Sunday, 25 June 2017

Warning: This post is guaranteed to leave you hungry and health kicking. But, do read it.

Review: Nourish Ecclesall Road, Sheffield

Hi readers,

How are you today?? Are you having a lovely, chilled Sunday?

I hope all is well and you’ve been thoroughly enjoying yourselves this weekend after the long working week (which was DEFINITELY longer than normal this week – I don’t know how it happened. Not just me, several people have commented on how long the week was. So damn long).

On this lovely Sunday, while you’re kicking back, I’m here to share a post that’s a bit different from my usual offering. In that, I don’t have a recipe for you today (sorry, readers, there will be more recipes soon!). Instead, I’m writing to you today to share with you all the down low on a cool event I got to attend this week… a blogger’s event.


That’s right, readers, for the first time EVER I was asked this week to attend an invite-only event for bloggers, in an independent health café that opened just a month ago in Sheffield. I went along one evening this week to Nourish, on Ecclesall Road, not really knowing what to expect… and had a great time! There were maybe 10-15 bloggers there on the night and we were hosted by a really friendly guy called David, who runs Nourish.

And I was LATE (I know! Soooo bad!) by about 15 minutes, rushing to get there after work, but he made it no big deal. We settled in, seated around one big table in the café, to try out sampler pots for eight different dishes from the Nourish menu. And we tried some reeeally tasty food, readers! The highlights of the night, my favourite things I tried, were hands down sweet potato brownies and chocolate avocado mousse… as I am a chocaholic.

Chocolate avocado mousse!

 Everything we sampled though, readers, was hands down good tasting, healthy food. There was always something I could eat – as a vegetarian – and a lactose intolerant attendee was also very well catered for. Safe to say, dietary requirements are well covered at Nourish. At the end of this post I go into more detail listing the different foods we got to try out on the night – read through this blow-by-blow if you’re interested in knowing more about the food on offer at Nourish, or you can check out the full menu on their website here.

What a great experience it was, to be invited along to a blogger’s event! I was a little nervous, having not attended one before, (I took my phone along to use as a camera, and a pen and paper for note-taking – everyone (everyone) else there came armed with SLR camera and they took NO NOTES… did they not care? Did they have dictaphones? Were they practising mental note-taking??) but our host made everyone feel welcome all the same. He was merciful and let me use the staff loo.

Here he is! Our host, David.

 Overall – a great night. And we learned loads. David knows his stuff. Talking on the topic of their customer base at Nourish, he filled us in. Turns out – gym goers are their tribe and will rave about Nourish to anyone with abs and ears, but gym goers are generally good at making packed lunches. So, most of them only really eat at Nourish as a treat. The health food market is still finding itself, but at the moment students, office workers, and – randomly – hairdressers (!) make up a large part of the customer base at Nourish. Who knew this? Not me.

And David knows a lot about nutrition, readers, and then some. He know a lot a lot. Like, he made me realise how much there is to know about nutrition. Glaringly obvious – he knows all this stuff, he lives and breathe his nutrition, and thus has an incredible amount to share on the topic. When someone’s that passionate about something, readers, it can’t help but rub off. I found it all muchos interesting.

Here's some Baked Sweet Potato
with Nourish Sun-dried Tomato Hummus

David champions nutrition through Nourish’s menu by channelling science and crazy sports performance ideas into every menu item. He told us about the different ways men and women monitor their calorie intake – men are more likely to account for everything they’ve consumed, while women are bigger believers in free calories (totes believe this – I refuse to count liquid calories for fear my wine won’t taste the same).

Plus, there’s an option on the Nourish menu for a breakfast drink called a Bullet Proof Coffee, which contains butter and coconut oil. We were all perplexed by this! FAT?? David explained this is for people who are fasting, as a way to supercharge their brains without eating food. You drink high-fat coffee, containing high-calorie omega 3 butter, in place of breakfast in the morning. No food needed. You metabolise the coffee quickly for energy and it gives you a morning pick me up. Plus, you feel buzzed from the caffeine. What an idea!

