Vegetarian

In short

A brilliant ‘clean eating’ dining experience

Review

This place absolutely knocked our socks off!

Visited by both amateur and professional athletes alike, the menu at the restaurant is designed for customers who know what they want, but kind to those who are still learning the ropes of good nutrition.

Social media has been buzzing about this place for a while and for good reason.

When we walked into the Leyton branch we fell in love immediately. Normally when you think of restaurants that attract clean eaters and athletes, you can’t help but assume that the interior décor would be equally ‘tough’ or ‘rugged’, but the restaurant is designed and decorated in a way that says ‘yes, our menu is perfect for clean eaters but everyone is welcome!’

Gyms Kitchen Interior

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything you need to make an informed decision is available on the menu: calories, fat, carbs and protein. The menu was also incredibly diverse and included appetisers, salads, wraps, protein pancakes – you can even order a banana split.

You’ll also find that there are options for vegetarians and the menu also indicates which meals are gluten free.

The food here is beautifully presented and the portion sizes are out of this world. When we ordered the tuna steak we genuinely expected one of those dainty sized portions that you get in other restaurants, but Gyms Kitchen make sure you leave fully satiated.

Another great attribute of this restaurant is the customer service – our waitress was polite, engaging, knowledgeable and friendly which added to our dining experience.

During our visit our server informed us that kitchen didn’t usually allow menu modifications as it could impact service times – an explanation we were quite happy with. Given that there is genuinely something for everyone on the menu, we felt it was a fair decision.

It’s obvious that a lot of thought was put into the execution of this restaurant, from the food and the staff to the bill pouch.

Gratuity was included in the price but we were so happy with the service that we wanted to leave a tip.

It didn’t feel like we were eating healthy as such, it felt as though we had gone out for dinner in a great restaurant that happened to serve nutritionally responsible food.

This is the type of place that we would like to see as a concession in gyms around the country.

Gyms Kitchen is proof that clean, honest food does not have to be boring or void of taste.

What we tried:

Gyms Kitchen Chicken Wings

 

 

 

 

 

 


Chicken Wings

Gyms Kitchen Grilled Halloumi 2

 

 

 

 

 

 


Grilled Halloumi

Gyms Kitchen Rump Steak 2

 

 

 

 

 

 


Rump Steak

Gyms Kitchen Tuna Steak 2

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tuna Steak

Gyms Kitchen Garlic Spinach and Spicy Rice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garlic Spinach and Spicy Rice

Gyms Kitchen Banana Split 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banana Split

Gyms Kitchen Peanut Butter Ice Cream 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Protein Ice Cream

What we liked

  • Nutritional information is easy to find
  • Portion sizes are ample
  • Customer service is second to none

What we would do differently

Give the option of peanut butter ice cream in the banana split (pretty please!)

Who can eat here?

Carb Conscious and Calorie Counter Busy Bodies will have the most fun here but Gluten Aware, Vegetarian and Vegan Busy Bodies will also find suitable options on the menu.

Value for money

Our bill for all of the above came to £41.72 including gratuity.

We think this was incredibly good value for money – especially given the portion sizes.

Locations

Leyton: 388-392 High Road Leyton London United Kingdom E10 6RT

Gants Hill: 376 – 378 Cranbrook Road, Gants Hill, Essex, IG2 6HW

Find out more

www.gymskitchen.com

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In short

The gluten free menu additions are well thought through AND tasty

Review

Pizza Express feels like a British high street staple, however, until recently, if you are coeliac or gluten intolerant, Pizza Express would not have been high on your list of places to eat (for obvious reasons.)

Thankfully, Pizza Express have shown their awareness of changing customer requirements by launching a comprehensive gluten free menu this autumn.

It’s reassuring to see that a great deal of research has obviously gone into this menu. For example, the gluten free base is not available for all the pizzas, such as the Sloppy Giuseppe, because some of the toppings contain gluten. Furthermore, coeliacs can also safely enjoy a brownie AND a beer from Pizza Express which sets them apart from their competitors.

This shows that Pizza Express is not treating the gluten free movement as a trend but as a genuine dietary requirement.

Calorie counters can also find the nutritional info on the website and will be pleased to see that the new menu also includes a superfood salad which has baby spinach, roasted butternut squash, beetroot, light baby mozzarella and other nutritious ingredients.

Their lower calorie Legerra pizzas are also still available for their customers who tend to keep a close eye on their calories.

What we tried:

Gran Padano on a gluten free pizza base

Gran Padano on a Gluten Free base

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can taste the difference between the gluten free base and their standard base, but that’s to be expected and the taste wasn’t bland. The base did go hard a little more quickly than the standard base, but again that was to be expected (and we are notoriously slow eaters)

Superfood salad

Pizza Express Superfood Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our tester wasn’t a huge fan of it and felt that it was ‘filling but bland’

Pollo Ad Astra Legerra

Pizza Express Pollo Ad Astra Legarra

 

 

 

 

 

Again, this one didn’t get a great response from our tester as she felt that her ‘salad was just leaves, rather than an actual mixed vegetable salad, therefore very boring’.

What we liked

 

The food was visually appealing

There was no extra charge for the gluten free option

The gluten free menu was clearly thought through and well researched

Their website is clear and concise

Their allergy information can be downloaded from the site

Their nutritional information can also be downloaded from the site

What we would do differently

 

The superfood salad may benefit from a few more herbs to add more flavour without raising the calories

Who can eat here?

