Looking for a way to cheat on your diet to indulge your coffee cravings? Or are you putting off switching to a healthier diet at the prospect of having to give up your favourite desserts? Calorie Counter is giving you even more reason to start living healthier this month with their range of new beverages and desserts.
Since its inception, Calorie Counter has been serving the healthiest food Sri Lanka can offer. Founder Duaine Pieris, whose transformation story has been an inspiration to many, began Calorie Counter to shed new light on healthy eating.
“There is a large misconception that healthy food is ‘hospital food’,” he says.
He, however, is looking to change that view by taking all the classics we love and turning them into healthier meals with the use of more nutritious substitutes, like serving breakfast-favourite Eggs Benedict with Avocado Hollandaise instead of the classic version that brought a lot more calories to the plate.
Together with their new Head of Operations Andrew Anton, who is a sportsman and fitness enthusiast himself, they hope to bring a new dimension to Sri Lanka’s first healthy food chain that is now making itself known beyond borders by setting up in both Kuwait and the Maldives.
At Calorie Counter, much precedence is given to the ingredients and preparation that goes in to the food. They use state-of-the-art rational ovens from Germany that eliminate the need for oil or any type of fat when cooking.
All the ingredients are grown organically and prepared in-house as much as possible. They are even working on new bread items that push the kurakkan content of brown bread up to 70% as opposed to the 13-15% found in commercially sold brown bread. Another aspect they choose to focus on is presentation.
“Your food needs to look good and taste good, because 30% of your satisfaction comes from the appearance,” explains Duaine. So you can rest assured that you will be served Instagram-worthy meals every single time.
Coffee for your cravings
All the coffee at Calorie Counter is made from locally grown beans and ground in-house to create the perfect blend. By substituting the traditional milk and cream with coconut cream, oil, soy milk and almond milk, they offer the best possible healthy renditions of the beverages we all know and love.
We Sri Lankans naturally drink a lot of tea and that is a lot easier on the bodies, but when it came to coffee, the caffeine always had its adverse effects, explained Duaine when talking about the reason behind the new introductions.
They found that many people who workout often use coffee as an energy booster but had no real way of getting that caffeine boost without its disadvantages, which is why Calorie Counter has stepped up to the challenge to provide for them in a way that minimises its harmful effects.
“We don’t want to be just another coffee house,” says Andrew, who went on to introduce the new range of healthy coffees. “We’re not just another restaurant that has an unhealthy set of meals for revenue on one side and a healthy menu on another; whatever we do, it’s going to be a 100% healthy.”
He stated that they only used the best organic ingredients, some of which aren’t easily available here, while managing to stick to the competitive prices you would find at any coffee shop around Colombo.
Calorie Counter offers you the basic Espresso, Double Espresso and Caffe Americano along with their own special blends, some of which we had the opportunity to taste.
What we tried
1. Bulletproof – Rs. 350
This is Calorie Counter’s take on keto-coffee that’s been made healthier by replacing the usual ingredient butter with coconut oil and coconut cream. This coffee was very strong and definitely required some honey before we could properly enjoy it. The flavour was very heavy and left quite a strong aftertaste too. Andrew claims it to be their best-seller due to its appeal to the foreign clients in particular.
2. Lattes – Rs. 490 for Soy Milk/Rs. 540 for almond milk
This coffee was not as strong as the Bulletproof and closer to the lattes we were familiar with. We tasted the soy milk version and noticed that replacing the milk definitely had an effect on the frothing of the coffee. Despite the noticeable absence of sugar, this coffee wasn’t an extreme shock to the taste buds.
This was the first of the “superfood” lattes, a shot of espresso steamed in either almond or soy milk, mixed with – believe it or not – carrots! This one had a very interesting flavour as it tasted a lot like the regular latte but with the added natural sweetness of carrots. Carrot is often used to replace sugar in health food, we were told, due to its inherent sweetness and the fact that its natural sugars were easier on our bodies than regular sugar.
An incredibly clever play on words, this was the coffee that caught our eyes the most. Looking like liquefied red velvet cake in a cup, its distinct red colour made it the most interesting one yet. Like the previous latte, this one owed its flavour and colour to a vegetable – this time it was beetroot. As with carrots, beetroot is known for containing plenty of natural sugars, making this the sweetest of the coffees and, in fact, the first we were able to down without the sweetener. That being said, there was very little hint of actual coffee in the drink and, hence, made it perfect for anyone who was looking for the energy boost of the caffeine without having to taste the actual coffee.
Green goddess latte
Named after one of the trendiest health foods at the moment, this coffee owes its name and taste to avocado. This coffee had the most difference in texture, which made it more akin to a smoothie rather than a coffee. As with the Un.Beet.Able latte, its coffee flavour was not too strong. Unfamiliar as it was to our taste buds, it was a novel experience.
All of the “superfood” lattes came with a choice of either soy milk (priced at Rs. 500) or almond milk (priced at Rs. 550). What we noticed was that while almond milk was a slightly pricier than the soy, it also had noticeably fewer calories.
Calorie Counter also offers three different toppings for your coffee – cocoa, turmeric, and cinnamon. No sugar is added to the coffee. However, you are provided with a shot glass of honey if needed.
Apart from the coffees, Calorie Counter is also coming out with their very own hot chocolate. Made with the dark chocolate that sweetens their famed chocolate mousse, and made healthier by replacing the usual milk with low calorie alternatives, this drink was the undoubted winner.
As the saying goes, it’s hard to go wrong with chocolate, and this drink is absolute proof of that. It was delightful and didn’t need any sweetener; it tasted just like the hot chocolate we are all familiar with, except this time without the guilt and regret.
Desserts to die for
Calorie Counter is looking to change the misconception that desserts cannot be healthy, through their new range that takes well-known classics and puts a healthy twist on them. Here again, all dairy and artificial sweeteners had been replaced to healthier alternatives that did not compromise on taste.
We had the opportunity of trying the chocolate mousse that looked deceivingly like regular mousse, but was in fact a mash of sweet potatoes and dark chocolate that had been frozen. While it did not taste exactly like chocolate mousse, it was a chocolate flavoured dessert that we could not find fault with. We also tried the frozen strawberry yoghurt which came topped with fresh strawberries, and was absolutely worth trying for its tangy sweet decadence.
Perhaps the most interesting dish was the Sri Lankan classic – the banana split. What at first sight seemed to be ice cream in the middle of a split banana turned out to be scooped watermelon topped with curd and nuts, which was a pleasant surprise.
What to look forward to
In the future, Calorie Counter is hoping to revolutionise the high-tea culture in Sri Lanka by replacing the existing one with a healthy one. The menu is still in the works, but we had a small glimpse of what’s to come through a sampling of their chicken on toast, oatmeal cookies and energy balls.
Calorie Counter caters not just to the calorie conscious folks and gym fanatics, but to anyone who is looking to switch to a healthier lifestyle and is open to the prospect of healthier eating. So head on over to any of their three locations in Colombo and Galle to check out the new items, and learn the joys of guilt-free eating.
Address: 59, Ward Place, Colombo 7
Facebook: Calorie Counter by Duaine Peiris
By Vashni Benjamin
Photos Saman Abesiriwardana