Eating out

A couple of weeks back we took my Dad to the glorious Mint & Mustard for a Father’s Day supper. I’d heard great things about Cardiff’s ‘posher’ Indian restaurant and was looking forward to giving many of the dishes a go. Yep, they were this good:

Mint Mustard Collage

While I was there it got me thinking about clean eating when you’re out and about.

Here’s my top tips for making wise choices at a restaurant:

  • First up, you don’t have to make the ‘wise’ choice if you don’t want to. If you feel you’ve earned a treat and fancy something particularly indulgent and rebellious, knock yourself out. Savour every mouthful. Just be sure it’s not going to come back to haunt you. Ever had a pizza hang over? All that wheat can sometimes be the worst!
  • Take the responsibility for picking and booking the restaurant. That way you’ll have a head start on knowing what you fancy and what is best for you on the menu
  • Eating out doesn’t have to be ‘bad’. For example, this meal at Mint & Mustard turned out to be the Paleo dream – scallops in a coconut milk sauce followed by grilled chicken with beetroot & sweet potato mash
  • Remember, you’re paying for your meal and (provided you’re polite about it) you’re entitled to have your dinner any which way you want it
  • Ask the waiter questions if you want to know answers – does it contain wheat, gluten, how is it cooked, is it possible to have it another way, where did that cut of steak come from. I’ve talked about your right to know before here
  • Always shun (again, politely) the bread basket (if you don’t plan on eating it). Why let temptation stare you smack in the face until your starter or main course arrives?
  • Mix and match. Generally a chef will pair certain dishes and flavours for a reason and it’s worth respecting that when it comes to taste. But if the dish you want is accompanied by something you don’t want but elsewhere there’s a side  on offer that you do, why not ask if you can have that instead?
  • Allergies are respected, preferences are not (unfortunately). If you want a dish that doesn’t contain wheat or gluten you stand a better chance of getting your preference respected by stating you’re allergic to both those things as opposed to stating you’d rather avoid them
  • You’ll be hard pressed to find an angelic dessert in most restaurants so I usually tend to opt for a decaf coffee or a fresh mint tea if I’m not indulging
  • If you’re having a tipple, one-for-one with water will keep you more on track – and help you remember the best nuggets in gossip in the morning!

How do you like to eat out?