THE PLACE: So you’ve finished you January detox, what now? Back to Frosty Jacks and McDonald’s or plotting a more righteous path? The trouble is that being healthy is expensive and a pain in the arse. Unless you get that arse down to Iydea. The set-up is simple: pick one main dish, add a couple of hot veg dishes or salads and throw on a pair of toppings. There’s normally 20 dishes to get you going, all for something either side of a fiver.
THE MEAL: There isn’t a menu on the table as everything changes each day but get up and look at the counter and you’ll see one of the clearest offerings around. Simply named dishes, with a full list of ingredients, it’s perfect if you have allergies or intolerances or if you’re vegan. We go for the sweet potato, aubergine and chickpea tagine (£5.90 to eat in, £4.50 to go), which is warmly spiced and chunky enough to see us through the afternoon. To it we add sweet chilli beetroot with garlic and ginger, which is earthy yet exotic, and roasted carrot and mixed squash with black sesame seeds. The latter is a real winter warmer and by the time it’s on the small plate we hardly have room for our two toppings – a lovely, fresh salsa and more beetroot, this time in rich chutney form. Another plate is filled with roast leek, aubergine, fennel and courgette lasagne (£6.60 to eat in, £5.20 to go), which doesn’t in any way make us sad that it has lentils in it and not meat. The remaining plate is given over to houmous mash, which tastes wonderfully peppery rather than houmous-flavoured, and green beans with almonds that are very fresh and garlicky.
THE VERDICT: What’s not to like? You’re really doing your body a favour, the price is more than fair and it tastes great. There’s loads of variety, and obviously for vegetarians it’s like being let loose in a sweet shop. But without the sweets. You get the iydea.
WE’RE WE SUSSED: Well, we were served by a friend of ours who knows what we do for a living, but we’re pretty sure everyone gets the same lovely service from him. We don’t think that he knew we were reviewing as we’re often in here.
17 Kensington Gardens (01273) 667992
Mon-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm, Sun 10am-5.30pm