‘The Good Plates’ dining experience provides an interactive way to learn about how food, surroundings and social interactions can complement wellbeing when introduced into daily life

This January David Lloyd Clubs is opening a unique pop-up restaurant designed specifically to complement positive mental health. The Good Plates is being created in collaboration with experts in nutritional therapy and interior design. The restaurant provides an interactive and enjoyable way to learn about how certain foods, surroundings and social interactions can complement overall wellbeing when introduced into daily life.

All parts of the restaurant are designed with positive mental wellbeing in mind, including: the food, the tableware, the décor and colour scheme, the lighting, the communal seating and conversational prompts provided to diners, the music and even the front of house staff.

The Good Plates’ menu is being created by chef and mental health ambassador Andrew Clarke under the supervision of nutritional therapist Ian Marber. Andrew Clarke is also the co-founder of the Pilot Light campaign, which is devoted to combating the stigma surrounding mental health in hospitality.

There is a body of evidence linking food with mental wellbeing and how certain foods, when introduced into an everyday diet, can impact mood and general wellbeing and contribute to the prevention or management of mental health problems*.

When creating The Good Plates menu Andrew Clarke and Ian Marber focused on two things: firstly, what the brain – which is made up in large part of essential fatty acids, water and other nutrients – needs to remain healthy which is complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and water; and secondly what helps the gut. The gut is considered the second brain and for this to remain healthy it needs to have plenty of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables and wholegrains, beans, pulses, live yoghurt and other probiotics.

Therefore, the six-course sharing menu comprises seasonal, mood-boosting foods as well as ingredients that take this research into consideration and which are known to complement positive mental health. Cauliflower, salsify and almonds, for example, can help with feelings of anxiety and stress when introduced into a regular diet. A range of complementary non-alcohol beverages will also be on the menu.

The Good Plates menu:

  1. Wood roasted monkfish, chickpeas and walnut gremolata
  2. Chargrilled venison, spent coffee, blueberries, roast salsify, trompette mushrooms and mint
  3. Cauliflower, almond miso, black beluga lentils and curry butter
  4. Halibut tranche, seaweed butter, winter tomatoes and white beans
  5. Wild mushroom and kale toban, sprouting broccoli, sunflower seed puree, poached egg and black truffle
  6. Roast salmon, herb labneh, poached cucumber, beach herbs and salmon roe

In addition to expert consultation on the food, David Lloyd Clubs is working with interior design professional Katharine Pooley, using research to guide the décor, lighting and layout of the environment – to ensure that all parts of the restaurant are designed with positive wellbeing in mind.

All of the seating, for example, is communal to encourage conversations between diners (with conversation-starters provided), while the front of house staff are trained in talking to guests about how food, surroundings and socialising might complement positive mental health.

A spokesperson for David Lloyd Clubs commented: “The Good Plates restaurant is not an attempt to be a cure or quick-fix for mental health difficulties, but instead simply be a warm and welcoming place where people can learn in an interactive way how certain foods, surroundings and conversations can complement positive mental wellbeing when they form part of everyday life.

“Inside, the aim is to give guests a positive experience and hopefully they will feel that they have benefitted in some small way from their time at the restaurant. But we also hope guests leave having taken on board some of the thinking behind The Good Plates and introduce this into their day-to-day lives.”

The Good Plates restaurant will be open at 46 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3EP on the 22nd and 23rd January. Diners hoping to secure their space at The Good Plates restaurant can find out more by visiting: https://www.universe.com/events/the-good-plates-restaurant-tickets-RTHNF4. The experience will cost £10, which includes six dishes plus up to three non-alcoholic cocktails. All money from bookings will go to charity Mind, the mental health charity.

Dishes inspired by Andrew’s recipes and The Good Plates restaurant will be available in David Lloyd clubrooms in January.