JUST A few weeks into the New Year as we are, I’d hazard there are still plenty of you striving to stick to resolutions to eat healthier or take a proper lunch break instead of shovelling in food while hunched at a desk.
With that in mind, my friend and I decided to visit one of the latest additions to the city centre lunch scene which promises honest, natural food that’s full of flavour.
Chop’d started out in London’s Leadenhall Market in 2004 and has since added a further 11 branches across the capital and one in Manchester, with its Leeds site opening late last year.
Based in the recently opened Central Square development in Wellington Street, it’s one of a number of venues popping up in the area to the west of the train station.
With its white tiled walls, wooden furniture and airy feel, this modern space is dominated by a large salad bar that is the star of the show.
The chain sells more than 20,000 salads a week nationally, with a range of ‘ready to go’ options such as classic cobb and tuna nicoise offered alongside the ‘create your own’ boxes.
Each box contains a base, three veg, a deli topping, garnishes and dressing, with the option to add more deli toppings or veg items at an extra cost.
My friend opted for the small create your own box (£5.45), choosing pasta, chorizo, mixed peppers, chickpeas, garden peas, green beans and a blue cheese sauce.
The range of ingredients was extremely good, with an excellent range of meats and sauces and more unusual options such as green veg.
She like the Subway-style ordering at the salad bar and found it made for a really tasty lunch, with the generous portions making it good value for money too.
Aside from the salads, there are a range of ‘stews’ such as pesto mac and cheese or Sicilian meatballs with brown rice for around £5.
And there’s an appealing selection of soups including chicken ramen and shitake mushroom with a choice of broths.
I opted for the small Korean vegetable dumpling with the chicken broth (£3.35), which was packed full of flavour.
The smoothies prominently advertised were not on sale yet since it’s still early days, so we ordered a hot chocolate (£2.60) and fresh lemonade (£1.50).
While there were understandable signs of staff still learning the ropes, they were all helpful, welcoming and offered up advice on the optinos to new diners like us.
Many customers dashed off with their lunch to take away but we settled down at one of the tables to enjoy our meals at a leisurely place.
Overall, this is a great option for the more health conscious among you and a lunch spot to which we’re both planning to return in the near future.