Healthy broth - order of the day at Counter Kitchen

  • Food and Drink
Healthy broth - order of the day at Counter Kitchen


Thu, 05/01/2017 - 15:49


Healthy broth is the order of the day at Counter Kitchen
05 January, 2017

JANUARY is a time for renewal but a grim month for the restaurant trade. Empty wallets, new diets and plans to go booze-free keep customers at home. With many of us planning a health kick, I invited a nutritionist out to lunch to ask for professional advice. 

The venue was Counter Kitchen, a new café and restaurant in Clerkenwell that reflects the current trend for “Clean Eating”. It even bears the slogan: “Because Mother Nature Nailed It”.

My guest, Dr Shady Labib, is an Egyptian health coach studying for an MSc at URL in London: “I used to be 35 kilos overweight... I tried all the diets. It crippled my life,” he said.

I order the beef broth (“Beef Korbut-Nation”; £5.50), simmered for 36 hours. 

Dr Labib’s first tip is not to overcommit: make modest, achievable changes to your eating habits - “shrink the change”.

He adds: “Don’t do something you can’t sustain... It’s not wrong to do something small.”

As I survey the room, it’s evident that Counter Kitchen should buck the trend and turn a profit at this time of year.  

The café is an oasis of health: one of a modern breed of fast food outlets serving wholesome, delicious food. 

It’s a simple, stripped-back space in Goswell Road with white walls, wooden tables and dangling pot plants.

Open since mid-October, their publicity promises “conscious cooking for mindful foodies”.

At the counter, the friendly staff sell homemade granola and peanut butter or bags of apple and pineapple chips for £1. 

The fridge is packed with cold-pressed juices and treats such as coconut yoghurt with pear and cranberries (£3.80). 

“Everything in London has sugar,” Dr Labib observes, sipping his coffee. 

He warns against the insidious addition of sweeteners to our everyday foods. 

His second tip is to make “The Switch” – a shift from processed foods to wholefoods. (Not all the time, mind you – occasional lapses are perfectly acceptable). 

My beef broth certainly fits the bill. The base is an intense stock enriched with kombu seaweed, with added brown rice, edamame beans, shredded kale, bean sprouts and tofu. 

There are vegetarian and vegan options, too, including tarka dal, no-cream tomato soup, and five or so creative salads. 

The special on our visit was lamb meatballs with bulghar wheat, walnuts, shredded cabbage, runner beans and a tahini sauce (£8.50).

This is imaginative, appetising cooking. If you live or work nearby, I definitely recommend a visit. 

Counter Kitchen is open from 7.30am-7pm Monday to Friday and also serves wine and craft beer. Breakfast dishes include avocado toast with homemade cucumber kimchi (poached egg or beetroot cured salmon are optional extras); or almond butter toast topped with raw honey, cacao nibs and house seed mix.

As we leave, I’m reminded of more words of wisdom from food writer Michael Pollen: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

63 Goswell Road, EC1V

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