Beyond the stomach turning fish and chips, bloating Indian curries and animal flesh on every plate, London’s diners now also have healthier options when dining out. Thriving ethnic diversity has invited new flavours but also dietary habits to the metropolitan London. The current healthy eating front streams insistently from multiple directions, so particularly the global elite residing in the pricy city invited high-quality, healthy cooking in. The plant-centric trends from California, New York and Japan landed timely. Although organic produce is still hard to come by in the UK’s capital, some cold-pressed juice bars, raw diet cafés, and most of the plant-based food eateries source organic and locally. As most scientists would agree, healthy means no hormones, potentially harmful additives (carcinogenic, inflammatory) and eating balanced meals with vegetables, legumes and whole-grains as the foundation, excluding red meat, high-fat dairy, saturated (except for coconut oil) and trans-fats. Eating local often means that the nutrients and vitamins were not diminished, but that further depends on transport, storage and the quality of the soil, hence biodynamic and organic foods score better.
However, some “healthy”cafés or restaurants did not convince me taste-wise or for other reasons:
Grace Spa in Belgravia – while beautiful on the plate, the food was not sourced from the most vibrant-tasting ingredients. To cut it short, our lunch was bland.
Gauthier in SoHo – by far the most delicious, refined gastronomic vegan offering in town, but the oversupply of bread, butter and extra snacks and desserts spoil your healthy resolve. You get the calories printed on the menu, but who counts the extras?
The vegetarian restaurant Vanilla Black falls into the same high calorie and sugar trap. The plates should be more vegetables than carb-centric. It’s a nice place for dinner though.
Weighhouse Deli of the popular local plant-based recipe creator behind the food blog Deliciously Ella is more a fast food, for its limited seating space discriminates slow eaters. The food is quite good, but I rather turn to Ottolenghi for superb salads to go. True, his cookies are sweetened with sugar, while hers with low GI coconut sap or maple syrup, but the calories are often higher in the high-nut and chocolate vegan sweets, and if you are not diabetic, no stress, it is as unhealthy as the sugar.
I investigated what are the best, consistent, healthy nutrition-focused eateries across London for over a decade. Some of my choices are basic cafés with fun, local community feel, but they also attract curious globetrotting foodies who blend in.
My east to west selections of the best of healthy dining in London that follow are fit for a mindful sit-down breakfast, energising lunch and most also for a dinner date. If the other half truly likes you, a healthy meal out should not be a turn off, but a green light for a long, healthy life together. Most also offer wine and cocktails next to tea, juices and other healthy drinks, signalling that a spritz of alcohol is not necessarily bad for you. Consuming anything in moderation is key to a good health. Cold-pressed juices that retain maximum of nutrients are squeezed at most of these healthy-minded dine-ins and -outs.
Numerous respectable scientific studies have proven that a balanced, mostly plant-based organic diet with a mindful addition of minimally processed, hormone-free and grass-fed animal flesh and seafood is healthy for us.
Mildred’s Covent Garden
MUST HAVE: Warm corn bread, guacamole & house nachos,
MINDFUL MEDITATION BRUNCH FARM PRODUCE
42 Chiltern St, Marylebone, London W1U 7QT
RAW ORGANIC TRENDY VEGAN
MUST HAVE: Savoury mushroom crêpe, Blood cleanser juice, Kale salad, Kohlrabi ravioli with nut “cheese”.
110 Talbot Road, Notting Hill, London W11 1JR
COCKTAILS ORGANIC RAW TRENDY VEGAN
MUST HAVE: Grawnola with raw goji jam and fresh almond milk, Avo Un-Toast on sunflower seed onion “bread”, Thai Curry Noodles, Taco with oyster mushroom and walnut “meat”, Blueberry Tart, My Fresh Start, My Vision juice.
35 Ixworth Place, Chelsea, London SW3 3QX
ORGANIC BRUNCH FARM PRODUCE WILD SEAFOOD
MUST HAVE: Seasonality is taken seriously at Daylesford. Choose three or four seasonal salads for a bowl. For breakfast try the plain yoghurt, kefir, orchard fruits, honey.
208-212 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill London W11 2RH
VEGETARIAN SELF-SERVICE CONTEMPORARY
MUST HAVE: Seitan marinated ribs, String bean salad, hummus.
48 Eastcastle St, London W1W 8DX
Hemsley and Hemsley at Selfridges
GRAIN & REFINED SUGAR FREE SUSTAINABLE SEASONAL
MUST HAVE: Bone and miso broth, trio of salads, Bounty bar. Skip the dry crab cakes, plus their kimchi.
3F The Selfridges, Oxford street
BAR COCKTAILS ORGANIC TRENDY VEGAN
MUST HAVE: Mezze for two to share (kale chips, chestnut humus, crispy flatbread and wow the cauliflower popcorn, Kimchi Bowl with soba, Farmacy Salad laced with red beet dressing
Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill
Wild Food Café
ORGANIC RAW RUSTIC VEGETARIAN
MUST HAVE: Fresh coconut water served in its shell (rare in London), Super salad, Grilled halloumi cheese (less fat than hard and most creamy cheese).
First Floor, 14 Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9DP
Redemption Bar on Old Street
ORGANIC, VEGAN, NO ALCOHOL
MUST HAVE: Drinks, going booze free here means to savour creative liquid flavours in house-made infusions, fragrant low-calorie sparkling rose water and other fruit and herb cordials; Californication; the mostly raw desserts with superfoods like chocolate or açai berries.
320 Old St, London EC1V 9DR, UK