Herbs are imaginatively and freely applied in the kitchen, at this attractively restored pub with good food in the bar and what it disarmingly calls the Shed restaurant – a corrugated iron extension. Using local ingredients, none more so than herbs from their garden, the dishes are deeply gratifying: broad bean and savory soup or seared scallops with tarragon oil; veal cutlet rubbed with marjoram; and strawberry cheesecake with basil ice-cream.
Farnham, Dorset (01725 516261l)
Plenty of mint, coriander and lemongrass make Vietnamese food especially refreshing. Goi cuon – uncooked spring rolls in clammy rice-paper wrapper – are herby and cooling. Pho is the national soup, and this outstanding café offers 23 varieties of the sustaining bowls of broth. Extras, including sawtooth, a herb that tastes similar to coriander, are often provided to customise the soups.
134 Kingsland Road, London E2 (020-7613 3222)
Yas on the Park
New branch of the already established Yas in Olympia brings the pleasures of Iranian cooking to a Bayswater backwater. Less widely available than Lebanese, Iranian food is particularly distinguished by the liberal use of herbs. Shabzi khordan, a salad of sprigs of herbs eaten with feta and flat bread, makes an aromatic beginning. Kuku-ye-sabsi is like an omelette with walnuts and enough herbs to turn it green. Iranian rice is exceptionally good, too.
31-33 Sussex Place, London W2 (020-7706 2633)
Ayurveda is the ancient Indian "science of life" which believes our doshas (mental and physical qualities and attributes) determine our dietary needs. What we eat and the different characteristics of food help balance our three doshas – vata, pitta and kapha. If this sounds indigestible, the veggie ayurvedic lunches, featuring healing every Thursday at this glam Indian restaurant, aren't. They're £15 including a yoga session beforehand.
34 Dover Street, London W1 (020-7493 0200)Reuse content