It was one of those cold, grey February Saturdays when I went to the soft launch of Bel-Air – a new healthy food spot opening next week in Old Street, London. The smiling staff at Bel-Air and the sleek marble counter piled high with fresh, summer-style salads greeted me like a ray of Californian sunshine. It may have been drizzling in Shoreditch but the sun was shining in Bel-Air.
This bright new joint specialises in ‘feel good fast food’, prioritising ingredients that make you feel great rather than calorie-counting. The cold options include freshly poached salmon, Jerusalem artichoke salad, broccoli and almond slaw, slow roast aubergines with tahini and dukkah. These are ingredients designed to make you glow from the inside out.
The black quinoa risotto was delicious, and much lighter than a standard risotto thanks to the holy grain that is quinoa. Topped with crunchy pine nuts, sunflower seeds and feta cheese, I am now a total quinoa risotto convert. The concept may confuse a few Italians…
If you’re craving something more substantial, then Bel-Air’s Ancho Chill Braised Beef (also gluten-free) is heavenly tender and slow-cooked to perfection. With guacamole, lime, salad and fresh coriander you still feel light after eating it.
I hear they are also doing ‘build your own breakfast pots’ which will include puffed quinoa, raw oats, along with buckwheat and almond milk porridge. I’ll certainly be going back to try those!
See you in the sunshine.
54 Paul Street
London, EC2A 4LN