Before the tail end of last year, if you asked me what this term meant I would have scratched my head and looked at you quizzically, but it turns out it is the word on everyone’s lips and the driving force behind a restaurant trend which is happening as we speak.
FoodWell is all about wellness – particularly the Los Angeles kind which means it comes equipped with a juice bar, yoga studio, health-food deli, vegan-friendly restaurant, plants, turmeric, incense and all those other things that give off general good vibes and make you feel zen AF.
I’ve got to say the place is really something. It is so bright and breezy it will be hard to believe you are in gloomy Manchester. They have got the styling down to a tee, from the stunning yoga studio to the giant palm trees which dominate the interior space – all making you feel away from home in the best possible way.
As for the food, this is where this wellness word comes in again as everything is designed with both health and flavour in mind. This means pleasure all around without leaving you with a guilt complex and the destruction of your yoga-induced endorphin high.
FoodWell’s menu aims to make you feel good on the inside and the outside, and let me tell you – it really does just that. Behind the helm is Jamie Smith (formerly Abode and Australasia) who has developed the beautiful and well-curated menu. Matthew Nutter (previously from Allotment in Hale) who is known for his modern approach to healthy-minded food has also developed a stunning vegan menu to run alongside the already extensive collection of dishes.
I popped in for a lunchtime yoga class a couple of weeks ago with some friends, and I thought it would be rude not to sample the food. Lunchtime was a fantastic time to go, but I recommend heading back in the evening for that night time buzz too.
The menu is extensive and really covers all bases from sandwiches to salads, brunch classics, tacos, nachos, ramen to healthy spins on naughty things like steak and chips and katsu curry. They have a full, extensive vegan menu too which just goes to show that FoodWell really does have everyone in mind.
We started with some guacamole (£5). I’m not going to lie, I adore guacamole but it is pretty difficult to find one at a restaurant which is better than I make at home, but FoodWell quickly became the exception to my rule. It was perfect.
It was creamy, zingy and in equal amounts smooth and chunky and topped off with a little chilli, coriander and a selection of blue and yellow corn tortilla crisps for dipping. It was icy cold which was effective too. My only complaint was there should have been more chips for such a large bowl- especially if you plan to share it as we did.
Alongside the guac, we were urged to try the lamb from the menu of small plates which I had heard good things about already. In a little more detail, this dish was Pulled Ras el Hanout Lamb (£9) with Jerusalem artichoke puree, pickled onion, pickled red onions, dukkah (spiced seed mix), harissa and a rose and sumac yoghurt.
Serious Middle Eastern vibes with this dish and I adored every mouthful from start to end. The lamb was perfectly cooked and flavourful and the other elements on the dish were also perfectly balanced as to enhance, rather than distract from the natural succulence of the lamb.
For mains, I got stuck into a beautifully colourful Poke Bowl (£8) with raw salmon (additional £4) which was, quite frankly, sublime. The whole thing sits on wholegrain rice spiked with a little miso for some flavour which is then topped with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables.
Pickled red cabbage, ginger, edamame beans, avocado, rainbow beetroot, caramelised pineapple provided the base for the salmon to sit on top which then comes with a soy and sesame dressing to pour all over the top.
This dish was fresh, crunchy and crisp with amazing flavour and texture from the contrasting veggies, rice and fish. The best part was when I finished, I felt like I was glowing which was a welcome contrast to the usual uncomfortable bloating I feel when I leave a review.
I could have eaten it ten times over, and quite frankly, I can’t get back to FoodWell quicker for another bowl.
I have got to say, after my meal at FoodWell I left with a spring in my step. I don’t know if it was the beautiful bright interior, the yoga or the food which was kind to both my body and my soul – but I was feeling fantastic, and I guess that is what wellness is all about.
If that is the case – FoodWell has got it spot on.
Food Well, Suite 2, Ground Floor, One New Bailey, New Bailey St, Salford M3 5JL
0161 989 4040