Next to Dragon Gift Center, AzaibaNearby Landmarks Average Cost
Dinner for two: RO13.75Website
American, Detox, European, Sea food
We’re located at Next to Dragon Gift Center, Azaiba. Call in at (+968) 9466-5555
Team Y makes a return visit to the Healthy Kitchen, a restaurant offering hearty, wholesome fare that can’t be confined to calorie-counters
We had a moment of déjà vu as we entered the Healthy Kitchen restaurant in Azaiba. It can’t have been more than two years ago since we first headed there for a quick dine-and-dash – and, on that occasion, it hadn’t really cut the mustard.
But two years is a long time, and it was time to give the restaurant another shot. This time, with new dishes being listed on the four-page menu.
On the face of it, not much has changed: the décor is still the same, with a section of comfy cushion seating on one side and a few colourful tables and metal chairs on the other.
It’s all very tasteful, and is only broken in contrast by the black Whey protein bottles lined up on a partition to show that you’re among healthy eaters and gym-goers.
Still, the ambience is decent. Rounding off the lively atmosphere was the aged but still peppy 2016’s pop hits playing in the background.
The waiter handed us two menu cards – one for the dishes and other for the drinks – and a tablet PC showing us professionally-shot images of the food. The tablet is an afterthought but we enjoyed sifting through the three menus.
Each of the dishes comes with calorie ratings and all the ingredients listed. We chose the broccoli soup and a banana smoothie for starters, and plates of pesto pasta with avocado, red sauce penne pasta, and a capriola chicken burger.
The soup and the smoothie were the first to arrive. Dressed heavily in broccoli and with a healthy dose of low-fat soul-soothing cream, the soup was a delight to behold; offering just the right bout of zest and consistency.
Unlike what we’d imagined, it didn’t taste unusual by any means; even if it looked like melted pistachio ice cream. At 145 calories and 11 grammes of carbohydrates, it was also a cheat-free way to enjoy starters.
The banana smoothie was delectable too. It wasn’t worth writing home about but still packed in a great deal of flavour while keeping the calories, carbs and fats to a minimum.
Next up were the pastas. Finished in thick pesto sauce and fortified with low-fat cream, sunflower seeds, avocadoes and a dash of pepper, the pasta was a true masterpiece. We downed it even without considering how it hit the four digits in calories, for the end result was a lip-smacking dish that packed just the right measures of ingredients.
This was also the case with the red sauce penne. Garnished with freshly-boiled chicken and a light sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, the pasta can be pinned as a guilt-free homage to even the best from Italy.
We particularly enjoyed the sizeable chicken portions, which added to the palate of the whole dish.
Sure, it does pack quite a punch in the calorie department but a portion will only set you back a few grammes of carbohydrates that should be burned down as soon as you hit the gym.
Last to arrive was the burger. Sitting on a wood-grain plate and accompanied by sweet potatoes and low-fat Healthy Kitchen sauce, the burger was the icing on the cake (metaphorically, of course).
Looks, as they say, can be deceptive. And in this case, the bland-looking burger – built around slices of wholegrain bun – was backed by a strong punch of flavours arising from the iceberg lettuce, capriola sauce and the melted low-fat cheddar cheese on the grilled chicken patty.
Another true winner, and we downed every morsel. And at about 290 calories, it was also the ideal definition of a cheat meal – a welcome dose of food considering rival shacks overload their burgers with heavy mayonnaise and sauces.
We decided to wash it all down with a plate of low-fat, sugar-free pistachio cheesecake. As oxymoronic as that sounds, the result – as was the theme of the night – was truly delightful. We even ended up fighting for the last slice like a bunch of siblings fighting over candy.
The soft cheese portion – as calorie-deprived as it was – was the real deal with consistency leaning towards the softer side. The flavours weren’t as strong as we expected either, but the dosage of sweetness from the soft centre and the crumbly base made way for a very satisfying end to our night.
It’s funny how much can change over two years. From an outlet serving basic dishes to one that has mastered the art of serving sumptuous dishes, the Healthy Kitchen has come a long way.
This also goes to show how healthy food doesn’t have to be bland. Case and point.
• 9/10 Service
• 7.5/10 Food
• 6.5/10 Ambience
Wholesome fare that proves healthy food needn’t be bland and boring.
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