There’s a new healthy and bright Mood Boosting menu to try, if you’re still stuck with the January blues or want to continue withall the healthy resolutions.
This winter Covent Garden’s Sycamore Vino Cucina is serving a new menu created by a duo of Gary Lee (formerly executive chef of The Ivy Restaurant) and Ayurvedic chef and wellness consultant, Mira Manek.
Launched on Blue Monday in January, the healthy new offering is inspired by hero recipes from Mira’s popular vegetarian Indian cookbook, “Saffron Soul”.
Wholesome dishes crafted with super spices, famed for their mood-boosting properties and using season’s ingredients, have been adapted by the Chefs to help diners feeling their very best and equipped to power through the remaining colder, darker months.
The dishes are available from breakfast to dinner. Although we went in the evening we still sampled dishes from the full menu. One of the lunch highlights on the menu was daal – a DIY deconstructed lentil soup.
It was made for sharing while also encouraging us to personalise our daal to be as flavourful as we desired with side servings of tadka spices, crispy kaffir lime leaves and sesame seeds, coconut yogurt, chutney, roasted coconut chips and flatbreads.
That was one of our favorites. It was just as delightful to enjoy without any of the additional toppings, but with the extra garnishes it became something truly special.
As well as being healthy. I find the taste always jumps up in the rating when I know it’s also good for me. Lentils are packed with tryptophan, an amino acid that the body uses to make mood-stabiliser serotonin, they also contain B vitamin folate, which is needed to produce the chemical messenger.
Our next favourite was a multicoloured Buddha Bowl featuring slow-release carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes with spring broccoli and roasted red pepper for added fibre.
The veggies were served with a simple but aromatic coriander and cashew dressing. Even the look of the dish boosted our mood with its bright rainbow colours.
Our dishes were paired nicely with a selection of equally healthy drinks, cinnamon chai which was creamy with a light warming hint of cinnamon.
We completed our dining experience with a sweet yet healthy dessert – medjool date & almond butter. The creamy honey date was served on a refreshing coconut yogurt with aromatic raspberries.
The craving for sweetness was ticked off on our lists, who needs unnecessary calories of carbs rich desserts when you have dates?
Dates are rich in iron and B vitamins while the coconut yoghurt is soothing for the gut. It also came topped with cinnamon powder which aids digestion and blood sugar regulation.
Date was paired with a traditional soothing chai, which is Mira’s special and available to purchase for home. It was a perfect round up to the evening.
The dishes felt light yet filling with a mixture of textures and balanced mild spices. We left with just the right amount of fullness and a pleasant healthy feeling in our tummies and our minds.
I think the Mood Boosting menu mission was successful.
As pointed by the Chef, Gary Lee: “Our guests will experience an offering created to delight and revitalise so they can start the year feeling their best. Five dishes have been carefully designed by Mira, my team, and I to deliver maximum flavour and freshness from dusk to dawn.”
All of the dishes on the menu are vegan or vegetarian and inspired by Mira’s recipes in her new book, Saffron Soul. A few recipes below.
The recipe book is great for those looking for inspiration on how to cut down on animal produce and focus on homemade proper healthy dishes.
When I say healthy I mean raw healthy ingredients put together for a dance of textures. Forget cardboard tasting wholemeal pasta with broccoli. This is a real deal.
For those more on the spiritual side or looking to get into the spiritual mood with their body, baby steps at a time Mira has “Prajna: Ayurvedic Rituals For Happiness” book focusing on grounding work with your body and mind.
It is a light and easy read focusing on easy every day changes you can adopt for more of that zing feeling within yourself.
Date & almond butter dessert bowl
Served with masala chai
A plate with coconut yoghurt spread as a base, with 3 whole dates on top filled with almond butter, a few raspberries for a pop of colour and lots of cinnamon
3 tablespoons coconut yoghurt
3 medjool dates with around 1 tablespoon almond butter (to stuff the dates)
Top with some coconut chips (ideally toasted)
Cinnamon to sprinkle
Garnished with mint leaves
Drizzled with a little maple syrup
1 cup of oat / almond / soy milk
1 tablespoon Mira’s classic chai spice
Sycamore Vino Cucina, 66 Great Queen St, London WC2B 5BX