Dining on a diet

June 7, 2015

Over the last few weeks I’ve reviewed three burger restaurants plus an American barbecue venue – all very nice but maybe not great for the waistline.

So it was a pleasure to go to a “Dining on a Diet” last week at courtesy of personal trainer Joe Hanney of U Fit studios. I’d written a feature for the Mercury on Joe’s efforts to encourage his clients to realise they can dine out if they want to, even those who are on a strict weightloss regime. Eating out is of course one of life’s great pleasures and any diet is going to be more sustainable if it enables us to keep doing the things we enjoy.

Eating healthy is partly about making good choices  but it’s also about restaurants making those choices possible and Joe Hanney is working with a group of restaurants to try and get healthy dishes established on their menu. That feature was based on a lunch menu at Enderby’s Cini, and this was a follow up event  at a packed Maiyango in Leicester.

Chef Sav Tassari developed a light six course tasting which was a mere 700 calories. Starting with a simple but fiery plum and fresh ginger broth, we moved on to another oriental-styled dish featuring a sizeable piece of pollock seasoned with sesame seeds sitting on a noodle roll and a miso and wakame broth – these two dishes set the tone for a series of dishes which while they had been largely stripped of much in the way of fat or carbs, were still had plenty to excite the palate.

This was seen most clearly in the star dish of the evening – carpaccio of swordfish with a tremendous salad of apple, beetroot, hazelnuts and capers, dressed with foamy chilli emulsion. This was creative, beautiful and full of flavour.

Swordfish carpaccio

Swordfish carpaccio

Next up was a chicken breast poached, I assume sous vide, and flavoured with lime and black pepper. The delight for me of a chicken breast is a nicely crispy skin which has provided a basting a fat, but that wasn’t the style of the evening. Nevertheless the cooking technique had managed to really imprint the citrus and pepper flavours and with a little sweet potato mash and a black olive dressing there was still plenty to enjoy here. We finished up with a sharp, refreshing granita of grapefruit and coriander and a sugar free (though you wouldn’t have known it) mango mousse with kiwi and a banana dumpling.

I’m not about to drastically change my diet, but all of us could do a reminder that you don’t always need  butter, cream and all the rest to make an enjoyable meal.

* While we are here, one more interesting bit of news for Leicester city centre. The old Allied Irish bank in St Martin’s could  it seems turned into a restaurant and deli by Nottingham’s Daliliah.  Many chissits will have made it over to Dalilah’s fabulous deli and if they can mount something of a similar quality and with a similar vibe that would be a huge boost for the city centre.

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