The Photo-Dieter Eats Out

At The Spice Lounge in Milton Keynes

chicken suganda

For three weeks I have been photographing everything I eat and learning to eat healthily-sized portions. I’ve logged the food in WLR to keep track of the calories, the fat and the fibre.

On Wednesday my partner and had ticket for the theatre and went out for dinner first. We went to The Spice Lounge in the Theatre District. That description tickles me. It’s technically correct, I guess, as it is the district where the theatre is located. To my mind, ‘the theatre disctict’ should be where there are theatres (plural) not one theatre and several bars and restaurants. Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner and used to having lots of theatres to choose from. That’s also probably why it seems so strange to me to be able to stand by the theatre bar and look out over miles of fields. But I digress.

We’d almost walked into the Spice Lounge before but had decided that it must be closed, despite the unlocked door, as it was so dark and nobody was around. Friends had been before and loved it but they had gone there for a Saturday night out. It’s a bar with a dance floor, they have live music and the restaurant area is on a mezzanine.

This time there was a notice outside advertising their early-bird special – 50% off your food bill if you eat between 5.30 and 7.30. We figured this meant they were open. Ignoring the lift, we walked up the couple of flights of stairs and into the to the dance floor/bar level which was very dimly lit. Someone must have heard us talking because, before we had a chance to decide that it was too dark and too empty we were approached by a member of staff with a friendly, welcoming smile. I explained that we wanted to eat before going to the theatre and had seen their offer. He asked what time the show was and, hearing that it wasn’t till 7.30, assured us there was plenty of time for us to enjoy a full meal and showed us to a table for two overlooking the dance floor on which only coloured lights were dancing.

We had poppadums with the traditional accompaniments of red onion, yoghurt and mango chutney while we looked at the menus which were rather difficult to read by the dim overhead lighting and the candle on the table.

I can see now that it was a mistake to order a starter and a main course with side orders of rice, naan bread and saag aloo, as wells as poppadoms and a pint of lager. However, we did restrict ourselves to one of each to share.


Indian fud

The food was excellent and the service was very good. Our starters were cleared and the main course brought just as we’d finished – no impatient hovering waiters and no frustrating wait between courses as the seconds tick toward show time. We weren’t asked too often ‘is everything all right’ either. We were both impressed.

Because I’m photo-dieting I only put on my plate as much as I thought I might eat. I figured that if I wanted more, that is really wanted more, I could serve up some more and take another photograph. I am pleased to report that I left some of the food on my plate.

I didn’t even glance at the dessert menu. Next time (and we will go back soon) I might have a starter and dessert, no main course.

I always feel a little self-concious when photographing food in a restaurant. I’m concerned that they may think I’m reporting on them or something. Perhaps, though, they might think that I’m doing a foodie review – they have become popular in food magazines and on television. I guess that’s not a bad thing. But I might have a photo-dieter badge made up, or some cards.


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