Eating out on a Whole 30 can be challenging; what’s made it particularly difficult are some of the restaurant waiting staff I have encountered on my recent culinary journeys. A good restaurant with well trained waiting staff who are helpful and understanding can make a world of difference when trying to enquire about the possible dairy and grains which might be lurking inside an apparently harmless, seemingly whole 30 compliant meal. You can’t be too careful when it comes to these hidden nasties and believe me, there are many more than you might think. This doesn’t just apply to eating out when on a Whole 30, anyone who eats a relatively Paleo diet will find that certain restaurants cater better to our fairly basic food requirements than others. It’s easy enough to leave out all the simple carbs, but sugars and dairy hide in the most unlikely places and can sometimes be tough to spot on a menu description; I mean it’s not like you can simply read an ingredients list from the packaging.
A lot of waiting staff, if they don’t know the exact content of a meal, will be kind enough to ask the kitchen and help you on your way to making the right choice; exceptional waiting staff will know the answers, make alternative suggestions or advise the kitchen to leave out certain parts of the meal to keep within your specifications. These are rare and extremely welcome when on a Whole 30; the issue I have is when I have to fork out a reasonable chunk of change to dine out at a ‘good’ restaurant, only to encounter unhelpful, uninformed and sometimes rude waiting staff who are simply unaware of what goes into each dish and who are unable or unwilling to meet your requirements.
Sunday lunch (day 8 of the Whole30) was a wonderfully simple meal at Dean Street Townhouse where I experienced some of the most attentive and extremely helpful waiting staff I’ve come across during the Whole 30. Monday night’s dinner was quite the opposite; I took my mum out for a quiet dinner at Villandry on Great Portland Street where the waiting staff were not only rude and inattentive, but had absolutely no idea what each dish contained, nor did they make any effort to assist in obtaining any information from the kitchen. Quite besides the food lacking in flavour, the entire experience made it quite difficult to stomach the £60.00 bill for only a few simple starters. Disappointing, to say the very least.
To recap the last few days of my Whole 30:
Day 7: Brunch of Scrambled eggs served with sauteed kale, mushroom and courgette and half an avocado. An early dinner of leftover Tricolore Paleo Pie to finish off the day, and a banana somewhere in the middle to keep me going on a lazy Saturday!
Day 8: Brunch of poached eggs with almond milk poached smoked haddock; simple and satisfying. Having arrived back in London in time for a late lunch I decided to stop by Dean Street Townhouse for an amazing Sunday Lunch which consisted of a smoked salmon and pickled cucumber starter, followed by Sea trout served with fennel, cockles and monks beard (a type of chicory); aside from having to remove the butter from the lemon sauce, the entire meal was Whole 30 friendly and utterly delicious. A big thank you to the fantastic waiting staff for their patience and helpfulness.
Day 9: Monday morning began with a gentle 15km run – long and slow and utterly fabulous in the early dawn watching the sun rise over the Thames. Sunrise is my favourite time of day for running because even on grey and cloudy days, somehow the sunrise still manages to find it’s way through the clouds and it never ceases to amaze me how incredible nature can be at the most unexpected moments. Breakfast was the usual green smoothie, followed by half a grapefruit and then a plate of scrambled egg and avocado. Light and protein packed for post run refuelling. Lunch consisted of very simple steamed broccoli, bean sprouts and spinach topped with a small grilled salmon fillet. Dinner out at Villandry – almost inedible duck breast salad, flavourless salmon tartare and overcooked lemongrass prawns with a side of equally undercooked green beans.