Healthy eating options in Manchester

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In a city full of burger restaurants, cocktail bars and cupcake shops, you would be forgiven in thinking that there isn’t much for health conscious people in terms of eating out options. But there is! Not only are there restaurants whose whole menus will make the healthier eaters happy, but there are also many restaurants with a healthy option if you are looking for it. Here are my favourites:

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Photo Credit: Wahu and Mowgli Street Food Facebook pages

—  Wahu: If you are looking for a quick lunch option in the Spinningfields area, head to Wahu. You can build your own salad box with fresh seasonal ingredients – I can recommend the Vietnamese chicken salad box.

—  Mowgli Street Food: Street food is all the rage right now, and one of the latest additions to the Manchester food scene is Mowgli Street Food. They have one of the best vegetarian/vegan and gluten free menus that I have seen in Manchester.

—  Try Thai: Thai food is known for using the freshest ingredients and having plenty of healthy options. Try Thai is the best Thai restaurant in Manchester in my option, and for a healthy option, go for the sea bass with a papaya salad. The papaya salad has a serious kick to it, so be prepared for that.

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Photo Credit: Bem Brasil Facebook page

—  Bem Brasil: If you have lived in Manchester a while, then there is a chance that you have been here. But if you haven’t and you are a meat lover, then this is the place for you. Unlimited barbequed meat is brought to your table, but you have the option of a fantastic salad bar too. You can fill up on vegetables, whilst still enjoying a meat feast too.

—  8th Day Cafe: Not only is 8th day one of the best places in Manchester to stock up on healthy ingredients, they also have a fantastic cafe downstairs with a changing menu. The salad bar is a highlight for me, and don’t miss out on the opportunity to get a slice of vegan cake.

—  Pita Pit: For a quick and healthy lunch, head to Pita Pit for made-to-order Mediterranean-inspired pitas. Their Fittest Selections pitas are all under 350 calories and you can choose from delicious fillings like grilled steak, tuna or spicy chicken. Add a salad and a fresh juice and you’re good to go.

You don’t have to give up meals out to be healthy, as Manchester has plenty of options to keep you on track, and to keep your stomach happy too.

This guest post was written by Manchester-based blogger Dannii – better known as Hungry Healthy Happy. Check out her blog for food and fitness inspiration or treat yourself to a copy of her new book.

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Nine aphrodisiac foods to get you in the mood for love

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With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we’ve rounded up nine of the most powerful aphrodisiac foods and some great places to eat them. If you’d like to try them out on the 14th, visit OpenTable to find and book the perfect table or get advice from our restaurant experts on twitter.

JSheekey

Oysters – Probably the most famous of all aphrodisiacs, oysters are high in zinc which can boost testosterone levels in men. Casanova, the notorious 18th century lover, ate them for breakfast to increase his stamina and let’s face it, there’s just something sexy about oysters and Champagne. Try them at the iconic J Sheekey Oyster Bar in London or at coastal dining destinations like Rocksalt and Hix Oyster & Chophouse.

Garlic – It might not sound like the best start to a romantic evening but one of garlic’s many health benefits is that it boosts blood flow. Try the delicious gambas al ajillo at La Bandera in Manchester or head to M Raw for soft shell crab sushi with cucumber, caviar and black garlic. (Just don’t forget the mints!)

Figs – With their honey scent and delicious pink flesh, it’s easy to see why figs are considered an aphrodisiac. They’re full of antioxidants and rich in amino acids which are known to increase sexual stamina. They’re not in season right now so head to 46 & Mercy (beneath HotBox) for a Stormy Monday spiked with fig liqueur.

Photo Credit: Sew... Let's Cook

Photo Credit Sew… Let’s Cook

Asparagus – The vitamins in asparagus can help to boost your sex drive so it’s a great choice for date night, especially if you eat it with your fingers. For something a little special, try asparagus wrapped in sliced rib-eye steak with black pepper sauce at Fat Buddha in Newcastle.

Honey – As well as giving you a natural sugar rush, honey contains boron – a mineral which boosts testosterone and estrogen production. Treat someone special to roast silver cod in Champagne and honey at Hakkasan Mayfair or baked-to-order cornbread with honey butter at The Lockhart.

