Just to set the scene a little, a friend and I are visiting my sister at uni, two years on from graduating ourselves. We’ve been out the night before, we weren’t out that long because we’re old now, we’ve still woken up with a hangover and my sister and her friends have the genius idea of going to get brunch somewhere. I’ve already mentioned that we’re old, but we’re also a bit troll-like, so we throw on our mom-jeans and comfy jumpers and watch the rest of the girls contour before we make tracks and head to the restaurant.
First thoughts were ones of immediate regret as we wished we’d worn athleisure wear and spent a bit more time with our bronzer. The décor is beautiful, so beautiful in fact that it actually looks like Oliver Bonas himself has been sick up the walls, but it also screams #eatclean #getlean. The name is a bit of a giveaway, but it’s the PhD-branded cutlery and the bar at the back that’s stashed with protein powders that shouts GAINS at you and thrusts some anxiety your way as you wouldn’t have a clue what cocktail of whey to choose.
We’re being sat down at a table next to the fruit shelf (cupboard is probably more apt), by a bouncy waitress, unapologetically sporting athleisure wear, and asking whether we’d like the menu explained to us. For some bizarre reason, it must have looked obvious that we’d never been there before. We say no because saying yes would have been uncool and we initiate the first round of menu-translation with the drinks brochure. A long list of coffee (it’s fine, we live in London so that doesn’t intimidate us), juices, smoothies and finally the all-important shakes. The choice was immense and our adjacent cupboard of fruit gave us every confidence that everything would be fresh. I ordered an ABC (apple, beetroot, carrot) and absolutely bloody loved it. It was bright pink, came in a trendy glass and tasted great.
Moving on to the all important breakfast menu, with little icons kindly navigating us around the page sending us to destination ‘muscle up’, ‘get lean’ or ‘gluten free’ (obviously), it ended up being a classic case of too-good-to-choose. I understand why but I didn’t like the calorie count attached to every item and I’m not sure if I just missed it but I couldn’t find the icon for ‘still a bit pissed’ so I settled for something in the lower-quartile of calories, but still hangover-friendly, and I also ordered some smashed avo on the side because, brunch. My Baked Egg Pot came out garnished to the nines and on crockery so perfect that I just knew the Instgram likes would make it into the 40s. But knowing all too well that it’s what’s on the inside that counts; I celebrated the fact that it was delicious too. My sister performed the cliché and ordered poached eggs on sourdough with the perfect yolk and generous avo. Better yet, the Skinny Pizza looked almost too tasty for something that is made with a wrap instead. With each of us savouring every mouthful, all that was left behind was a neat pile of coriander and a slight feeling of guilt that we’d tarnished the restaurant with the gimic brush before we’d even walked inside.
It’s not often that somewhere can so blatantly scream health at you but also have every right to claim great-tasting dishes that leave you way fuller than you’d think. The place itself makes you feel fit and healthy the minute you walk in and you leave feeling hypnotized into a frenzy of excitement and inspiration that you could recreate some of these dishes at home and actually enjoy the bumpy ride to a summer bod. Ultimately, I’m sold to the idea of The Skinny Kitchen and pleased it’s graced British waters after starting up in the infamous Ibiza. I’ve been to the Bournemouth restaurant twice and paid Canterbury a visit too, but having learnt my lesson first time round; I now choose to wear at least one item of Nike and God forbid do I ever embarrass myself and ask for mayonnaise, you don’t #getlean on that.