British Places in Manchester

#AD / Healthy Specials at Banyan

Banyan bar in Spinningfields

I’m here to talk about the new Healthy Specials at Banyan, which consists of three mains and three cocktails. We all know we should be eating healthier, but I am tired of hearing people say that healthy is boring, foodwise. It doesn’t have to be! Yes, there is usually a lot of vegetables and maybe some lean meat, but it’s not boring and bland! Some of my favourite meals explore many of the five basic tastes. e.g. Thai salad is famously salty, sweet, sour and spicy!

Here I tell you more about the menu, where are the dishes are less than 400 calories. Note, that one of the dishes contains salmon and another chicken. As I was visiting in the month of January and was eating strictly vegetarian meals, I was only able to sample one of these meals. However, you get to see two vegetarian meals in this review as my friend tries the Greenhouse burger which contains the meat-free Beyond burger patty.

I’ve visited Banyan a couple of times in the past, but I’ve not been completely wowed by the experience. With a focus on the Healthy Specials menu, I glady accepted the invitation to try these out.

Healthy Specials at Banyan

There are three items on the Healthy Specials at Banyan:

  • Watermelon and feta superfood salad (v with ve option) £11.25
  • Honey sriracha chicken £13.50
  • Smoked salmon and chicken superfood salad £12.50

As mentioned earlier, as I was vegetarian for January when I visited, I was only able to try the first of these. However, before I launch into the full review, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the list of ingredients for the latter two and how I think it might have tasted based on that.

Honey sriracha chicken

Sticky sriracha chicken served with sweet potato, rainbow swiss chard & spring onion, topped with
a free-range fried egg and drizzled with honey & sriracha. The idea behind this option was that it would be low carb and high protein.

I do have a pet hate of sriracha as it is used too often as an option to add flavour. I think they could have used something different, personally, but that’s just me wanting more diverse options in the market. The menu mentioned it was sticky, so I imagine this might be glazed with the skin on. You have the sweetness of the sweet potato, swiss chard, the dressing, saltiness from the egg and obviously some heat and sourness from the sriracha. It appears to work well on paper.

Smoked salmon and avocado superfood salad

Scottish smoked salmon & fresh avocado on a bed of sugar snap peas, edamame, tomato, red onion &
rocket, topped with a fried free-range egg. This one is marketed as being high protein.

Another pet hate is the label of “superfood”. It’s basically marketing slang for “this contains a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients”, something that naturally happens if you just eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. There is smokiness from the salmon with the creaminess of the avocado and the addition of texture and sweetness from the sugar snap peas, edamame, and tomato. Plus the pepperiness from the red onion and rocket and of course, saltiness from the egg. There’s a lot going on here and I imagine it’s less sweet compared to the honey sriracha chicken. I don’t think there’s a dressing, but I don’t think it needs one either.

Watermelon and feta superfood salad

Watermelon and feta superfood salad

The watermelon and feta superfood salad is the only vegetarian option on the menu, but that does not make it a sad choice! Far from it, this salad is packed full of different textures and flavours.

The salad contains feta, olives, beetroot houmous, chicory, watermelon, tomato, cucumber, edamame, pumpkin seeds,
almonds & pomegranate seeds. The salad can also be made vegan if you ask!

This salad basically ticks a lot of boxes for me in terms of a good salad. There’s saltiness from the feta and olives, earthiness and creaminess from the beetroot houmous, sweetness from the fruit and vegetables and crunch from the pumpkin seeds and almonds. There is so much going on that each bite brings something new. I can keep eating this salad for days! If you are not sure a salad can ever make you happy, definitely try this one. I DARE you.

Cocktails

There are three cocktails on the Healthy Specials menu at Banyan:

  • Elderflower Spritz £5
  • Espresso Lowtini £6
  • Low-Groni £6

These are all low-alcoholic cocktails, which is perfect for me because I have Asian Flush! It’s also perfect for anyone with a low alcohol tolerance or those of you who are designated drivers. They can also be brilliant to order towards the end of the evening as you can keep drinking but without the negative repurcussions of going over the limit!

Elderflower Spritz £5 and Espresso Lowtini £6
Low-Groni £6

The Elderflower Spritz (left in first image) contains Atopia spiced citrus ultra-low alcohol, elderflower, lemon and lemonade. Atopia is based in the UK and this is my first time trying their low alcohol (0.5%) spirit. I found the cocktail pleasant to drink, compared to alternative offerings like zero-alcohol Seedlip. The result is quite a sweet cocktail which is very easy to drink.

The Espresso Lowtini (in the martini glass) contains Lyre’s Coffee liqueur, espresso, Cointreau and sugar. Lyre are an Australian brand specialising in non-alocoholic spirits, but of course, there is still alcohol in the Cointreau. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a massive coffee fan. I don’t drink it and can only rarely enjoy the taste when it’s in something sweet, like a good tiramisu.

This cocktail tasted chocolatey and the Cointreau really came through. It was essentially like drinking chocolate orange, and I didn’t mind that. In fact, this is my favourite cocktail from the Healthy Specials menu, and that’s saying something for someone who doesn’t like coffee!

Finally, we have the Low-Groni (right image). This contains Lyre’s Italian Orange, Lyre’s Aperitivo Rosso and Martini Ambrato. This cocktail does have the citrus and vermouth flavours you expect from a traditional Negroni. Having said that, bitter cocktails aren’t my thing, so this came last in my own personal preferences. It is a solid choice if you do prefer something on the more bitter end.

Greenhouse Burger and fries

The Greenhouse burger (£13.95) is a completely vegan burger which uses the meat-free Beyond burger patty. It also contains a slice of vegan smoked Gouda, vegan mayonnaise, sliced red onion, lettuce, a mango salsa and is served in a beetroot bun.

This burger on the whole was good. As someone who has given up eating beef, this is as close as I’ll ever get to eating a beef burger. The only slight gripe I have is the mango salsa. I’m not sure if this is what they serve every time or the kitchen had issues getting ripe mangoes, but what was served in the burger was not it. The mango was not ripe enough to match the rest of the burger.

We also order some fries, both sweet potato (£3.95) and normal (£3.50) and these were very good. Crispy and not oily. Perfect!

Overall Rating and Comments

9.5/10, based on what I had. -0.5 for the mango salsa on the burger but everything was good. The price is reasonable for what you are getting and everything tasted good. The atmosphere can get quite busy and noisy soon after 5pm when people leave the office, so if you wish to avoid this then pop along for lunch instead!

Would visit again?

If the Healthy Specials menu is staying for a while, then yes!

Information

Website: https://arcinspirations.com/banyan-spinningfields
Address: Vantage Point, Manchester M3 3PL

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