At Lo Cal, a fitness restaurant in Chennai, one litre of ice cream has less carbohydrates than an apple!
Our curiosity was definitely piqued when we were told that the new eatery down Sterling Road is a ‘fitness’ restaurant and not merely a health food diner. Opening this weekend, Lo Cal By Dumbell is the brainchild of college friends, Abishek Rengasamy and Mahi Mohan. “Local is the answer to all the fitness enthusiasts out there who are looking for specific macro-nutrients in their meal and those who want to eat healthy,” says Mahi who is also a nutritionist, a functional fitness coach and owns an organic farm. At a tasting session at the 30-seater earlier this week, in the midst of incomplete interiors of fresh paint and sawdust, we did notice barbell props and Hulk graffiti suggesting the theme.
What’s your flavour?
We soon realise the focus is also on flavour and taste as we start with a creamy, warm broccoli soup that is dotted with walnuts. The skewered chicken is a boon for those on a low-carb diet — as you bite into balls of steamed mince chicken you will find the gooey, cheesy centre. The fruit salad is a cheerful mix of fresh fig, orange, pear and crisp lettuce, besides goat’s cheese and mildly seasoned vinaigrette. The filo pastry rolls stuffed with sweet dry fruits, while the spiced date chutney completes the flavour spectrum. We are informed that they do not use any refined ingredients here and to expect only country chicken eggs or free range eggs in their dishes.
Abishek, a bronze medallist in weightlifting in open State category, explains how they understand the requirements of fitness communities — like gym enthusiasts to bodybuilders, cyclists, runners or trekkers. “We can provide a pre-workout snack at 4 am for trekkers or keto-fy your meal on request,” says Abishek, who owns Dumbell wear, a clothing company and hosted the Fitup Fest earlier this year. This busy youngster also owns a brand of WHO-certified whey protein and supplements, which is used in their protein shakes and their desserts.
Dark & decadent
For the main course, the stuffed chicken breast and steamed veggies make for a wholesome and tasty meal, while the millet chicken biryani ticked the flavour box. However, the desserts eclipses all — starting with their xylitol-sweetened cream-based (no milk) ice creams that works for diabetics too. We are told that a one-litre tub of their vanilla ice cream has lesser carbohydrates than an apple! We end the evening with a dense, dark and creamy avocado mousse. It is a bowl of delightful decadence with 70 per cent dark chocolate and honey to keep it sweet.
Meal for two at about INR 1,000. Lo Cal also provides subscription meals from INR 500 per day onward.