I left convinced that:
a)    David knows more about nutrition than most of us ever will do.
b)    The man should indeed be in charge of the menu for a health food café. Basically, it’s his calling.
c)     I should eat at Nourish more.

Here's my Brazilian Beans

And, I have eaten at Nourish before! This branch on Ecclesall Road is café no.2 for Nourish. Their original cafe is located on Pinstone Street in town, just at the top end of the Peace Gardens. I’ve been in a few times before, readers, as it’s really well located for grabbing a healthy lunch on a sunny day, if you fancy eating outdoors sitting in the Peace Gardens. I spent a few sunny lunches doing just this, back when I worked in Sheffield city centre.

And – just think – the new Nourish café on Ecclesall Road is fantastically near to the Botanical Gardens! It would be so easy, on a sunny day now, to grab a healthy Nourish and take it out to eat in the Gardens with the squirrels. Something I DEFINITELY intend to do.

Aside from the squirrel/sun-bathing factor, as David explained, there are two reasons why Nourish have chosen to move on to Eccy Road and open their second café there. The first reason is that they’re well-liked by students, and Ecclesall Road is an area with a high student population. So, Nourish are wisely focussing in on a target market. They’ll be launching a student discount in September to hammer this home.

Here's some Baked Sweet Potato
with Supergreens & Kimchi

 Plus – second reason – Nourish aren’t a chain cafe, they’re independent. As the locals among you will know, Ecclesall Road is a kind of cool area, it’s vibrant, and it’s a hub for independents – lined up one after another. So, Nourish have made the decision to open on Eccy Road in order to join these independents, and support each other as they get off the ground, without too many brands around to spoil the party. Which sounds a fine idea to me.

I came away from the event on Thursday not feeling brainwashed. Maybe as a vegetarian food blogger, with a gym membership and a smoothie maker, I didn’t take much convincing. But, waving my goodie bag as I walked home, drinking an ingredients-unknown vegetable-tasting orange-coloured juice, I left Nourish feeling informed and enthusiastic about what the café is doing and where it’s heading.

Here's a little Coconut Lentil Curry

I spend a lot of time in Starbucks – have you seen the poor baristas when they’re lining cups up in front of the coffee machine, with steam flashing in their face?? They look hot and they look bothered. The staff at Nourish – meanwhile – get gym memberships, personal trainer sessions, supplements, nutrition plans, and plenty of free food! David said Nourish know they’re doing well when employees are choosing to eat the food, they’re liking it, and they’re not taking time off sick. That’s how they know.

Without meaning to sound like I’ve swallowed a Nourish brand book, readers, I just mean to say that I believe in Nourish. I believe their menu is fun, the food tastes good and is priced reasonably, it’s good for your body and for the supply chain, and the staff are good people who deserve their growing spot on the Sheffield health food scene. If you live in Sheffield or you’re ever visiting, readers, I’d definitely recommend this as a café to try. Especially if the weather’s good – take your food outdoors and soak up some Vitamin D. Enjoy life.

Without further ado, here are 8 reasons to give Nourish a try…

1.     Start the day right and enjoy a healthy breakfast.
Nourish open early – at 7.30am – so unless you begin work before 8am you can swing by and pick up a healthy breakfast. There’s a really varied breakfast selection, with eggs and pancakes, bagels and breakfast bowls, muesli and porridge all on the menu.

2.     They have lunches that you’ll like all year round.
If you’re anything like me, then you maybe struggle with planning and packing up weekday lunches that match the seasons. There’s only so much salad you can munch in summer, and a limit to how much soup you can swallow in winter. It’s easy to just live on cereal/porridge all year round… but don’t do it! At Nourish, they have hot meals and chilled salads, baked potatoes and a choice of hot or cold toppings. Whatever the season – they have your back.

