13 places to eat yourself slim
No need to put a lock on the fridge and banish all fun for January - we've scoured Bucks & Oxon for the best 'skinny' places to pig out in peace.
Right now the Muddy office lunchboxes are a virtuous smorgasbord of homemade soups, lentils and salads. However it is possible to be on a new year healthy eating trip and still eat out (honest!). Here are our favourite local spots for lard-free dining while we’re still feeling virtuous. If we’ve missed anywhere good near you, do pop a mention in the comment box below. Ready to tuck in?
This family-run Japanese recently opened in the former Police HQ in Aylesbury (handily opposite the Waterside Theatre) and it’s really fabulous – there’s a main menu with curries and katsu, a set menu cookedon a Teppanyaki Grill (where dishes are cooked live on a hot plate) or if you’re sticking to your health-kick, opt for a selection from the mega sushi menu.
Easy-peasy to eat guilt-free on the Westgate rooftop this January. Sticks n Sushi on the rooftop is totally awesome (and they’re great with kids), or there’s Vietnamese Pho where you can get fried spring rolls or crispy squid for under 200 calories (how is that even possible?). Plus all of the salads and most of the Pho bowls are under 500 calories. On the lower ground Shoryu Ramen – with outposts in London, Oxford, Manchester and Japan if you fancy a 12 hour flight with your entrée – has an extensive selection of authentic ramen, all around £12.50. Stick to the veggie or seafood options for optimum health points, plus there’s also a kid’s menu if you have littlies in tow.
LataLata, High Wycombe
This stylish and quirky tapas joint hidden in a underpass (yes, really!) wouldn’t look out of place in Hackney and majorly ups High Wycombe’s cool creds. Loads of veggie small plates on the menu including a section just for greens with pardon peppers, chargrilled broccoli, borlotti bean salad, plus more unusual healthy offerings like Mallorcan snail stew.
Tse Noodle, Oxford
Tucked away down Ship Street in central Oxford, newly opened TSE Noodle is so small you might miss it. The authentic Japanese serves a selection of soups, noodles and steamed dim sum at a super-cheap price point with everything on the menu is under £8.50 (it’s cash only, btw).
Michelin starred chef Atul Kochhar Marlow outpost in the Compleat Angler Hotel serves beautiful presented modern Indian food, with healthier dishes on the menu including Malvani halibut, seafood moilee and lobster biryani. Basically you can’t go wrong with any of the seafood dishes and it’s much healthier (and posher) than send out for a takeaway.
The Banana Tree, Milton Keynes & Oxford
Looking for something healthy and cheap? Always! The Banana Tree is a London brand with outposts in, well, whaddya know, Bucks & Oxon! One on the doorstep of centre:mk and the other on Oxford’s George Street, expect a light pan-Asian menu with starters like zesty papaya salad and Mekong prawns from £3. Mains, including Bun Bo Salad Bowls and wok-tossed noodles are all around £11-£12. There’s also a special veggie/vegan menu and a pretty impressive mocktail menu for all you Dry January types, with the added bonus of being 2 for 1.
Fego, Marlow, Gerrards Cross and Beaconsfield
The mini café chain has your health kick covered with a whole section dedicated to clean eating. The breakfast menu offers protein and açaí bowls, from £8.50, whilst for lunch and dinner you can order shakshuka, poke bowls or a superfood salad all around £10- £15. There’s also a great selection of smoothies starting from £3.50 – get that green juice down your gullet!
Fish 4 Lunch, Osney
Hidden away on an industrial estate above a fish market, a 15 minute walk from central Oxford, Fish 4 Lunch is the kind of restaurant we totally heart at Muddy – quirky, under the radar and exciting. The canteen-style restaurant is a concept kitchen, showcasing the best of fish cookery. The micro-menu, created by chefs Robin and Dave (who have previously worked at The Oxford Kitchen, in Summertown, and The Porterhouse in central Oxford), changes fortnightly, but fresh fish is always the star. The restaurant is open lunchtimes Tues – Sat, with fish and chips on Fri if you fancy a cheat day.
Antep Kitchen, Cowley & Milton Keynes
Head straight for the kebab section of the menu at this authentic Turkish restaurant for meat and veggies cooked over a charcoal grill, or opt for a chargrilled fish dish all served with rice or couscous and salad (from £12.50). There are usually queues out the door, so make sure you book ahead to snaffle a table. Warning: the free starter of Turkish bread is hard to resist!
Oli’s Thai, Oxford
One of Oxford’s worst kept secrets, you’ll find Oli’s Thai about a 20 minute walk from the city centre, nestled down Magdalen Street. A tiny space packed with big and fresh flavours, tables are like gold-dust here so book in advance or drop in at 12 before the lunch time rush to grab a bar seat. The menu changes regularly, with healthy dishes including steamed seabass, aubergine curry and grilled hispi cabbage with tofu. Super-reasonable prices too with dishes from £6.
Artichoke, Old Amersham
Major Muddy kudos to this Amersham hotspot that scooped up its first Michelin star this year – the menu as whole isn’t majorly green but there’s a separate veggie menu with dishes like beetroot soup and Jerusalem artichoke, plus it’s fine dining, so, you know, portions are on the smaller side!