Match of the week | Vietnamese chicken salad and ginger and lemongrass cordial

Match of the week

Vietnamese chicken salad and ginger and lemongrass cordial

One of the encouraging things going on in restaurants now is the increasing number of interesting alcohol-free drinks on offer which I find particularly welcome at lunchtime when I don’t particularly want to drink.

Last week’s visit to Noya’s Kitchen in Bath is a case in point. It’s a really lovely little Vietnamese cafe owned and run by a chef who started doing pop-ups and offers a short, regularly changing menu of seasonal dishes. On an unusually warm spring day last week she had a totally delicious Vietnamese chicken salad on offer with which I drank her homemade ginger and lemongrass cordial, topped up with sparkling water and garnished with mint.

Unlike wine or other drinks which have their own character it’s possible to tailor-make your soft drink offering to the kind of food you serve and the cordial was perfectly gauged for the food.

The following day I had a pickled lemon martini at Jikoni, an Indian restaurant in Marylebone, London with a series of small plates - more proof that not drinking doesn’t have to be dreary.

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