So if I’m honest, before checking out Eat Naked I wasn’t a big fan of the ‘clean eating’ movement… I just thought it was a bit faddy and an overly controlled way of intaking food. I’m more of a balancer, eating ‘naughty foods’ on some days and ‘healthy foods’ on others. But I started to notice everyone in my office going wild for the new clean eating deli and cold pressed juice bar and felt it was my duty to check it out.
The Eat Naked ethos is food free of gluten, refined sugars, chemicals and processing and it offers a dairy-free and vegan-friendly option every day. There are two owners behind Eat Naked, partners in business and in life: Stacie Stewart and Ryan Brown. If the name Stacie Stewart rings a bell, that’ll be because she was a Masterchef finalist in 2009 and has a published a baking book, Stacie Bakes.
I had a quick chat with Stacie and discovered that the deli has been open just 8 weeks but is already going down a storm, selling out of lunch every day. Here’s what else she said when we spoke:
1. What’s the story behind Eat Naked?
After Masterchef I gained a lot of weight while I was writing my first book. I realised how heavy I’d become when ‘Good Glorious Food’ aired on ITV early in 2012! I was pretty unhappy with my weight so I decided to do something about it – I’m not into diets but loved the idea behind eating clean. Three years later and four stone lighter I’ve learned so much about nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight while eating delicious food. I wanted to share that with people, so I opened Eat Naked.
2. What would you say to encourage people who don’t follow a clean eating diet, to try Eat Naked?
Healthy doesn’t have to be boring! We make clean versions of snickers, bounty bars, aeros and mars bars. All our desserts are raw, vegan and sugar, gluten and dairy free. They are largely plant-based and packed with nutritional benefits.
My favourite has to be the coconut macarons. Like little healthy bounty bites. Three ingredients. So simple. All superfoods. All with a massive nutritional value.
4. What’s your dream for the future of Eat Naked?
I would love a small chain. Two to three shops around the Brighton and Hove area.Right on to my thoughts on the food. And WOW. I do like a salad but rarely would I say it’s a WOW moment.
The salads change daily to keep things interesting and when I visited this was what was on the menu:
- Organic avocado, lentils, feta, rocket, mint, cucumber and lime
- Organic quinoa with kale, broccoli, sugar snap, herbs, mixed sprouts, omega 3 seeds, sprouts and toasted flaked almonds (vegan-friendly)
- Naked slaw – red and savoy cabbage, mango. crisp red apple, chilli, ginger, lime, coriander, tamari, sesame (vegan-friendly)
The way the deli works is with a standard salad box but with optional, add-on in increments of £2-£2.50. For example:
- The large box includes three types of salad, a base choice of brown rice or rocket and spinach, plus a dip/sauce of your choice) for £5
- A small box includes one salad, a base of brown rice or rocket and spinach, plus a dip/sauce of your choice) for £4
- You can the choose the option of added protein, either in the form of chicken/salmon for an additional £2.50
For research purposes, I decided to go for the large box, the full monty with extra protein.
My box was packed with crunch and the flavours disseminated in layers on the tongue. First very strong pangs of ginger, then a peppery punch from the rocket, followed by a sweetness from the crisp red apple. A little flavour journey which is still vivid in my mind, days later. What’s more, I couldn’t manage the whole box in one sitting – I also felt nicely full right up until 8pm that evening – result!
I’ve yet to try one the pressed juices or gluten-free bakes, but I’ll let you know my thoughts when I get my hands on those. The one thing I would say is for lunch you could probably just go for one or two salads + added protein in small box – unless of course, you’ve worked up an appetite, then of course, go large – it’s packed with goodness anyway.
PRICE: £4 – £7.50
RATING: Must Go | Worth A Try | Give It A Miss
In summary, I have very little to criticise about my experience, the chicken could have been more succulent, but it’s really a minor point. And yes it is completely worth the higher price tag as there’s no way you’ll be snacking after a large box. Get yourself down there and try for yourself. Eat Naked open from 9am-4pm on weekdays and 10am-5pm Saturdays and closed for the Sabbath.