When you think of a goto work lunch I’m betting that the thought of a salad isn’t at the forefront of your mind?
Well me neither, and even more so after a heavy evening at football waking up to head into London following a late-night the last thing on my mind for lunch was to head into town to try out one of London’s latest new dining eateries.
For me when I think of salad dining, I think of something like Subway or worse still a Harvester salad bar, so on arrival in the Fruit and Wool exchange just outside the now trendy Spitalfields Market, sits The Salad Project, situated in a spacious naturally lit location that can host 25 people on tables and stadium-style seating, the dining area is immaculately clean, the sort of place where you can see any spillages of food or drink immediately cleaned up.
Founded by friends, Florian de Chezelles and James Dare back in May of this year, after they quit their office jobs they decided to make their restaurant dreams a reality. And with over a decade of combined experience in the hospitality industry, Florian and James saw an opportunity in the London dining scene to bring vibrant, fresh, and fun salads to all-day dining, that most importantly, Londoners are excited to eat.
So on making my way through the big Salad Project doors and finding my way to the food counter I was expecting a similar layout to how a Subway counter is designed, in a little way I guess you could say that there are similarities but what impacted me the most was the selection of ingredients to choose from to build your own Salad, I would hazard a guess that there was probably more than fifty to choose from.
Alternatively, though there are various boards to select from if you want to make a quick and easy decision. Guests are invited to build their bowl, selecting The Base from options that include quinoa, rice, kale or rocket, spinach, and cos lettuce.
Next, choose from an extensive menu of tasty Toppings, including, but not limited to, apples, chargrilled broccoli, caramelised red onions, sweet potatoes, and many more.
The Headliners, of which 90% are warm for the perfect autumnal bowl as the evenings get darker, and the weather colder, create the focus of the meal, and here customers can add burrata, salmon, cauliflower, chicken thigh, tofu, and other items that are available to view on the menu.
Moving further on down the salad bar, are the ingredients to give each salad its unique twist – The Premiums, which include spicy kimchi, hummus, goat’s cheese, feta and stilton, before selecting a Crunch element, which adds exactly that to the salad.
Finally, The Salad Project team combines all ingredients directly in front of you with The Dressing of your choice.
Alternatively, guests are also invited to select a seasonally crafted bowl from The Salad Project menu, which has been specially curated by chef and certified personal trainer, Clementine Haxby.
This autumn, you can try the aptly named Autumn Bowl, with quinoa & freekeh, spinach, apples, bacon brussels sprout, stilton, raisins, and a pomegranate vinaigrette, or keep warm as the evenings proceed to get darker with the comforting Squash No Beef salad, filled with spinach, caramelised red onions, cherry tomatoes, truffle butternut squash, parmesan, and tossed with a hazelnut balsamic vinaigrette.
My choice was the Market Bowl, Whole Grain Rice, Kale, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Caramelised Red Onions, Roasted Beets & Parsnips, Apples, Spiced Chicken Thigh, Goat’s Cheese, Pickled Red Onions, Maple Walnuts topped with a warming Pomegranate Vinaigrette.
And I have to say considering my tastebuds were calling for a full English fry up after a heavy night out, the salad was an absolute delight, my taste buds tingled under the flavouring from the mix of Goats Cheese, Apple and Pomegranate Vinaigrette.
If I’d been told that this salad had come from somewhere like the Ritz or the Ivy I honestly wouldn’t have even doubted them. And on saying that the pricing does reflect the quality, ranging from £6.95 to £9.95.
Whilst sitting in and eating this delicious bowl it was obvious to see that their team is already building a dedicated community of returning fans.
“It’s really exciting to be able to showcase our first restaurant in one of the busiest areas of London. A visit to The Salad Project reinvents what customers will think of when we say ‘salad’. With a simple and effective process that values the customer’s experience, and a happy and comfortable place to delve into our wide-ranging and delicious menu, we know that we are offering a truly unique experience. We firmly believe that this country needs better access to healthy and fun fast food, which is exactly what we have created at The Salad Project”.The Salad Project Co-Founder Florian de Chezelles
On speaking to the founders afterward they informed me that they are already looking to branch out with another restaurant and this is something I would love to see them acheive, in fact, I would love to see them have as many if not more eateries as Subway so as to give those Salads that extra quality.
The Salad Project is open in Spitalfields for dine-in and delivery via Deliveroo.
The full menu can be viewed here.