3.     You can get a healthy fast food meal for under a fiver.
All the Nourish cold wraps cost less than £4 and you can ‘meal deal’ and add a piece of fruit and a bottle of water for just £1 more. No excuses – this isn’t a blow the bank kind of café, you can eat well and still stick within a £5 budget.

4.     You can go ALL OUT and still spend less than a tenner.
If you’ve say just done a HIIT session and need some serious food in you, this still won’t cost you the earth! Looking at the menu – you can order the most expensive food item (a large Beef Rendang hot dish - £6.25) and one of the most expensive drinks (say a Mango Spinach Green Smoothie - £3.65) and you’ll still have stuck within a £10 budget. Sweeeet.

5.     They will come to you.
Nourish are on Deliveroo and will be joining Uber Eats in July, so you can still order from the café if you can’t make it in-store. Plus, Nourish run regular lunchtime orders to the staff of nearby businesses. And, as well as delivering food to offices, Nourish offer tailored nutrition services for businesses. Nourish can help a company with health reports for staff members, run healthy eating workshops and group activities, goal-oriented workshops and mobility analysis, they introduce ‘health champions’ in the workplace… and so on.

6.     They don’t rest on their laurels.
Nourish know their customers. We learned from David that March-July can be a tough time for the café as many ladies are bikini dieting, so they’re less likely to treat themselves to fast food – even if it is healthy fast food! I never realised this (no bikini diet going on here). But the challenge isn’t stopping them! Nourish continuously work to improve the flavours of their menu items. David told us all about the difficulties they’ve had with getting hot quinoa to hold flavour – a battle hard fought for them. He could talk at length about it… for real.

7.     The ingredients are wacky and well-sourced.
Nourish aim to introduce Sheffielders to new ingredients – like kimchi! See below for an explainer on what on this Earth that is. They’re not hiding behind a bottle of Hendersons – they’re giving it their all and brandishing a menu filled with exotic flavours. Plus, Nourish listen to their suppliers to keep informed about issues along the supply chain for their far flung ingredients (who knew the Mexican drug cartel were interested in avocados?!).

8.     Nourish love Sheffield.
They will open a café in Meadowhall when their lottery numbers come in. As David aptly put it, “we’re not just here to say here’s some food”. Nourish care more than that. The café want their customers to eat well, feel healthy and enjoy their meals. They hope that customers will like the food and will come back for more… I know I will! Nourish want to stick in Sheffield for a while and grow here at home in the Steel city.

I'd be going back EVEN IF
they hadn't give me this (... result!)

And that, readers, is about everything I have to say. What a fab café and what a great event to have been invited along to, for my first time attending one! I came away feeling surprised at how full I was. And how welcoming everyone had been. Plus, I have some great ideas for recipes to try in the kitchen! I’ll be giving kimchi a go fo sho. And, if you’re in Sheffield, I hope you give Nourish a go, too! Wherever you live, support your local independents.

Nourish safely,


^ Also, I realised this week there are now over 100 recipes in the ChefBeHere Recipe Book. Whoo! Is that mental?? Go look! If you’re stuck for what to cook and there isn’t anything in there you like the look of then youareimpossibletofeed. Go eat meat. Order a takeaway. Don’t come back here until you’re in a better mood. Then, you’ll have a lovely time perusing the (now super-extensive) collection of ChefBeHere recipes.

^^ Also, MUSIC. I found a playlist that Yoga Girl share last month and cannot stop listening it’s on Spotify here. My fave song is Sampha – (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano.

