With #Laboracay and the opening of The Palace Pool Club only a few weeks away, partygoers have been dieting and working out as if their lives depended on it. Nobody wants to be caught with a pooch on Instagram at two of the hottest summer parties of the year, and methinks everyone is sick and tires of having to eat their way through sweet potatoes and tuna just to be able to achieve that enviable summer bod.
Enter, Sprout. Offering a fresh, natural, and healthy food alternatives to the greasy, overly processed alternatives, this fresh convenience store gives fast food a whole new meaning, with meals and sarnies served grab-and-go style for people in a rush – which is probably why their first branch is in Makati.
Another delicious concept of restaurateur Erwan Heussaff and the good folks of the Mothership F&B Enterprises, they aim to make healthy food choices a no brainer. This time around, Erwann teamed up with nutritionists as well as Chef Cheska Cariño – a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu who has worked at Momofuku and the popular BGC restaurant, Premio – to create flavorful dishes that keep you full, without adding extra pounds, that actually give you clean energy and not a sugar rush.
If you’re the type who shuns anything labeled ‘healthy’ out of fear that your tongue might retract so far back into your mouth you choke on it, then maybe the juice section would be a good place to start. There’s no weird, green gooey gunk that oozes out of the bottle at Sprout. No, their juices are sweet, sour, spicy, and ever so slightly bitter, yet still manage to taste ever so pleasant on the palate. My favorite of the lot is the Jalapiña (Php 131) – a sassy little concoction made with jalapeños and pineapple.
Who’d have ever thought I’d have enough healthy options to mix and match for a power lunch or a quick snack? Although Sprout does have a lot of meat-y sarnies and salads, like the Roast Beef Baguette (Php 231) and Garlic Chicken Wrap (Php 210). I like to try the vegetarian options and see how long I can last without going for a chocolate bar. Kale, which has more iron than beef, is on everybody’s lips lately, and a few leaves of Kale with Roasted Vegetables (Php 231) and with balsamic vinaigrette makes for a quick lunch, along with Sour Patch (Php 158) – a lip puckering lemon and calamansi combination that tastes better than any Master Cleanse. For a not-so-fattening take on dessert, there’s the Let’s Chia Chia (Php 280) pudding and a Mocha Dipped Biscotti you can pair with a hot cup of coffee before heading back to work.
On another day, maybe a cold bowl of Gazpacho (Php 179) would tickle my fancy to start, and then a very filling meal of Quinoa and Roasted Vegetables (Php 275) and a Fireball Cookie for dessert. For a healthy snack, there’s White Cheddar-flavored Soya Chips, which I promise doesn’t taste like cardboard!
Nothing can be more hunger-inducing than an intense Bikram yoga session. So for all the yogis and yoginis who feel like they want to eat an elephant after sweating it out on the mat, Sprout’s healthy vegan offerings are a Godsend! Sink your teeth into a Roasted Vegetable Panini (Php 263) whilst popping pizza-flavored Soya Chips into your gob and wash that all down with a refreshing bottle of Vita Coco. Or take a big swig of Ginger Jab (Php 63) an energy boosting concoction with a strong almost medicinal (the Chinese kind) aftertaste that gives you energy to spare. Keep the Lemon Snow Cookie in your bag as it’s great as an emergency snack – funnily enough, I tend to have a lot of snacking emergencies.
For the guys who don’t call a meal a meal unless it comes with their favorite carbohydrate, not to worry, the fresh convenience store also has affordable rice meals in stock! Being an adamant lover of everything spicy, it comes as no surprise that my favorite rice bowl is the one with Laing with Black Rice (Php 263) – this also comes with pieces of fat shrimp, so you’re not at a loss for meat. Another spicy dish is the Shrimp Kelaguen Chirashi (Php 203), taking its inspiration from Guam, where the meal is popular. It’s Japanese variation, Spicy Tuna Chirashi (Php 221), is another personal favorite, which I can enjoy even sans the rice, the edamame adding a mild, butty flavor with each bite.
If you’re looking for meal replacement bars and protein shakes, Sprout has both. They have vanilla and chocolate protein powder available, and you are urged to pick and choose from a selection of fruit, milk, yogurt, coconut milk or other products on the shelves that may tickle your fancy (say, a Salted Caramel Chocolate Brownie, perhaps?) and watch as your server blitzes everything up for you before pouring it into a cup.
Overall, I absolutely love the concept! It’s about time we finally embrace a healthier lifestyle. In a lots of ways, it makes sense that Erwan was the one to start it. I’m looking forward to the delivery service that I hear will be rolling out pretty soon – it’ll definitely make my lunches as work a little less boring!
Sprout Fresh Convenience is located at the Ground Floor of Signa Designer Residences, Valero corner Rufino Sts., Salcedo Village, Makati. For inquiries, please call +63 2 556 5769 or +63 917 558 6593. For partnerships, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.