As he stands across the bar, opening up a bottle of rum flavoured Cuban beer, in the dimly lit après-ski themed restaurant, Matthew Hinton explains just what it takes to cook a proper paleo Portobello mushroom.
“We slow cook them for hours,” he tells me. “They started out about three times bigger than when they are served.” The long and laborious cooking process therefore means that Face 11 request all guests give them notice before ordering off their paleo menu.
A paleo, or Palaeolithic diet, put simply is a caveman diet; if it doesn’t grow in the ground, swim in the sea, roam the land or fly, then you can’t eat it. It is based on the wholesome foods that our cave dwelling Neanderthal ancestors would of hunted and gathered including meat, fish, seafood, fruit and veg, as well as nuts and oils. Dairy products, cereals, legumes, refined sugars and processed foods weren’t available to our sabre tooth tiger slaying, club wielding cousins, and as such, are out.
Science whizzes have claimed that hunter-gatherers were free from illnesses and diseases that are epidemic today including; obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer, and therefore advocate it as the world’s healthiest diet. Then again, today’s population are, on the whole, free from the types of death that cavemen and women succumbed to; things like an ice age or being trampled by a woolly mammoth, so swings and roundabouts really.
Matthew’s decision to offer a caveman menu is not only based upon his own interest in fitness but he believes he has found a niche to cater for. “I eat healthily, I train and one of my best friends has been fully paleo for about five years,” says the former Royal Marine. “I was aware of a large group of people who eat paleo but were not catered for,” he continues. With that in mind, Face 11 has been running a paleo menu pretty much as soon as they opened about seven weeks ago.
Whereas “the majority of restaurants in the UK who cater for paleo tend to adjust their current menu options,” Face 11 has a separate paleo menu. Their food however isn’t what you would expect to be served all those thousands of years ago. Oh no. Face 11’s menu consists of Paleolithically delicious concoctions including the Portobello mushroom beef burger, sweet potato and spinach cottage pie as well as banana cinnamon egg white omelettes.
Matthew claims that the nearest proper paleo restaurant is located in Copenhagen, with the second closest in New York, and with the opening of the first fully paleo restaurant in London looming, we should be lucky to have Face 11’s caveman dishes available in Cardiff!
Have you been to Face 11 or tried any paleo meals? Comment below or tweet @thegrillbarrel