Natural Healthy Foods have been a feature in Digbeth, Birmingham for a while, but now they have expanded into the city centre with a shop and eatery selling vegan food. More and more people are discovering vegan food and those of us who don’t go as far as that, can enjoy a few days without meat and dairy.
The new eatery with store attached is on Suffolk Queensway, not far from the Alexander Theatre. It’s not in that busy a part of town although it’s very accessible, but I think people are prepared to go a little further to access specialist cuisine. I guess there might be some pre-show trade from the Alex, although I think a lot of that custom will stay around the corner on John Bright Street. I think though that the combination of shop and restaurant is a good one and many people will pop in to buy some food and end up having a meal, or come back another time to eat in.
The food is freshly prepared and throughout the time we were there, staff were continually bringing out more food and taking away dishes that had been emptied. The way it works is that you help yourself to a range of items and put it on the plate. You then take your plate to the counter to be weighed and are charged accordingly. I have to say I am a bit dubious of that method of charging as I think it means that if you pick out cheaper to produce roasted vegetables and grains, you are probably subsidising those who like expensive, leafy salads. Plus, you don’t know how much you will pay till you get to the till.
Each of the dishes is carefully labelled with the ingredients listed which is ideal if you are looking to avoid certain foods. From the selection available when I went, I’d pick out the Cauliflower Cheese which was very moreish. The Lemon & Lime Wholegrains were zingy and very refreshing. Despite not looking very appetizing I was pleasantly surprised by the Onion Bread which wasn’t ‘bready’ at all.
To go with the meal we had a vast selection of drinks to choose from. I opted for the Phoenix Orchid tea which had a lovely delicate flavour. I also tried Kombucha which is fermented green tea and is often served with fruit or vegetable juices. I liked the taste, but my companion was less keen. I could easily get into the habit of drinking it regularly.
I was surprised by the variety of desserts produced without dairy products. My favourite was the Key Lime Pie which was delicious. I also enjoyed the brownie made with dark cacao, but my table companions were less keen as it had quite a bitter flavour.
It’s a canteen style restaurant which makes it very easy to eat there with children or for someone to pop in and grab some dinner on the their own. It’s quick too because of the serve yourself arrangements, so it’s handy if you are in a hurry. I liked that after the meal I felt pleasantly full, but not overstuffed and heavy. I’d happily eat there again and may very well be back soon.