Let’s face it there is nothing worse on a Tuesday when your friend pings you a text to say ‘let’s meet up and have some food’. Its only day 1.5 into your new healthy eating regime that started after a heavy night of cocktails on Saturday followed by a binge Sunday because like every hangover you adopt the ‘feed a cold’ mentality and eat everything in sight, sound about right? So you are sitting there deciding whether to blow your friend off opting with a terrible excuse because hey you’ve got to get into that new bikini in five weeks or bite the bullet go hoping you have enough will power to choose a salad and a diet coke. This is exactly how I feel a lot of the time. I love eating out, if I could I would go out for Breakfast, lunch, dinner and anything in between, I don’t know if it is because I am lazy and hate washing up or I just love combining my two favourite things; Friends and Food! As you can imagine this plays havoc with my conscience, so lately I have been trying to find nice places in and around Leicestershire and Northampton to eat at that are fun and offer a great selection for guilt free snacking and socialising. If you have any recommendations please let me know!
The Garden Barn- Cotesbach, Lutterworth
This is one of my favourite places to eat, especially for quick catch ups in my work lunch hours. It’s a great place to meet up with the girls, your mum, Grans even my boyfriend loves it here so it really does cater for everyone. It’s one of those gems that is snug in the winter and bright and fresh in the summer. To my delight they have recently started doing breakfast and I love them! They have really looked for the gap in the market and ran with it. They do a healthy range of breakfast but on the flipside they also do that naughty treat if you are feeling like you need to spoil yourself. I love their fruit and granola pot with Greek yoghurt, this does come with golden syrup but being the great place they are all their food is made fresh so I always ask for it to be made without. Their drink selection is fantastic with juices, variety of teas, coffee, hot chocolates and milk shakes there really is something for everyone. My favourite part is the different sides you get with your Panini’s, always a healthy little surprise snacks of joy.
The Naughty: Breakfast Belgium Waffles and ice cream Lunch- Variety of yummy Panini’s (the Goats Cheese and caramelised onion is my personal favourite), Banana milkshake and it’s not a trip to the garden barn without a slice of their cake! Be sure to leave enough time they have a fantastic shop that is perfect for your friend’s birthday or just that little something for the home!
Cortado – Kettering
I can take no credit for this find. My boyfriend visits this place on an all-to-regular basis, he loves it and I can fully understand why! The food in there is always incredible. All freshly made, it’s the one place in Kettering I look forward to visiting. The menu is changed regularly so if you are one of those who like to know what they are going to order before you go to eat you will need to go in with an open mind, because of this I cannot really recommend what to eat but the last two occasions I have been here I have the large couscous salad with halloumi and roasted veg and it has been amazing.
What I love: When you walk in the door the café looks small, don’t be put off there is a garden out the back and it is a perfect little suntrap. The food is always delicious and made fresh and the cakes are like no others. The owner, staff and regulars in there are great; there is something about this café that makes you feel like you know people you have only just met! I would like to recommend a drink but there really is so much choice I couldn’t pick a favourite. If you are a tea lover and like something different this place is for you!
Wildwood- Market Harborough
So this bit is where it gets a bit chain-y, I will add more unique little places as I come by them but I will remind you we are in Leicestershire we are miles behind the cities. Wildwood are a chain of Italian restaurants that seem Hugely popular in Essex. I went here with work and had the superfood salad. It was mainly raw and I came away feeling like I had lost a stone and it tasted amazing. Their menu has a lot of options where you can stick to a healthy alternative. A great place to go with the family or friends when you have a group of mixed eaters.
Kino Lounge- Kettering (or any cosy club)
I swear I really don’t spend much time in Kettering. The Kino Lounge is part of the Cosy Club family and as you may have noticed they are popping up everywhere. There is one in Leicester and Stamford both of which I have been to and tried their cocktail menus! Definitely recommend! So me and the boy decided that it would be fun to do the pub quiz on a Monday night (long story, we did better than I thought in the end but did think we were going to have to do a runner, from the quiz not the food just to clarify) Again the cosy club chain have really followed the trend with the menu offering the full hog type pulled pork burgers for the boys and a good selection of salads and healthy alternatives to the ones who’s metabolism do not kick in when they see food. We went here last Monday paid our £1 for the quiz and got some food. I went for the Grilled halloumi Salad, with sweet potato and basil falafels, roasted squash, red peppers and mixed leaves but would also really recommend the big lounge salad washed down with Blood orange and citrus Zeo. I would recommend this place if you wanted a casual catch up where you can chill out on miss-matched chairs and good old gossip with your friends. There is a really chilled out atmosphere to this place, along with its quirky décor it makes it a nice midweek place. I have not been here at the weekend but I think like any Cosy Club it will get quite busy later on in the evenings with people coming in for cocktails and beers.
On the go, starving and need that healthy quick fix to keep you going……. Always Pret a Manger. I wont go into too much detail on this one as I know you all know Pret but they are a great place to dive into no matter what diet you are on or just trying to be that bit healthy. Definitely recommend their Banana and Cashew Almond shake and the Cacao & Date Almond Shake!