Healthy dining at its best

Saturday, 22 February 2014 11:08 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Crusty’s down Havelock Road offers quick and nutritious bites for the health-conscious By Cheranka Mendis For the longest time, eating healthy has had the misfortune of having very unattractive tags such as ‘boring food’ or ‘bland food’ attached to it. The initial image that comes to mind is plain old veggies or spinach. Later, when people’s focus on nutrition and healthy diets came in to play, eating healthy got slapped with a tag of being ‘expensive’. It seemed like there was no winning. However, with Crusty’s now in town, these unsupportive tags can finally be laid to rest. Situated down Havelock Road, Crusty’s effectively marries the healthy with the tasty, and serves this up with affordability. Fresh, succulent and filling, healthy never tasted better.  A healthy QSR Having only opened in December last year, Crusty’s is based on the concept of Quick Service Restaurant (QSR), but unlike many others which have embraced the concept of ‘fast food outlets,’ this food spot is building its QSR on not only on fast delivery, but also on the healthy food concept. Adding to its differentiation factors from other QSR outlets is also its encompassment of a dining restaurant, take-away bakery and lounges for comfortable eating. With over 27 years of experience, Chef Kapila Jayanetti is the hands and brains behind the food that is prepared fresh in live action stations and presented to diners. “The idea was to create a place that serves proper submarines in Colombo. When I say proper I mean filling, nutritious, fresh and tasty.” He was taken on board by brothers Pasindu and Ruwindu Peiris who runs RPG Holdings, under which Crusty’s is operated. “This was Pasindu’s idea,” Jayanetti said. “Having studied abroad, he has developed a passion for healthy food which he wanted to introduce to the local market upon his return.” And that he did. Subs were picked as they are easy to eat, full of nutrition and a meal-on-the-go and the restaurant was launched last year. “The response has been phenomenal,” he asserted.  The healthy options To keep things healthy yet delicious, Jayanetti has many tricks up his sleeves. For example, he uses honey instead of sugar and most items are smoked to retain maximum nutrition. They also make their own breads and ice creams at the outlet. “People are increasingly aware of what they eat. They are more conscious about their calorie intake and are determined to stay fit. In such an environment, what we do fulfils their aspirations and ours as well – to build a healthy nation.”  What’s on offer The range of sandwiches/subs presented are categorised under favourites, BLT, Asian, veggie, wraps and Reuben. “There is something for everyone here,” Jayanetti said. From tuna, chicken teriyaki, smoked pepper beef to shrimp and tomato cheese melts, to shisha chicken and Crusty’s famous ‘Achcharu’ – a brand new introduction – Crusty’s has it all. All sauces that are spread thickly over the meats are made in-house as well, using Omega 3+. These include sweet onion, smoky BBQ, yellow mustard, teriyaki and their very own Crusty’s South West. Under Reuben what is presented is a market fresh sandwich with two slices of white or brown top crust bread with any of the fillings listed on the menu. There is also a variety of bread to choose from. Jayanetti noted that breads sold at 10 a.m. when the restaurant opens are prepared at 8 a.m., while what’s for dinner is baked around 3 p.m. Choices include multi grain wheat, crusty honey oats, herb and cheese, roast garlic, Bavarian and kurakkan. There is also a list of salads ranging from classic Caesar salad to novel shrimp louie, etc., soups, entrées that include minute steaks, fish and chips and baked lasagne among others as well as a range of side dishes. To finish off is a line up of some incredible desserts and pastries. Famous New York cheese cake, apple pie, double fudge brownie and berry crumble pie are only some of their best. Our experience Jayanetti picked some of their most popular dishes for us to try out – the mutton shish kebab, the club sandwich, smoked grill chicken and tandoori chicken. The first was prepared with minced mutton grilled, putting yet another healthy cooking method to use, with cheese and herb bread, and is served with their south west sauce on the side – delicious! Smoked grill chicken, even though it looked rather dry, was delightful, with the perfect crunch, moist and taste while the tandoori chicken brought out a curry taste as anticipated. All sandwiches were gulped down heartily while watching the music videos being played in the lounge. While the tables and chairs downstairs are ideal for those coming in for a quick bite, the lounge upstairs features comfortable sofas and coffee tables, making it an ideal spot to relax with friends while enjoying a tasty meal. The best however was the club sandwich. Sandwiched in rye bread are egg, smoked beef and chicken ham with some of their best sauces spilling out at the edges. This was absolutely delicious and filling – the best quick and healthy bite anyone could have picked. To wipe down these delicious sandwiches, we were then presented with a tea ice cream, with generous serving of chocolate sauce on top. Even though usually ice cream manages to fill you up even more, the tea ice cream had the opposite effect – soothing our stuffed tummies.  Verdict The final verdict: I have not tasted sandwiches this good in a long while and the fact that it is healthy only adds to the appeal. Crusty’s is undoubtedly a must-try for health-conscious diners. Look out for the soon-to-be-available delivery option, which will make things even better.