At the weekend I had a jaunt down to London to see one of my bestest friends. We don’t catch up all that often and when we do, it involves lots of walking, talking, and generally putting the world to rights. She lives in Camden, so a sunny Sunday took us to Primrose Hill for a mooch, sunbathe, and plenty of the aforementioned deep conversations. Regents Park Road, which leads up to Primrose Hill itself, is a picture-perfect street packed with independent cafes, restaurants and shops. The perfect place for a lazy Sunday brunch-cum-lunch.
After checking out sushi, Italian, French and plenty of others, we settled on Ripe Kitchen. It’s an independent cafe that serves locally sourced, homemade, and healthy food and drink, as well as plenty of vegan, gluten free, dairy free and low fat products. With such a focus on health, it wasn’t a bad place to go after a slightly indulgent Saturday, especially given my new aim to bring a bit of balance back into my life. Naughty Saturday = less naughty Sunday.
Of course, it’s easier to be healthy when the food looks so good. I didn’t get a chance to take many pictures, but Ripe has a menu packed with yummy sounding dishes, as well as a counter offering a range of freshly made sarnies and salads.
After a perusal of the menu, I had my heart set on mashed avocado on sourdough toast with chilli flakes, but alas, they had sold out. So instead, I opted for a mixture of some of the freshly-made salads. The first was roasted veg quinoa (butternut squash and parsnip, roasted and mixed in with quinoa) with rocket. I love roasted veg so it was right up my street. The vegetables were still a bit crunchy which actually worked well with the soft quinoa and the peppery rocket.
The second salad was a pea, pear and fennel salad with coriander. I’ve never had a combination like this, but the different shades of green were appealing, and I was intrigued by the unexpected combination. The sweetness of the peas and the pear, with the aniseed tang of the fennel went well together, and the different textures again made for a crunchy, light summery feel. Not content to go completely vegetarian, I topped my salad with some chicken – skinless and grilled I think, which had been seasoned well.
Lianne was tempted by one of the sandwiches on show. Prosciutto Cotto with cheddar and garlic aioli on sourdough. We wondered whether the ham actually counted as prosciutto, because it seemed like normal English cooked ham, but it turns out Prosciutto Cotto actually means ‘cooked ham’, so that’s something new I’ve learned. And tasty it was too, slightly salty and a nice thick slice. The ham, cheese and garlic aioli were countered by the addition of some pickled gherkins that added a tang as well as a crunch to the sarnie. She went for a side salad of the roasted veg and quinoa salad too.
We both went for water (don’t worry, we had a cider later on ;-)) and decided we didn’t need to raid the tempting array of muffins and healthy treats on the counter, and the whole lunch came to £14. Not bad for organic, homemade food in a picturesque and popular part of London.
Did I enjoy all this focus on healthiness? Well yes. Okay, so we could have gone over the road to the pub and had a roast dinner, or over the road the other way and filled our faces with pasta, pizza and wine, but there was something nice about enjoying freshly made, fresh-tasting food, with a bit of guilt-free virtue thrown in for free. This might sound strange from me, but if you read one of my recent posts on my relationship with food, you’ll see what I mean about this balance thing.
Don’t worry, there will be plenty more food porn on this blog. I love yumminess too much to let that disappear, but sometimes it’s okay to go for something that is good for your health, as well as your tastebuds. Ripe is a great place for this, and a lovely place to wile some time away with an old friend. It also happens to be perfect for me and my recently-aligned focus on balance.
Do you have any little gems where you can fill your face with nice food that doesn’t leave you feeling like you need to spend two days in the gym before you don’t feel guilty anymore? Let me know and I’ll give them a go!
We paid for everything we had at Ripe and they didn’t know I was a blogger.