With the exception of avoiding certain foods for medical reasons, I'm looking at you caffeine, I don't think I've ever gone on a 'diet'. Sure I went vegetarian for February, but this was more about wanting to expand my repertoire of vegetarian meals to find easy veggie dishes which I could cook during the week. And actually make some dishes from the mountain of recipe books that live in our flat. So when I looked up the menu for The Good Life Eatery, a restaurant in Sloane Square and now Marylebone in London(!) which focuses on creating simple, clean and delicious dishes, juices, smoothies and you-name-it-they-make-it, I was shocked to find out I'm a 'clean eater'. FYI I'm a bit obsessive with looking through the menus of restaurants before I go (it's basically food porn).
I know you wouldn't think it but I'd unknowingly been partaking in a diet. You wouldn't think it because of the last post I wrote about the most delicious éclairs I've had in my life, the time I ate all the onion rings and the fact that on Thursday Sophie, Frankie, Gianni (Yay! Blogger Friends!) and I ate enough fried chicken for the whole of London in one night, but it's true.
After pointing out all these 'bad' foods I've had, you could be right to think 'there's no way she's a clean eater, I've seen clean and you girl are certainly not it' (in my head this is said in gospel). But then you'd be wrong my friend, clean eating is eating a healthy balanced diet avoiding processed foods. And of all those naughty foods I had, none of them were processed and this is what The Good Life Eatery prides itself on, unprocessed, clean, healthy food with a few treats thrown in. I can see you're coming round, but now you're thinking 'éclairs, onion rings and fried chicken doesn't sound like a very balanced diet'. This is true, except haven't you heard I'm a vegetarian saint during the week, with the exception of the fried chicken; God bless its giblets.
Still reeling from my diet discovery, I grabbed my friends, Alex and Janet, and under the disguise of visiting the Saatchi Gallery and, mostly, the food market in Duke of York Square outside it (which is definitely worth a trip to Chelsea for!) we headed to The Good Life Eatery for a seasonal brunch.
We squeezed into The Good Life Eatery, were pushed up against the door and waited in line to get to the counter to order. This is my only negative about The Good Life Eatery, there is no order-at-your-table service. I know it's happening more and more in London but it's something I really don't like, especially in restaurants and busy cafes. I'm not asking for silver service, but I don't want to queue for a table and then have to queue for a second time to order, and then again if I want anything else. It's just annoying and breeds hangry diners when you have to queue for 15 minutes each time. We went on a horrible day, when it was pouring with rain, but if it hadn't been I probably would have suggested we order, grab our food and get out sharpish. And there is only one thing worse than queuing, it's queue jumpers. Something my friend Alex did not take very well when a guy jumped in front of and knocked into her simultaneously.
Anyway we didn't go for a rainy picnic but decided to slug it out in the dreaded queuing system. Eventually we ordered and shortly three delicious drinks came our way. Alex went for the Pink Panther, a superfood smoothie of raspberries, strawberries, avocado, vanilla, oats and lots of other goodies, topped with goji berries. While Janet and I decided we were latte ladies, Janet had the chai and I opted for caffeine-free rooibos.
I generally avoid caffeine, I get the worst headaches because of it. The only time I'll go for it is when I'm out for coffee with friends and there's no caffeine-free options, then I might opt for a good ol' breakfast tea, or a latte or mocha if I want something creamy. So to find somewhere that not only had rooibos but also had rooibos lattes, I felt very lucky that day. I'm not a huge smoothie fan, but Alex loved hers and it was super fruity when I sipped a bit. Some people have criticised the amount you pay for smoothies, but when I think of all the ingredients that go into them I don't think £6 is unreasonable.
After a bit of a gossip, our food arrived and we got down to the serious business of eating. Alex went for the Skinny Benedict which basically replaces the hollandaise sauce with yogurt saffron sauce, something I eat a lot of at home thrown over everything. Wedges, grilled veg, wraps, you name it and it's been tangoed or, according to the correct terminology, saffroned. This was a great dish to kick start the day with whole grain toast with sunflower seeds, avocado, eggs and pesto-coated cherry tomatoes, I had serious food envy.
Janet on the other hand went for the Sunset Club. A large sandwich packed out with chicken, lettuce, tomato, eggs, bacon and ranch dressing, the whole works between two slices of whole grain toast! Janet didn't speak till she was finished so I'm guessing it was pretty good.
I on the other hand, wanted to see how they did my ultimate favourite superfood salad, which I regularly make at home. It's very unlike me to order something I can do at home, you know if you can do it yourself why bother, but it was wet and I was in great need of comfort food. This salad was spot on, with bulgur wheat, rocket, roast butternut squash and onions, crowned with feta and pomegranate seeds and generously slathered with saffron yogurt. It was a superfood, super cool, butt kicking into shape salad in a mighty portion. I had to tag Alex in half way through to help me finish it and by the end we were viciously scrapping over who got the last pieces of feta and butternut squash.
One thing I love about The Good Life Eatery is how seasonal their menu is and they change it so regularly. Unfortunately that means my salad has come and gone, but Alex and Janet's meals are firm favourites on the menu! The Good Life Eatery also get their food from as local suppliers as possible, which means less food miles and faster food, a plus for the planet, community and you! I think if you can save the planet, help our society and be healthy just by eating here The Good Life Eatery's got a pretty good thing going on.
If anyone has any vegetarian or vegan(!) restaurant/café/stall recommendations, please drop me a comment as I'm always on the hunt for a new favourite. Let me know what you think about the queue and order system that's coming into London, it's not exactly new, pubs have done it for ages but in tiny cafes are we pro or anti this movement?