Can healthy food also be appetising? Carrie Geddes finds out
Banyan joined the York scene last July as a “bar serving food” – a welcome addition to the lively Swinegate quarter which already boasts the likes of Kennedys and Biltmore.
How could I have missed it until now? Well, it’s upstairs.
True, there are a few outdoor tables and chairs, but we went on a chilly day and there were no hardy souls sitting outside. Open the doors and venture inside though, and you’re in a warm, welcoming and vibrant space.
My friend Jane and I were there to sample the Super Food Menu created by renowned local chef Anthony Flinn using ingredients from the top 50 super foods list.
Banyan Bar & Kitchen in York is a flagship for Leeds-based Arc Inspirations who own and manage award-winning bars across Yorkshire.
Using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients wherever possible, the new menu is designed to provide vitamins and minerals to boost energy, as well as protein and fibre presented in a range of well-balanced and delicious dishes.
Well, that’s quite a challenge – but a very welcome one. Lettuce leaves don’t always do it, so the promise of a meat, fish or vegetable main course accompanied by a healthy super food salad sounded enticing.
Would it live up to our expectations?
We decided to start our healthy lunch with a nice glass of the house wine. Grapes are fruit, after all.
The sauvignon blanc was excellent – a fruity, zingy nose with a clean, fresh and very citrusy taste. Just as described in fact, and priced to please too, at a very reasonable £14.95 per bottle.
Deciding on our main choice was difficult – sirloin steak versus salmon fillet perhaps?
Jane decided to go for the poached chicken, plus the quinoa salad (£10.45) – a colourful mix of quinoa, beetroot, roasted butternut squash, spinach, celery, parsley and pumpkin seeds with a garlic oil dressing.
I was very tempted by the salmon and sweet potato fish cake, but in the end the veggie option won: a Portobello mushroom and 5-bean burger (£9.50).
And I chose to go with it the bulgur wheat salad, which contained toasted walnuts, artichokes, apple and red chard, finished with walnut oil.
The burger was served with a dollop of crème fraiche, but was otherwise suitable for vegans, although it wasn’t marked as such on the menu.
We did feel that a trick was being missed by not giving an indication of the calorie count for the various dishes – always useful extra information for those watching what they eat.
We weren’t disappointed with our choices. The portion sizes were generous (the sort of diet we like!) and attractively presented.
In fact, healthy as well as delicious – almost too good to be true! The salads were served cold but not chilled – at just the right temperature.
Realising that the wholegrains used in the salad would mean we’d soon start to feel full, we decided we should quickly order one of the home-made puddings while we still had room!
Oh, all right, one each. Purely in the interests of research for this review, we thought we should sample more than one pudding…
Our waitress was helpful and knowledgeable – and when asked for a recommendation did not hesitate: the key lime pie with raspberry sorbet (£5.50).
And no, we weren’t still choosing from the Super Food Menu at this stage. The key lime pie was indeed delicious – served warm as an individual pie, it was tangy and with a mellow meringue topping.
The sticky toffee pudding (£5.50) arrived cold, but was speedily replaced with a warm one, which was excellent – a light sponge and an intense caramel sauce.
There was a good choice of teas to finish the meal, nicely presented with individual timer for you to choose your ideal brew time.
This was our first visit to Banyan and certainly won’t be our last. The ambience was warm and welcoming, the staff attentive and competent and the food tasty and reasonably priced.
Banyan’s new Super Food Menu certainly shows that you can eat healthily and still have an enjoyable dining-out experience.
Banyan, 3 Little Stonegate, York, YO1 8AX | arcinspirations.com/banyan-york | 01904 635146