EATING burgers and cheesecake while watching your weight is something many dream of, but one Stratford chef has made healthy, indulgent comfort food a reality.
Mum-of-three Sally Bee – who regularly appears on the likes of television shows Lorraine and Good Morning Britain – has joined forces with Staffordshire-based Hoar Cross Hall Spa Hotel to launch her own restaurant.
After suffering three heart attacks within a week when she was just 36 years-old, Sally – who hails from Stratford – gave her diet a complete overhaul and has since released a number of healthy eating books and shared her recipes with thousands through her television slots.
Her launch at Hoar Cross is the latest string in Sally’s bow and as we discovered when we visited the hotel, definitely something to shout about.
The Grade II listed stately home – which is currently undergoing a £2.5 million renovation – sits in the idyllic Staffordshire countryside, surrounded by beautiful fields and scenery.
After being shown to our luxurious room we made our way downstairs to sample the hotel’s afternoon tea. Although not part of the Nutrilicious menu we threw caution – and our daily calorie intake – to the wind and settled down in the library for tea and cakes while overlooking the expansive gardens.
Homemade scones and peanut butter macarons were definitely a personal favourite, although the chocolate torte was a decadent addition to the cake stand.
In the evening we got chance to undo some of the naughtiness of afternoon tea and try some of the healthy Nutrilicious menu.
Expecting to be eating salad all night, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a menu of smoked haddock and butternut squash risotto, tomato and mozzarella bruschetta and even burgers.
The restaurant itself has a more laid-back feel compared to the rest of the hotel, with a vintage, Parisian cafe vibe – all neutral colours, sofas to get comfy on and visible pipes on the wall. There are even potted herbs in the middle of each table giving a nod to the healthy menu.
The risotto was definitely something to shout about, with the creamy rice dish perfectly complemented by the smoked haddock, making it both mine, and Sally Bee’s, favourite dish.
My mum – who was my date for the evening – raved about the meatballs and we both enjoyed the sweet and crunchy bruschetta.
It ‘s not just dinner and lunch served in the restaurant. They also have a hearty breakfast menu which promises to leave even the hungriest tummies full.
I opted for the Mexican butterbean hash, and mum chose the full English breakfast.
The hash was different to what I expected, but in a good way. It was more of a baked bean dish, with different types of bean in a thick, spicy sauce. I left feeling full but not like I’d overindulged.
Mum opted for breakfast with all the trimmings, bacon, sausage, egg, mushroom, tomatoes and a little pot of beans.
Served with Sally’s homemade ‘Fruish’ drink – a sparkling concoction of fruits, herbs and ginger – breakfast was a low calorie, delicious start to the day.
For the health conscious Nutrilicious is a definite coup, spending the day in the spa before settling down to a healthy meal which won’t affect the waistline is something rarely found in a traditional spa. Even better, those who aren’t concerned about healthy eating can enjoy the restaurant and its indulgent menu.
Sally Bee said she wanted to bring delicious, indulgent and guilt-free food to Hoar Cross – and with Nutrilicious she has certainly done just that.
Visit www.hoarcross.co.uk to book or find out more.