8:00 - 18:00 Mon to Sun
Price Range (p/p)
Medium | R100 - R300
Clenergy is the proverbial new kid on the halaal block. A welcome addition of guilt-free eating in the halaal space which normally delivers mostly fast food and rich, meaty dishes. The name may not roll off the tongue, but “Clenergy” epitomizes the spirit of eating clean without sacrificing flavour.
The restaurant, situated amidst the twists and turns of Greenside, in Johannesburg is a sophisticated eatery sporting black and cream décor and black tableware accented with rose gold cutlery and décor accessories.
As part of their pre-launch, myself, and a number of Joburg bloggers were introduced to a selection of items off their menu including breakfast, mains and desserts. Upon entering the venue an array of dishes had been laid out on a long black counter that stretched almost the length of the restaurant and split the space in two. It was a visual feast made for the Instagramming pro. Each dish plated to perfection. A delicious work of art, soon to be devoured. But where would we put it all? Thankfully, in order to allow us to get a taste of as many of the dishes as possible, the owners, Abdullah and Tasneem Mia had prepared sample servings of all we had seen on the main slab.
Abdullah opened the morning with a comprehensive account of their food philosophy and the inspiration behind it. Tasneem, being a personal trainer is passionate about putting only the good things into one’s body. Together they share the idea that healthy eating does not have to be a bowl of salad. So they have developed a menu that is not only healthy and tasty but is sugar-free, wheat-free and low carb! And subsequently, not only is it halaal, but it is also tayyib (good for you). They have kept the menu accessible to everyone by not only including salads and bowls but also the things you crave like burgers and chips, and a good steak. They have just taken it up a notch by excluding the things that are bad for you. Their sauces are all made in house and contain no refined sugar. Potatoes have been swapped out for sweet potatoes. Even the desserts are guilt-free, using natural sweeteners like maple syrup, xylitol and stevia to satisfy the sweet tooth craving.
We tried the breakfast with masala eggs which included crispy fried onions, immediately a winner. I am a sucker for biryani style onions. The grilled chicken breasts came with harissa sauce and garlic mayo. Harissa is normally quite hot which I didn’t get in this dish but the flavour was on point so another winner. The chicken burger was popular with everyone and I was impressed with how the wheat-free bun was so light and edible. Abdulla explained that the bun while wheat-free contained gluten which makes it lighter. Did I mention they make the buns themselves?
The Arrabiata pasta is made with butternut only. Completely wheat-free. The sauce was spicy and delicious. The Kingklip was also another winner with everyone. The only dish I didn’t enjoy was the pizza. It had a banting base made with courgettes and you’ll enjoy it if you enjoy this type of base. Pizza for me needs a traditional bread base. I have never been able to enjoy the banting pizza bases. A nice addition on the menu was the cauliflower steak. I’ve been wanting to make this for ages and was finally able to try it. The taste was delicious but for me, this would remain a side dish rather than a main.
And then there was dessert. Now you’d think that a health-focused eatery would not spend much time on dessert. And you would be so wrong…. The dessert menu was so much more than an afterthought. My faves were the vegan ice cream, the Twix Bar (a wheat-free shortbread base topped with a sugar-free caramel filling covered with a layer of dark chocolate) and Crème Brulee. There was also Banoffee tart, Vegan cheesecake, a Chocolate Mousse tart made with cashews and more. And the best part is that you can enjoy any of these desserts and be assured that they’re actually good for you. It’s not too many places that can offer that.
Prices are a bit on the higher side, which is expected in the healthy food space. Burgers start at R99, Chicken main at R105 and the steak at R198. Desserts are not bad with ice cream at R35 (cheaper than Haagen Dazs), Twix Bars at R29 and the rest averaging at R59.
It’s great to have a healthy alternative that is not just salads and wraps. Clenergy will be a game-changer in this space and has already inspired me to start thinking about changing the way I prepare my own meals.
Clenergy officially opens on Saturday 16 November.