Curry in a hurry? Eating for your needs at an Indian restaurant, Benares.


Many of my clients worry about what they are going to eat when they go out. They worry because they want to make better choices for their health but there is so much to choose from on the menu. To make it easier I'm going to start eating out for you and will let you know what choices you can make! I'll have to make a few guesses about the ingredients and cooking methods but feel confident that you'll find the information useful.

This first review is one of the British favourites- the Indian meal. Perhaps not your typical Indian restaurant because this a Michelin restaurant in London, however the nutrition tips are very useful.

Those of you that know me well know that I like eating out and I'm not all about green smoothies and tofu. My husband and I recently went into London for lunch at Benares Indian.

Here's the menu that we had:

  • Amuse bouche - Pickles and mini poppadums

  • Bengali Style Fish Cakes from Catch of the Day, Tropical Fruit Chutney

  • Spiced Quail Supreme, Summer Vegetable Biryani, Quail egg, Raita (Served with chick pea bread, lentils and rice).

  • Masala Chai Brulee

  • Mini Tandoori Platter of Spiced Lamb cutlet and Mustard Paneer, classic mint chutney

  • Spiced Quail Supreme, Summer Vegetable Biryani, Quail egg, Raita (Served with naan bread, lentils and rice).

  • Chocolate and chili tart

And some nutritional considerations when choosing from a similar menu:

  • Balancing blood sugars (Weight, energy & mood): Eat less rice and bread, and order a side of non-starch vegetables such as spinach or cauliflower.

  • Stressed: Choose the higher protein based options - lamb starter and, quail main course. Skip the sugar dessert and avoid coffee.

  • Watching weight: Skip/reduce the naan bread, order vegetables. Skip dessert or share, most of the sugar and fat was here.

  • Gluten/wheat free: Notify the restaurant at booking and again when they bring the menu to you, (the decent restaurants tend to mention it before you will). Ask if they can offer anything else, Benares offered me some bread made from chick pea (gram) flour. Its drier than wheat based bread but will have a higher protein content, its the first time I'd tried it and its nice to have something to dip into sauces..

  • Be aware: The pickles and poppadoms while small, they probably have a lot of the non-valuable nutrition - likely to contain sugar and the poppadoms tend to soak up fat. Same applies to the alcohol and petit-fours.

  • Indian food in general: Choose tomato and spinach based curries, avoid cream based. Chicken tandoori and tikka are generally healthier options, eat with a vegetable side dish and small portion (fist size amount) or rice or naan.

  • Cooking at home? Make fish cakes with oily fish for essential fatty acids (omega 3). Serve additional vegetables with the biryani. Reduce the amount of rice unless you're running a marathon or need energy for other sports!

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