For the second year, The Sanderson have enlisted the expert help of nutritionist Karen Cummings-Parker to devise a menu made up of dishes that pack a nutritional punch. Far from the January detoxes many of us are convinced need to happen in the early months of the new year, Karen insists post-Christmas isn’t the time for detoxing. Save that for the yogis in LA – in the bleak, colder months we need to nourish our bodies, starting with the food we eat. I was lucky enough to be invited to a press dinner, with Karen herself, ready to talk us through each dish and answer any questions. And what better advertisement for her services than her own glowing skin?
The ‘Nourish’ menu is designed to sit alongside the standard menu to make The Sanderson a destination for all diners. They want to erase the notion that if you want healthy food you have to go to an exclusively healthy, hippy hangout. The menu here was pleasingly varied; concise but tempting enough for potential indecisiveness. You can sense the menu was devised by a nutritionist because not only is everything ‘healthy’ but extra doses of good fats, proteins and vitamins are chucked in whenever possible; why just have chickpeas when you can have sprouting chickpeas (significantly more vitamins B, C, carotene and protein to help overall digestion)?
The menu outlines the nutritional benefits of each dish – the kale salad is ‘the perfect beauty boost and hangover cure’ thanks to stamina-boosting beets and anti-oxidant rich kale. A hefty serving with cubes of avocado and chunks of feta tossed through the apple cider vinegar-dressed kale, it’s definitely something I’ll recreate at home. Far from feeling deprived and uninspired like you often do with cold, bland servings of spiralised courgetti (no courgetti here), the nourishment comes instead with a serving of satisfaction – warm smoked mackerel, hearty venison and even popcorn making it on to the menu.
It’s pleasing to know that we don’t have to go vegetarian; lean red meats are encouraged, as are omega 3 rich fish. The green tea smoked haddock was my favourite (green tea alone has huge health benefits). Warm and smokey and not a bone in sight, the mackerel is rich in omega 3 (anti inflammatory) and served with ribbons of carrot and courgette, described on the menu as ‘intestinal flora’. The wild venison was another unanimous favourite for the table. Rare in the middle, it sat on black rice (high in antioxidants) and shiitake mushrooms (immune-boosting), the wild meat praised for being low-fat and high in B vitamins and iron – the whole dish was a satisfying winter meal.
As if a glass of red wine with our venison wasn’t indulgent enough, the Nourish menu includes a tempting range of desserts, including 80% dark chocolate and popcorn. Coconut and banana ice cream went down extremely well (as expected) and despite tasting just like normal ice cream is made from coconut milk, with natural sweetness only from raisins and bananas. Executive chef, Matthew Marshall, came out to meet us at the end of the meal and seemed excited – in fact a couple of the dishes have made it onto the permanent menu. It’s nice to see that healthy food is becoming more integrated – I love the idea that, regardless of dietary requirements or preferences, a group can dine together at The Sanderson. That is the whole point of dining out, after all.