Red wine – It sets the mood, helps you unwind and also contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that helps boost blood flow. Why not share a bottle of red and some tapas at Iberica in Manchester or let the experts at Antidote or 28-50 suggest the perfect bottle to go with your romantic meal.

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Chillies – The capsaicin in chilli peppers warms you up, gets your heart pumping and stimulates nerve endings so don’t be afraid to order something spicy on date night. If you think you can handle the heat, book a table at one of the spiciest restaurants in London.

Chocolate – Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a stimulant that that sparks dopamine production in the brain and triggers feelings of excitement, attraction and euphoria. Splash out on the Chocolate Afternoon Tea at The Landmark Hotel or visit Rabot 1745 for cocoa-infused dishes and drinks.

Pomegranate – The delicious ruby red seeds are packed with antioxidants which increase blood flow and experts say the fruit can increase testosterone levels too. At Maray in Liverpool, you’ll find a scattering of pomegranate seeds on some of their excellent vegetarian small plates.

What will you be ordering on Valentine’s Day? Let us know in the comments.

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Share your #DateNightDish to win a £100 OpenTable Gift card

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There’s less than two weeks until Valentine’s Day and we’re sharing the love with a gift card giveaway!

To enter, share a photo of your favourite date night dish with @OpenTableUK on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #DateNightDish for your chance to win one of five £100 OpenTable Gift cards. You can spend your Gift card at dining destinations across the UK including The Savoy Grill, Nobu, and The Cinnamon Club.

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We want to see the food you love to share with someone special, the dish you always order on a romantic night out, or something delicious you’ve cooked at home. You can submit one entry per social network each day until midnight on February 15th. Be sure to read the terms and conditions and follow us so we can contact you if you win.

Remember, restaurants are booking up fast for Valentine’s Day so visit OpenTable to find and book your perfect table today.

Tags: City Guides, Dining Inspiration, Featured, London. Total of no comments in the discussion.

Food Trends: What the UK will be eating in 2016

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If January tastes like salad and green juice, don’t worry – the rest of the year is going to taste so much better! The UK’s top chefs and food writers have shared their predictions for 2016 and we’ve rounded up the trends they agreed on. From seaweed to caipirinhas, here’s what the experts think we’ll be eating this year.

Brazilian dishes at Cabana Brasilian Barbecue.

Brazilian dishes at Cabana Brasilian Barbecue.

Brazilian – “The Olympics are heading to Rio, so Brazilian classics such as feijoada (pork and black bean stew), bolinhos (rice balls) and zesty cocktail the caipirinha will be everywhere,” says The Telegraph.

Less meat, more veg – “Plant- and vegetable-based meals and ingredients are fast becoming the fashionable, healthy and ethical choice,”says The Caterer. Expect to see more enticing veggie options on restaurant menus this year, as well as a rise in ‘root-to-stem’ eating where roots and skin are used to add texture and flavour.

Asian flavours – In the Evening Standard, Fay Maschler predicts that the success of restaurants like Bao, Hoppers and Jidori will encourage ‘more niche Asian food’, while blogger Chris Pople hopes that ‘Nepalese or Indonesian will be given the trendy no-reservations Soho treatment’.

Poke – Similar to ceviche, poke is a marinated raw fish dish from Hawaii that Condé Nast Traveler and The Telegraph reckon will be big this year. Try it in London at POND Dalston and Trader Vic’s.

Tinga de pollo lettuce cups at Peyote and 'fine casual' restaurant, Portland.

Tinga de pollo lettuce cups at Peyote and ‘fine casual’ restaurant, Portland.

Mexican – “We’ve been touting real Mexican as a new trend for decades now, but until a couple of years ago, Tex-Mex of dubious quality has dominated. So, while Peyote, Mestizo, Casa Morita and Wahaca, among others, have kicked the offer up a notch or two, there’s still a way to go country-wide,” says Olive.

Fine casual – Josh Katz, chef-owner of Berber & Q, predicts a rise in ‘fine casual’ restaurants like Portland and Pidgin, “both of which serve technically outstanding food whilst stripping away the formality that is often associated with food of such calibre”.

