Like everyone I always indulge at Christmas; however, I have to be a little more careful regarding keeping my blood sugars level. I’m also very prone to infections when I eat and drink too much errmmm, festiveness. Therefore, when I reach the new year; my body is literally begging me to step away from creamy, cheesey, sugary, tasty beige, Christmas consumables. I write this as I’m eating a mince pie with a cup of tea, but there we go.
I love all foods; I do not discriminate based on how “healthy” something is or isn’t. If something tastes great and I want it; I will bloody well eat it. Exciting, colourful, and fresh food always makes me feel chirpy; it’s a bonus when it’s nutritious too. I was lucky enough to be asked to go and try the delights in Hookways, so I did. And, I thought I’d pop my review on my Things To Come prompt, because I know I’ll be heading back in the new year, to start filling my new year with all the good stuff. Especially as I’m off on holiday at the end of January, and I want to be infection-free and sans the Christmas bloat in my swimming costume…
Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to try some of the delicious, freshly made food on offer at Hookways; an independent, healthy food-haven, tucked away in The Minories in Birmingham city centre. I’d been told how great the food was, and that there’d be plenty of veggie and vegan options, which is right up my street, so I couldn’t wait to get there and see what I could get stuck into. As I walked in; I was greeted by a lovely member of staff who pointed me in the direction of Mark; the owner of Hookways. Mark was so friendly; I introduced myself as politely as possible, but my eyes kept getting drawn over to the plethora of colourful salads on show in the large salad bars. There were so many options, so I got out my camera and asked to take some photos; this was actually my chance to figure out all the things I was going to eat.
As my husband, Marv (who couldn’t resist tagging along) asked Mark a bit about Hookways; I learned how everything had been made that day. There was hot and cold food on offer; the vegan curry (£4.50), mushroom soup (£3), and chicken casserole (£5.50) were still cooking, and you could order noodles, which were prepared in front of you and then served in an easy-to-carry, eco-friendly takeaway pot. Although I was ready to fill my salad box up; I felt that a hot lunch offer was a great way to warm up in the winter and still pack yourself full of healthy and nutritious food. Marv had vegetable Singapore noodles (£4); he waited until he was back at his desk to eat them, and said that they were super fresh, warm, and filling. The noodles tasted like home-cooking, but better, and there were no suspect, overly-flavoured sauces, which can sometimes ruin perfectly great noodles. This is the last time I’ll say noodles, but they were a hit.
Now, if you’re in a rush, or like me, love a variety of options to fill you up at lunchtime; head towards the salad boxes. You can help yourself to a small (£2.50), regular (£4.25), or large (£5.75) container, then it’s fun to see just how much you can squeeze into them, or maybe that’s just me. I chose to have a regular container, before methodically scooping out small portions of each salad. I had slight food panic that I wouldn’t be able to try everything, but my skills came through that day and I successfully piled, I mean, elegantly filled my container with a bit of everything I wanted to try.
I’ll start with my two, actually, three, stand-out favourites. Firstly, I had some of the Sweet Potato and Beetroot with Lemon, Cinnamon, and Pumpkin seeds; a filling salad with plenty of texture, and a mixture of earthy and zingy flavours (yum). Next was the Roast Butternut Squash and Onion with Tahini dressing; again, there was so much flavour and Middle Eastern vibes which warmed me up, then the sharpness cut through at the end with a welcome freshness. The Bombay Potatoes called to me and said come here and eat these delicious spicy carbs, so I did, and they were great; there was a depth to the spices and the spuds were soft. I’d happily eat those potatoes alone, and will grab a bigger portion next time.
I filled up the rest of my carton with a mixture of the salads; everything looked so colourful and tasty that I wasn’t afraid to throw some Thai flavours from the Thai Courgetti, in with some Indian Spiced Carrot (I know, I’m so brave). Even though I’m a pescatarian; it was nice to see that people have the option of adding a portion of chicken breast, in an array of flavours geared towards complementing the salads for just 90p. There were hard boiled eggs too, so you could easily watch your carbs (unlike me) and enjoy a filling, protein-packed lunch, full of flavour. A special mention has to go out to the Cucumber and Poppyseed Salad, which topped off my selection nicely. Who knew that those textures and flavours would create something so lovely? Well, Mark apparently.
Hookways isn’t specifically for veggies or vegans; however, you could go in there without thinking about meat and have almost (but not quite if you’re feeling hungry) too much to choose from. I also loved the fact that everything is clearly labelled in regards to allergies and food-intolerance issues, so you don’t have to take the trouble to ask. They are open from 7 am, and have a breakfast selection, and hot drinks on offer too. I loved the little hand-filled pots of muesli, and can imagine popping in to grab one with a coffee en route to work. There is also a Loaded Toast option, with toppings like smashed avocado, and peanut butter, banana & honey; what a way to start your day. For those planning a new year detox after all the mince pies this month; there is a Clean & Green smoothie selection so you can polish your halos on your way to the office.
If you are a lunch traditionalist, do not worry; Mark and his team will make you a fresh baguette or sandwich to order, so you can have exactly what you want in there. If you’re after a breakfast or lunch in the city centre that will fill you up with all the good stuff, and doesn’t skimp on quality, flavours, options, or service; give Hookways a try. Meals at your desk don’t have to be beige and a little depressing; hurray! Once you’ve found it; you’ll be back for more I promise. *Leaves desk to go and get Bombay Potatoes…
Peace, love, and spicy spuds, Fay x
*I was invited to sample the delicious food at Hookways by Nick from Grapevine Birmingham. Marv and I were more than happy to pay and we offered to do so; however, Mark kindly said not to worry, so our lunch was free. It was a great day x