Calorie Counters Try the Legerra pizzas
Carb Conscious Superfood Salad with Chicken (ask for your balsamic syrup on the side)
Gluten Aware Anything with the GF symbol next to it
Vegetarian Anything with the ‘v’ symbol next to it
Vegan Vegans are limited to roasted tomatoes, olives marinate, macron almonds, dough balls (if butter is substituted for oil), a side salad, sorbet, Nocellara Del Belice olives.

Value for money

 

Gran Padano on GF base

Superfood Salad

Polla Ad Astra Leggera

Loyalty card

No loyalty card per se but there are regular offers and promotions available if you sign up to receive their newsletters. We used a 25% off voucher and the gluten free pizza base was included in the discount.

Locations

There are more than 400 in the UK. Find your local Pizza Express here

Find out more

www.pizzaexpress.com

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Tossed

 

 

 

In short

Tossed encourages a balanced approach by offering a wide choice of options

Review

Tossed was recommended to us by a student athlete who liked the fact that he could get a healthy meal on the go. So we headed off to the branch in Westfield, Stratford City with a big appetite and high expectations.

Tosser Mug

The Tossed brand is clean and attractive and somehow manages to make healthy eating seem kinda fun. They are also more than happy to play up to their name with cute novelty items like mugs that say ‘I’m a tosser’ and ‘My man’s a tosser’.

Tossed - WorkWe were happy to see loads of little nutrition tips on the till and around the salad bar. The salad bar was full of lots of goodies which we tried to photograph but staff said photo taking was a no-no so you’ll have to get down there to check it out for yourself. You’ll find a number of protein options in addition to clean carbs and a wide range of sensible toppings and dressings. Vegetarian and vegan options are quite clearly signposted, and the menu appears to be fairly coeliac friendly (apart from the wraps) but it’s always worth asking the question.

Nutritional information can be downloaded from the site but you’ll need a calculator and a little patience to figure out the value of your meal.

There is a charge for swapping items on the house menu, unless you are a vegetarian and wish to swap a meat item for another item. Their menu also includes fresh fruit juices, low fat smoothies and milkshakes.

As much as we were in love with the ethos, options and attention to detail, we felt that our menu choices were a bit lacking in flavor and moreishness. To be fair, this may be down to the fact that we opted for cold options.

This is definitely a great place for anyone who has made a commitment to balanced, healthy living and whose taste buds have adjusted to their healthier lifestyle.

What we tried:

Chipotle Chicken Salad with a half brown rice and half lettuce base

Tossed Chicken Chipotle Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greek Wrap

Tossed - Greek Wrap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we liked

The fact that Tossed was the first UK establishment to display the nutritional value of their meals

The fact that they play up to their name

What we would do differently

Give an approximate nutritional value of some of the meals

Who can eat here?

Calorie Counters The Tossed menu is your oyster as all the calorie information you need is there
Carb Conscious Muscle Builder on a lettuce base
Gluten Aware Grilled Halloumi
Vegetarian Chipotle Salad or Wrap with Falafel
Vegan Greek Salad or Wrap with Avocado

 

Value for money

Their prices are a little on the steep end for what you are getting:

Chicken Chipotle Salad £7.45

Greek Wrap £6.95

Loyalty card

They are currently running an offer where you can get a week of hot drinks for a fiver with their coffee card. Ask in store for details.

Locations

You can see their list of stores here

Find out more

www.tosseduk.com

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If your only experience of Caribbean food is from the streets of Ladbroke Grove towards the end of an eventful Notting Hill Carnival, you’d be forgiven for querying the nutritional friendliness of a typical Caribbean meal. However, a visit to Rhythm Kitchen in Westfield Stratford may challenge that opinion.

Located in one of the largest shopping centres in the UK, Rhythm Kitchen serves a Caribbean menu with a slightly modern twist.

The ‘I jerked the sheriff’ printed boldly on the back of staff shirts and website warnings that chickens will be jerked on site are humorous on the one hand but indicative of how integral Caribbean seasoning is to the menu.

Expect basics like jerk chicken, jerk pork and braised oxtail alongside modern additions such as the jerk chicken burger and jerk chips.

This establishment seems to be conscious of their halal diners, which calls into question the inclusion of jerk pork on the menu.

We also noticed that there is only one dish on the menu that has been specifically created for vegetarians…

We tried:

Jerk chicken breast pieces with a side salad and coleslaw

Jerk pork with rice and peas and coleslaw

Lamb roti

This is definitely not a stereotypical Caribbean offering. The flavours were combined a little differently than we were expecting from the jerk pork and jerk chicken but the authenticity was not compromised.

The same couldn’t be said for the lamb roti which had the right seasoning but lacked the depth of flavour that a roti should have.

Regardless of the taste, food is prepared without excess oil, well presented and served in sensible portions.

Value for money
At £7.25 for a ¼ chicken with 2 sides it’s a touch more expensive than your average Caribbean meal but that’s to be expected given its high profile location.

Good for: Halal diners

Ok for: Vegetarian, vegan and carb conscious diners

Not so good for: calorie counters, coeliacs

What we liked
The modern twist to a traditional offering

The preparation area plainly visible

What we would do differently
Remove jerk pork from the menu

Add at least one more vegetarian dish to the menu

Either revisit the recipe for the lamb roti or remove it from the menu and stick to what they do best – jerk

What they said:
We e-mailed Rhythm Kitchen to find out what assurance they can give to their halal diners that there is no risk of cross contamination.

We’re still waiting on a response but will update you as soon as they come back to us.

Find out more:
www.rhythmkitchen.co