OK, so I’m going to assume that a lot of you are like me in that you may have over indulged a little over the Christmas break; am I right? Well if you’ve done that then you probably also spent most of the Twixmas period trying to eat all the bad things left in the house before January arrives; still on track? Now it’s time to admit that you’ve started making strange noises when you raise yourself out of a chair and to do something about it.
I’m not into that ‘New Year, New Me’ bullshit but I do believe that making lifestyle changes can provide a good platform to being a bit happier and a bit healthier. So, I’m on a quest to find ways to eat well but improve my health at the same time.
Mrs Munkee and I have opted to give the paleo diet a try. Now, I’m not usually a fad-follower but I want to get my mission into print then I will feel more obliged to stick to it and will be publically shamed if I fail! I do want to be clear though: this does NOT mean that I will be neglecting my duties as a Food Adventurer. Instead, what I want to do is find ways to eat great food that fit within the parameters of a healthy lifestyle and food routine.
Please don’t be alarmed though. January’s blog series won’t be preachy and I won’t be turning into a spandex-clad-Mr Motivator-look-a-like. It’s just another leg to my Food Adventure.
Vigour Kitchen, St Helens
I don’t often get the opportunity to do a review of a business that’s on my door step but when I do I get very excited. St Helens, unfortunately, isn’t known for it’s food. It doesn’t boast a wealth of independent, vibrant eateries. The last St Helens haunt that I reviewed has already been sold and is due to re-open under new ownership. So when I found out about Vigour Kitchen opening in the town centre I was very excited.
The MOFI (moment of first impact) of Vigour is incredible. The décor is industrial yet homely with a buzzing atmosphere set against a backdrop of exposed brick and strip lighting. The large tables encourage conversation and a relaxed ambience.
The thing I appreciated the most about the aesthetics was the transparency. The kitchen is open and visible with the culinary skills laid bare with pride. A good kitchen and a confident kitchen has nothing to hide and it should add to the theatre of a great eatery.
The service is impeccable. The staff are knowledgeable and take the time to walk you through the menu choices and some of the intricacies that make Vigour work.
Vigour’s menu is like its food: simple and well done. It has a strong range but not too much choice so that you’re over faced and left questioning the quality and freshness. All the ingredients are sourced locally and it even has a seasonal element to the menu.
Now, this isn’t in anyway a unique idea but it’s easy to get it wrong. Poorly cooked veg or a protein caked in sauce can ruin the impact of a healthy DIY protein box. Vigour managed to avoid all the pitfalls and give a strong element of ‘build-it-yourself’ in the choices available.
Shakes & Smoothies
I love a good shake but it’s hard to avoid the stodge. That being said, I think I’ve fallen in love with The Monkey Nut Smoothie. So much so that I’m tempted to start a petition that Vigour should rename it The Northern Munkee Nut Smoothie!
Fantastic. I was looking for a way to still feel like I was eating out within the restraints of my lifestyle changes and I definitely found that.
Verdict – in a word, Vigorous! This is exactly the sort of place St Helens needs to raise the profile of the town and to improve the quality of food on offer. I was speaking with one of the owners Scott and his philosophy was: ‘I just want people to realise that healthy food doesn’t need to be bland’.
Now it’s over to you St Helens. Get out and support your town and make this place work. Put down the pasty from the Pound Bakery and get yourself to Vigour!