^^^ ALSO, we got free codes at the Nourish event to try out a boot camp exercise place on Ecclesall Road, called Trib3. Love a good freebie, went along this morning, and it was INTENSE. Like holybejesuschrist. I came out soaked. They give you a refrigerated damp towel in order to bring you around enough to be able to do the cool down at the end. You work out like crazy switching between floor work, resistance weights, and running on treadmills. You think you’ll die, you hate the instructor (I got Amy), you wonder if this really is hell. You’re in hell. And then, 45 mins later, you bounce out feeling great! High five Amy and pick up a smoothie in the cafe on the way out. If you’re a busy person and need to squeeze a work out in quickly, and you’re a gritty human being – look Trib3 up here.

Now, full disclosure about the food…

8 items from the menu that I got to try at the Nourish launch event:

1.     Nourish Bowl – mixed leaf, chickpeas, kale, butternut squash, red pepper, feta cheese. One of the most popular options on Nourish’s menu, a veggie salad. With cheese! I’m loving feta lately. (£4.85)

2.     Baked Sweet Potato with Supergreens & Kimchi – avocado, broccoli, hempseed, lime juice, mint, kimchi. David explained that kimchi is a favourite of his (I’d never heard of it!). Kimchi is a mix of cabbage, spices and chilli left to ferment – it’s sour and packs a real flavour punch! Works well when paired with sweet potato. (£4.95)

3.     Baked Sweet Potato with Nourish Sun-dried Tomato Hummus. I would never have thought to put hummus on a sweet potato, but this works nicely. The sweet and savoury balance each other out. I’ll carry on this combo at home for sure. (£4.45)

4.     Brazilian Beans – black beans, butternut squash, red pepper, red onion and okra cooked with chilli, garlic and spices. Ingredients you don’t buy everyday – black beans and okra – make for an exotic dish. (£4.45)

5.     Coconut Lentil Curry – coconut milk, red lentils, chickpeas and sweet potato with Nourish Thai paste, garam masala and lime. A lovely mild curry – it’s rare I cook with lentils so I always enjoy ordering them out, when someone’s cooking for me. (£4.45)

6.     Chocolate Avocado Mousse. Interesting! Not as sweet as a chocolate mousse or as savoury as an avocado. A refreshing flavour somewhere in between. Do try this if you get the chance – it’s hard to describe. (£2.95)

7.     Nourish Acai Berry Mix. A pink fruity, flavoursome mix. Somewhere between a yoghurt and a smoothie in texture. Tasting summery! (£4.45 in a breakfast bowl with fruits).

8.     Sweet Potato Brownies. Yummy, dense and chocolatey. No hint of the vegetable in your cake. Definitely taste like a treat, instead of a healthy option. But, healthy they are! With only 174 calories per pot, these brownies are a light pud. (£2.95)

And 8 items from the menu that I’d like to try when I visit Nourish again:

1.     Porridge with Nourish Chia Jam – I haven’t tried a chia jam before but I am a lover of a jammy bowl of porridge. (£2.45)

2.     Avocado, Tomato & Sumac Bagel – I googled and sumac is a tangy, lemony spice… I’m intrigued! (£2.95)

3.     Sweet Potato Pancakes with Vanilla Protein Yoghurt – I haven’t tried a pancake made from sweet potato before and wouldn’t normally serve pancakes with yoghurt, so this sounds interesting. (£4.45)

4.     Supergreens & Kimchi Wrap – will the sour kimchi work when it isn’t offset by sweet potato, like when I tried it at the launch event? I wonder! (£3.65)

5.     Baked Sweet Potato with Feta Cheese & Kale Pesto – I like pesto and remain quite unsure about kale. Can kale pesto work? Is it good?? (£4.95)

6.     Baked Sweet Potato with Chipotle Beans & Mozzarella – Nourish slow bake their beans and this topping is served hot. Lovely on a cold day, I imagine. (£4.95)

7.     Espresso shake – a coffee milkshake… what might this be like? I love a frappuccino on a hot day and wonder if this is similar. (£3.45)

8.     Blueberry cheesecake – if Nourish can make a healthy version of one of my favourite desserts, and it tastes good, then I’m going to be visiting A LOT. (£2.75)

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