Seaweed – “Move over kale, there’s a new superfood hitting our plates for 2016 – seaweed”, says Clare Gazzard at Great British Chefs. Packed with fibre, iron, vitamin C, and antioxidants, the green stuff works well in soups, salads and even crisps and cocktails. If you’re not sure what to do with it at home, try the seaweed and samphire salad at Yama Momo or seaweed salted chips at Hook.

Pulses and grains – The United Nations has declared 2016 ‘The International Year of the Pulse’, so expect to see chefs experimenting with chickpeas, lentils, and ancient grains like spelt and freekeh.

Best of the rest – Bowl food. Tacos. Middle Eastern. Kombucha. Goat. Flexitarianism.

Which food trends would you like to see shake up the UK dining scene this year?

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News bites: What we’re reading

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Hungry for some restaurant gossip? Check out the food news we’re loving this week.

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–  Hawksmoor to open restaurant in New York – Big Hospitality

–  14 restaurants in London offering cheap January deals  – Metro

–  Casamia to open two new restaurants in Bristol – Bristol Bites

–  5 restaurants to celebrate Valentine’s Day in London – New Yorker Meets London

–  New restaurants Birmingham will welcome in 2016 – Dine Birmingham

–  19 undiscovered London bars you must visit before you die – Buzzfeed

–  Top 5 must-visit restaurants in Leeds – About Time

Got some food news or a restaurant review we should check out? Get in touch!

Tags: City Guides, Dining Inspiration, Featured, London, News bites - What we're reading. Total of no comments in the discussion.

New Year’s resolutions for foodies

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While the rest of the world has ditched alcohol and filled their fridges with kale, we’re busy thinking about how to make 2016 our most delicious year yet. If you’d like to expand your culinary horizons, here are some New Year’s resolutions for foodies that you’ll definitely want to stick to.

Resolutions

Spicy Sichuan fish at BarShu and the dining room at Maze Grill Park Walk.

Eat outside your comfort zone – If your Friday night curry has lost its appeal, maybe this is the year you try Korean BBQ or get some friends together for Afghan or Sichuan instead of Italian.

Cook the books – Set yourself a challenge to cook one or two recipes a week from all those cookbooks you rarely use. It’s a great way to add new dishes to your repertoire or dazzle some dinner guests.

Try somewhere new – Stuck in a dining rut? Make 2016 the year you try out some new openings, tick a celeb chef restaurant off your wish list, or finally check out that great dim sum place you read about.

Support a food charity – Why not make a donation to your local foodbank or get involved with charities like Action Against Hunger? It’s good food karma!

Resolutions2

A L’Atelier des Chefs class and pintxos in San Sebastian.

Take a class – Love to cook and fancy a new challenge? Get hands on with a bread making class at The Bertinet Kitchen or make a weekend of it with a course at the Padstow Seafood School. Londoners can take a speedy lunch class at L’Atelier des Chefs or master the art of dim sum at School of Wok.

Take a foodie road trip – Head to the coast, visit a food festival in another city, or go further afield and visit foodie destinations like San Sebastian, Paris, Bologna, or Vietnam.

Meat-free Mondays – There are lots of good reasons to eat less meat, from saving money to helping the environment, so why not commit to a couple of meat-free days each week? Browse food blogs and magazines for recipe inspiration or leave the cooking to the experts at one of these top vegetarian restaurants.

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Clear out your spice rack – Dusty old cloves and forgotten five spice have no place in 2016. Ditch the out-of-date stuff and splash out on the fresh, fragrant spices your dishes deserve.

Sharpen your knives – A sharp knife is safer than a blunt one and will make meal prep feel effortless.

Eat the seasons – Buy fruit and vegetables when they’re at their best – it’s cheaper, tastier and makes eating your five-a-day so much easier. The Eat the Seasons website is full of info to help you.

Swap supermarkets for farmers’ markets – You might not be able to do the full weekly shop but it’s a great way to support small producers. You might find their veg is cheaper and lasts longer too.

Have you made any food-focused resolutions for 2016? Let us know in the comments.

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