Restaurant Dishoom praised for providing no-calorie menu to teacher
20th April 2022

A Manchester restaurant has been celebrated for its response to a customer after they asked for a menu that didn’t list the calories.

Earlier this month, large businesses with more than 250 employees were made to add calorie counts on menus and food labels.

The change is now mandatory under new legislation as part of a Government-backed plan to combat obesity in the UK.

Statistics show a whopping 63% of Brit adults are now overweight or obese, but the clearly displayed calories have shocked many.

One journalist was surprised to realise that her birthday lunch at the Ivy racked up a whopping 4,000 calories.

But, some members of the public have questioned whether the calorie menus could have a negative effect on people suffering from eating disorders.

Mental health conditions like anorexia, bulimia and orthorexia can be deadly.

In fact in 2020 the Guardian reported that anorexia was the deadliest mental illness in the country.

Sophie Bartlett, a teacher from Gloucester was dining at Indian restaurant Dishoom in Spinningfields, Manchester, this week when she asked the server if they could have a menu that did not show the calorie content of the food.

The restaurant's response was praised by both Sophie and internet users.

Following her request, Sophie said her server, named Georgia, returned to their table with a menu where all the calories had been scribbled out.

“I don’t have an eating disorder myself but I have many close family and friends that do,” Sophie told the M.E.N. “I know how they would feel about it so wanted to ask on their behalf as I know some would never ask themselves.”

Sophie took to Twitter to share the encounter, captioning the post: “Massive kudos to @Dishoom Manchester – I asked for a menu without calories but they didn’t have one so one of the staff (Georgia) took a menu and scribbled out all the calories for me.”

The restaurant replied: “Hi Sophie, I’m glad to hear our Manchester team was able to help.

“We will be having an option of a calorie free menu, if requested, very soon in all our cafés.”

Sophie’s tweet racked up over 16,000 likes and was retweeted hundreds of times.

One commenter said: “Love this! Adding calories to menus can be so damaging to so many people for various reasons.

“Having the option to not see these would be a much better balance!”

While another added: "Calorie free menus should be available in every restaurant.

“A lot of people worry about calories and can get overly obsessed, causing eating disorders which cause physical health problems.

“It’s lovely that this place did this for a customer and shows excellent customer service."

Sophie, 29, said she thought the government’s mandatory calorie menus were a “lazy” way to tackle the nation’s health crisis.

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She explained: “I know some restaurants have calorie-free menus available upon request already.

“I visited three restaurants over the weekend and the servers at each of them said they disagreed with the policy – one of the servers even offered to handwrite out the entire menu for me.

"I think this is a lazy, cheap and easy solution to the ‘obesity problem’ that has allegedly cropped up since Covid.

“This has been done in the US and hasn’t worked. There is also SO much more to nutrition than calorie intake.

"I fear it will create such a negative relationship with food with people – particularly women.

“I think there should at least be the option of a calorie-free menu – and to have it offered, not just upon request."

Public Health Minister Maggie Throup defended the legislation, by stating it was being introduced as a “building block” for people to make healthier food choices.

Mrs Throup said: "It is crucial that we all have access to the information we need to maintain a healthier weight, and this starts with knowing how calorific our food is.

“We are used to knowing this when we are shopping in the supermarket, but this isn’t the case when we eat out or get a takeaway.

"As part of our efforts to tackle disparities and level up the nation’s health, these measures are an important building block to making it as easy as possible for people to make healthier food choices."

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