Eat with Ellen’s January foodie round-up

Happy New Year food fans! What a whirlwind December was and here we are, all overloaded with roast dinners, too much booze and a lifetime’s worth of chocolate. So how do you feel as we go into 2017? Full of the desire to turn over a new leaf and start the year on a virtuous note? Or desperate to plan more fun to stave off the January blues?

Don’t worry, I’ve got a mixture of both. Some new places for you to check out and some healthy things to help that New Year detox. No matter which way you’re going, here’s to a great 2017 for everyone, and plenty more foodie adventures!


Kricket, Soho

Kricket started in Brixton in a tiny shipping container, and is now opening its first permanent restaurant in Soho this month. With food combining British ingredients with flavours, aromas and spices of India, the focus is on seasonal, modern Indian plates and drinks.

The Soho restaurant will feature an open kitchen with counter dining, dedicated cocktail bar and semi-private dining space.

Kricket, 12 Denman Street, Soho, London W1D 7HH. Nearest station – Piccadilly Circus

Bala Baya, Southwark

One of the dishes served up by new restaurant Bala BayaThis month, Bala Baya is bringing the style of a Tel Aviv all-day eatery to London. The Bauhaus-inspired restaurant in Southwark’s Union Street Arches is the first stand alone project from Israeli-born Head Chef Eran Tibi, formerly of Ottolenghi, Made in Camden and critically-acclaimed Zest@JW3.

DOne of the dishes served up by new restaurant Bala Bayaownstairs will be a fast-paced, grab-and-go setting including an open kitchen and bar focused around a custom-made pitta oven designed by Eran’s father. The menu will range from in-house made breakfast pastries, to original and contemporary takes on the classic pitta pockets at lunch with fillings ranging from Eran’s stews and slow-cooked meats to his take on a fish finger sandwich.

Upstairs, a 76-cover restaurant will have a more refined dinner menu, but it’s still all about sharing, with dishes including Salt Baked Blackened Salmon with Tahini, Picked Chilli, Tomato Pulp and Herb Oil.

The restaurant will also feature London’s very first Gazoz Bar, serving daily blends of this refreshing, homemade, fruit-filled sparkling botanical drink.

Bala Baya, Arch 25 Old Union Yard Arches, 229 Union St, London SE1 0LR. Nearest station – Southwark

Jan, Clapham

You may have missed it in the madness of Christmas, but Clapham has a new Middle Eastern restaurant, Jan. Serving what they call food with ‘Caspian Flavours’, the menu will include dishes from their charcoal oven like spiced roast chicken and slow roast lamb shoulder, as well as plenty of other dishes like lamb kofta skewers and sticky sumac chicken wings.

The restaurant will have outdoor seating as well as 50 covers inside, and will serve cocktails as well as their own Jan Beer.

Jan, 78 Northcote Road, London, SW11 6QL. Nearest stations: Clapham South, Clapham Common.

Chop X Beats at the Brewhouse in Hackney

If you’re already missing all the partying that Christmas brings, Cams X Bikes and Chop X Beats are bringing their first chill ‘up session of 2017 to the Brewhouse in Hackney on January 21.

From 2-9pm, you can try authentic West African cuisine, from their famous Mama’s Jollof to sweet fried plantains and much more.

There will be music and games, with an AfroBeats set from DJ Nore, plus a live screening of the Africa Cup of Nations’ Ghana vs Mali match.

Entry is free but you’ll need to RSVP here.

The Brewhouse, 369-370 Helmsley Pl, Hackney, E8 3SB. Nearest stations – London Fields, Hackney Central


Recipe boxes from Mindful Chef

Mindful Chef provides healthy, gluten-free meals via recipe boxes delivered to your doorSo you want to get healthy but you’re already thinking you won’t have time. You could try recipe box delivery service Mindful Chef, which offers meals made from gluten-free, dairy free and locally sourced fresh, organic produce.

The Devonshire guys behind it, Myles and Giles, wanted to create a recipe box service that is truly healthy, hence theirs are 100% gluten-free and include no refined carbs.

Mindful Chef offers eight weekly changing recipes with four containing fresh, locally-sourced meat and fish, organic vegetables and herbs and spices, with meals like Beef and mustard burger or Red Thai chicken curry. One of the meals you could create with Mindful Chef's recipe boxes

Mindful Chef also caters for those who eat a meat-free diet, with four plant-based recipes available each week including Vietnamese pho or Mexican veggie chilli.

The boxes are delivered to homes or offices in the UK free of charge and it works out at about £6 per meal.

Ellen started as a news reporter on her local paper straight out of university, working her way up to become the chief reporter at national news agency the Press Association. There she spent six years gallivanting around the country – and the world – reporting on everything from troops in Afghanistan to the Olympics. After a stint writing telecoms news, she’s now freelance and indulges in general wordsmithery for a variety of publications.

Her real passion is food, whether it’s talking about, thinking about, or eating it. She’s got her own blog Eat with Ellen ( and you’ll most likely find her dragging her husband on a food-filled mission, either at home or further afield. Ellen’s on board as Belle’s resident food expert, giving you a monthly lowdown on upcoming events and openings, trends, issues, and what’s hot and what’s not in the world of food.


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