I was lucky enough to dine with friends over a week ago at the first “paleo” restaurant in Britain before it officially opens this week. The Pure Taste Restaurant on Westbourne Grove promises a menu that is gluten, sugar and dairy-free, without scrimping on taste. We were not disappointed.
Amongst some of the dishes we tried were…. Pan-seared breast of wild mallard duck with celeriac rosti, sautéed kale, spiced cranberry and clementine sauce. Fresh mussels in a Thai-spiced coconut broth. Chocolate tart with cacao nibs and goji berries, caramelised banana ice cream, dark chocolate lattice. All absolutely delicious and packed with nutrition. The only thing on the menu we disliked was the Spiced pear and pecan crumble, with almond milk crème Anglaise, which left a strange after taste. To their credit the chef explained that was due to some over sour lemons and immediately whipped us up a new one.
So what exactly is paleo? The paleo, or caveman, diet principle is that humans have not evolved enough to digest modern foods, lacking the enzyme needed to process gluten-rich grains such as wheat, rye and barley. Also excluded under the paleo plan are dairy, alcohol, legumes (including all beans, peas and peanuts), processed oils, coffee and refined sugar. So anything that our prehistoric ancestors couldn’t produce.
What’s allowed? Meat, fish, eggs, nuts and non-starchy vegetables – all produced as naturally as possible.
A trendy London restaurant not serving alcohol… not even wine with dinner? Surely not! Fret not…. I’m happy to announce that Pure Taste has loosened it’s alcohol rules and serves a selection of delicious organic wines. We sampled a bottle of the prossecco which was delicious and awoke energised, hangover free with zero post night out guilt!
Would I advocate living a strict paleo lifestyle? Cutting out whole food groups can be detrimental and wholegrains can be a great source of vital nutrients and fibre. However, going paleo has helped many to lose weight, gain energy, and even helped to alleviate problems such as skin conditions and allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, depression and chronic autoimmune conditions.
Personally, I like to follow the 80/20 rule. Perhaps our bodies haven’t evolved enough past being cavemen but our minds certainly have. Choose 80% to be healthy, nutritious, alkalising and ‘good’ for your body. The other 20% is good for your mind and soul… I think it far worse to deprive yourself of what you’d like and be miserable, (which is just as toxic for your body), than to have a little of what is ‘naughty’ and be happy.
Pure Taste supports this rule perfectly with it’s menu firmly in the 80% and its organic wines leaning towards the 20%. It is definitely on my list of favourite places to dine and I look forward to many more opening just like it.
Until next time…. be healthy, be happy!