SaladPride sits cosily alongside 26 Grains and the Wild Food Café in the health lover’s paradise that has become Neal’s Yard (ignoring Homeslice!). For a treat bank holiday Saturday lunch pre a matinée of a not so cheery play (Nick Payne’s Elegy at the Donmar Warehouse – probably one of London’s best and most intimate theatres), I discovered SaladPride in the heart of Covent Garden.
Its Italian founder, David Bez, has an inspiring and relatable story: he started making salads at his office desk due to the lack of places where he could find tasty food with no concerns about the quality of the ingredients. The City, although improving, does have very few spots to enjoy natural and truly good-looking food. Inspired by his desk creations, he set up shop in Covent Garden.
The menu is outstanding, with an array of veggie and vegan, fresh, quality breakfast and salad bowls. They also serve an array of smoothies and healthy treats, which are all gluten- and refined sugar-free. The Sweet Breakfast Bowls (£6/£5) look incredibly tempting: Buckwheat with kiwi, blood orange, pistachios, cinnamon, date syrup and coconut yogurt; and British quinoa with pineapple, red berries, golden turmeric cream and cashew news. The nutty breads topped with chia creams, fruits, nut butters and coyo also sound delicious. Indeed, so tempting are their breakfast options that diners were ordering these bowls even though it was bang on lunch-time. I did get serious food envy of my neighbour’s coyo served with nutty bread – so much so that I was inspired to bake a Buckwheat banana loaf the next day.
The savoury menu has given me inspiration for my own packed lunches: Buckwheat with roasted butternut squash, portobello mushroom, green peas, pumpkin seeds, microgreens and sweet mustard dressing; or the British quinoa with heritage carrots, purple broccoli, black peas, sesame seeds, micro greens, tamari & seaweed dressing. The even do corn cous cous – yes the grain made purely from sweetcorn! Now I’m used to my spiraliser, I’ll also have to source some yellow courgette to recreate their Yellow courgetti with red streaks mirzuna, cherry tomatoes, black peas, pistachios, micro greens and basil dressing. And they even do one with spiralised cucumber! The list goes one.
One sounded particularly spicy: Mirzuna (which I learn is a type of rocket leaf), roasted peppers, chickpeas, microgreens and a paprika dressing – so I went for that. The dish was a feast for the eyes. The paprika dressing is also probably the best I’ve tasted. When I queried how it’s so creamy, I was told it has banana!
Innovative, healthy and stunning: it’s a wonderful combo. Indeed, David had a 15-year career in graphic design and was an active food blogger before opening his café. As it’s too far for a work lunch, I’ll just have to the recreate the dishes by reference to his books, SaladLove and BreakfastLove…
SaladPride, 2 Neal’s Yard, London, WC2H 9DP