Review: Prep Fitness Kitchen

I know what you’re thinking, what am I doing posting about a health food kitchen, that’s no fun, right?  I know, I get it, but with my wedding a mere 4 weeks away, I’ve been trying to give myself a bit of a health kick, and going to Prep Fitness Kitchen provided me the option to eat out without feeling guilty.

Situated smack bang in the city centre on Bath Street, just seconds from Buchanan Street, the premise behind Prep Fitness Kitchen is to provide healthy, protein rich fast food that doesn’t make you sigh downheartedly and wish you were tucking into a giant pizza, because, let’s face it, healthy food can get tiresome. There is both a brunch and all-day menu, and the options suit meat eaters, veggies, and vegans alike, ranging from burgers to dairy free mac and cheese, or even pulled beef brisket!

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I decided to stop in and give it a try one dreary Saturday, and on walking in, already liked the vibe of the place. It’s a really spacious, open setting, with a modern look and feel to it. Menus are laid out on all the tables like place settings, so you simply sit down, choose what you fancy from the menu, and order it at the counter. You’re then given a buzzer, which goes off when your food is ready, so you can go down and collect it from the open pass at one end of the restaurant. Everything on the menu has detailed nutritional information, from allergens to the calorie, protein, carb, and fat content, so you know exactly what you’re getting.

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It seemed only right to opt for their signature dish, the Harissa Chicken Burger. Served in a sugar-free protein brioche bun with a side of ‘kaleslaw’ and baked ‘sweet potato dumbbells’, the lightly marinated chicken breast comes with a harissa spiced yoghurt dressing, baby gem lettuce, and tomato. When it came to ordering drinks, their soft drink choices are minimal, so I opted for a can of “Ugly Water” – a lime & lemon flavoured sparkling water – which I did not enjoy, mostly because all other flavoured waters I’ve enjoyed are packed full of sugar, unlike this stuff, so be aware, the soft drinks you buy here won’t have the sugary taste you’re used to! There are also a range of smoothies and juices to choose from, which are listed on a large black board behind the counter, if you fancy packing in some of your five (or I guess ten now?) a day!

When my buzzer went off and I picked up my order, I was impressed by how shiny and soft the brioche bun was, considering it had been made without sugar and was packed with extra protein, but it looked like any other burger bun, and tasted very similar too. The chicken breast had a lovely, gentle spice to it, with the very aesthetically appealing char lines running across it. The kaleslaw was light and refreshing – you won’t find any heavy mayo here – and the whole dish was served with a wedge of lemon to add some citrus zing. I honestly cannot fault the burger. If I’d received it in any other restaurant, I wouldn’t have been surprised, because it was packed full of flavour. The baked sweet potato was slightly lack-lustre, and is no match for its unhealthy brother, sweet potato fries, but with a bit of salt and pepper, I was happy to devour them too.

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Alongside their hot food, they serve a range of protein filled healthy snacks, and I had my eyes on the raw peanut butter brownies and the vanilla and coconut protein balls, but I was so unbelievably full from my burger, there was no way I could fit them in. Luckily, their entire snack range is available to take away, so I could try them in the comfort of my own home when I wasn’t ridiculously full. And I kid you not, I couldn’t eat anything for the rest of the day I was so full, I skipped dinner because the idea of more food just seemed outrageous. That is the benefit of freshly prepared wholesome food, it keeps you going for hours after you’ve eaten it!

When I finally could face the snacks, I was very pleasantly surprised. I’ve tried making raw brownies before and always found the flavour seriously lacking, and the texture sticky more than anything else. The peanut butter brownie from Prep Fitness Kitchen was, however, really tasty. No, it’s still not as good as a warm, gooey brownie fresh out of the oven, but if you’re trying to watch what you eat but you still get cravings for something sweet, which I do ALL the time, these are perfect. They have quite a crumbly texture, but they are really rich and flavoured with peanut butter, making them feel quite indulgent. The coconut and vanilla protein balls are a little lighter, but very moreish. You get two in a box, I could easily have eaten about five of them!

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What I loved about Prep Fitness Kitchen is it didn’t feel pretentious and there wasn’t a clear clientele of crazed gym freaks who refuse to put anything bad in their bodies. There were families, couples, friends, all sampling the food. Though it’s never going to be quite the same as the full fat version, the food here left me feeling satisfied, and like I’d had a treat, rather than something that was nutritious and healthy.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to spend the next month posting health food reviews and vegan treat recipes, I’ll be back to eating steaks and pizzas soon, but if you do fancy a guilt free lunch, I honestly recommend trying Prep Fitness Kitchen, you might be pleasantly surprised!

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