Healthy fast food? Things like that automatically make me sceptical. Can that even be possible? When I got an invite to check out kCal’s new branch at TECOM, I decided to go and see for myself.
The menu is extensive – it has soups, salads, mains which include chicken, beef, fish and veggies, wraps, sandwiches, burgers, shakes, desserts, and other drinks.
The items which are new are marked on the menu, and each dish has a notation next to it, which lists the calorie count, fat, carbs and protein count (in grams), and the prices of course. The only items that don’t have calorie counts listed are the coffees and teas because they are made by a machine and can’t be accounted for, we were told. Even the juices have a calorie count attached (190kcals).
It’s the calorie counts that do shock you. What do you mean a beef burger has 294 calories? How can a strawberry tiramisu have 132 calories? In fact, after poring over the entire menu, the highest calorie count is 299. Found in a salmon ragout.
Now to actually try the dishes. We opted for the carrot, coriander and chicken soup (194kcals) , and the vietnamese spring rolls (195kcals) as starters.The soup is new to the menu, and while it was interesting, we found it slightly saltier than our tastes. A hearty soup though, and a generous portion.The spring rolls were good, although perhaps not as authentic as one you’d find in a Vietnamese restaurant (like Hanoi, which I have not reviewed yet even though I’ve been there more times than I can count…but will direct you to Ginger and Scotch, who has). We were also wondering whether the calorie count accounts for the hoisen sauce that is served on the side.
The mains we ordered were great. I should add that the mains are served with a choice of white/brown rice, whole wheat pasta or green salad. We decided to go for the sweet potato instead; that’s not included in the main+side deal.The pasta-free lasagne (290kcals) was intriguing to say the least. Instead of pasta, the dish inventively uses aubergines/eggplants. When we tasted it though, it tastes just as good – or dare I say it, better – than a wheat-filled heavy dish. This lasagne is light, and the aubergines are so soft, it melted in your mouth. I’ll definitely return to eat this one alone.
I had the beef burger, unable to believe the calorie count – 294kcals. While I opted for the whole wheat bun, diners also have the option of eating it wrapped in lettuce instead. This reduces the calorie count by 100… so 194kcals! I’ll say this – I have enjoyed many a burger in my life, and certainly have my favourites in Dubai, but never have I eaten such a healthy tasting burger. It actually tasted healthy, I kid you not. The meat was grilled well, and tasted fresh. Good dish to have for sure.
The sweet potatoes were nice as well – my companion suggested perhaps steaming them as well might be an option for the restaurant.
We had to have dessert! We were tipped off that the chocolate cake (112kcals) was amazing, so we ordered one of that, and one strawberry pick-me-up (132kcals) which is tiramisu.The chocolate cake is not made completely of chocolate – we found there was sweet potato in there as well! But wow, I loved it. I aboslutely loved it.The strawberry pick-me-up was also good, but I preferred the chocolate cake. When we asked, we were told it’s made with low-fat mascarpone. Which I did not know existed.
So what did I think? I think it’s a great concept to promote healthy eating, and at fair prices I might add. Some items I found slightly salty, but other than that, I thought the food was good. My top picks from the meal I had would be the lasagne and the chocolate cake.
kCal also offers tailor-made meal plans and catering services, and allows you to order online. So if anyone has tried their meal plans, let me know what you think!
Would I return? Yes. I’m curious to try out their other offerings like the burrito and wraps, along with some other mains.
Carrot, coriander and chicken soup – AED 16
Vietnamese spring roll – AED 19
Kcal pasta free lasagne – AED 38
Kcal beef burger – AED 25
Sweet potato x 2 – AED 18
Kcal choc cake – AED 9
Strawberry pick-me-up – AED 19
Fresh juices x 2 – AED 36
Coffee x 2 – AED 24
TOTAL (for two) – AED 204*
*Disclaimer: the meal was paid for by kCal at the launch of its new branch in TECOM.
Practical tips: It’s right outside the metro station, so be nice to the environment and get off at the Dubai Internet City station, and it’s at the base of the Metro Central building in TECOM. If you do get your car however, there is parking next to the metro station.
Check out kCal’s official website for more information.