then you definitely will be soon as it’s really all about poké at the moment in London.
Think of it as a deconstructed sushi or ceviche bowl, which starts from a base of (super-healthy) black rice and then continues with marinated raw fish, before you pile on a host of other veggies and even fruits, topping off with deliciously zesty dressings.
Vegetarians needn’t miss out on the fun either – marinated tofu and mushrooms often replace the fishy elements, as at Eat Poké London – the pop-up which recently completed a spell at Selfridges’ food hall and is now trading with Kerb across London.
You can also discover your passion for poké at Black Roe Poké Bar and Grill (the very trendy restaurant from Kurt Zdesar), Tombo Poké and Matcha Bar (recently opened in Soho by the tea specialists, Tombo) or even your local Pret!
If you see a pattern emerging, you’re spot on.
Our obsession for poké might just be part of a larger shift towards “bowl food” – hearty concoctions that are as creative as they are wholesome.
At Farmacy, you get your dose in the form of Earth Bowls, featuring hefty heaps of quinoa alongside a medley of clean greens and superfoods.
Although my recent experience at this new “veggan” restaurant in Notting Hill was overall just a whelming affair, there’s no denying that it was one of the most filling healthy meals, I’ve had out in a while!
Farmacy, 74 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5SH
Hemsley + Hemsley Cafe
Other goodness bowls worthy of mention include the Hemsley bowl…
and Mae bowls…
… Which you’ll find at the cafes respectively launched by food writers/ bloggers – the Hemsley sisters and Ella Mills of Deliciously Ella. Get the full 411, here.
Hemsley + Hemsley at Selfridges, Selfridges & Co, 400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB
Mae deli, 21 Seymour Place, Marylebone, W1H 5BH
Of course if you want to get back to the basics, there’s no dearth of eateries tried and tested, such as Yotam Ottolenghi’s charming cafe in Belgravia…
While it’s a tough task passing over the all-too-enticing display of sweet treats, there’s no denying that the gorgeous salads here are quite a temptation themselves. The Jerusalem-born chef’s rich spin on the humble aubergine in particular, is not to be missed.
Ottolenghi, 13 Motcomb St, London SW1X 8LB
Rounding off the salad love, I must let you in on one of Soho’s best kept secrets…
A stall at Berwick Street Market serving up anything but your average salad (if the queues spilling around the corner are anything to go by).
The monstrously good salads here strike a hearty balance of grains, proteins and fresh vegetables, which mix fabulously well together. It’s definitely worth the queue that’s invariably bound to precede it!
Other good grab-and-go options in the area include Pret’s all-veggie pop-up on Broadwick street and the uplifting health-pots at Crussh stores.
But if you’re looking to throw together something light and healthy at home, did you know that you can find heaps of Kitchen Inspiration on this blog too? The Ivy have shared their recipe for a skinless fragrant chicken salad in a lime and chilli dressing…
Or perhaps, this post might have you keen to try a goodness bowl of your own? If so, I found Mira Manek’s radiant recipe a great place to start…
You might even find yourself craving a salad for breakfast, once you’ve tried the Detox Kitchen’s recipe for an avocado smash with toasted nuts and seeds…
And finally, how about a summer Asian slaw, paired with tender slivers of tahini miso-baked aubergine and pomegranate grilled halloumi, courtesy of the lovely recipes by Adria Wu of Maple & Fitz?
Do you have a favourite salad?