Newcastle-born gym buff Carley Jones opened Kettlebell Kitchen in March this year. Her vision of offering clean, healthy and nutritious fast food high in protein and low in carbs has already made its mark – and not just on other fitness fans.
We visited on a Thursday lunchtime and the light and airy canteen-style space was packed – no small feat given its location in the Nuovo building on Great Ancoats Street. The demographic is far more than she ever imagined and includes young mums, Northern Quarter creatives, business types and students as well as her target gym-going audience.
Over the past four months, Carley and executive chef Laura Sammie have finely dissected their menu – what works, what sells, what’s not on, and what customers have been asking for. The current menu has two main focuses – eat clean and cheat clean. Eat clean focuses on high protein and low calories for those sticking to a strict regime whilst cheat clean offers something a little naughtier but still with a fresh healthy spin.
The new menu, due to launch on July 28 , will keep this focus. It’s more of a fine tuning, with their bestselling dishes and classic Kettleboxes staying just as they are. The best selling Kettleboxes allow customers to cater their lunch to their own needs in five easy steps.
Step 1. Choose your portion size. Step 2. Choose your protein. Step 3. Choose your base. Step 4. Choose your veg. Step 5. Choose a home made sauce.
All the meat is locally sourced. Himalayan pink salts are added only sparingly. Everything is steamed, grilled or baked where possible. There are no refined sugars, preservatives or chemicals added, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free clearly labelled. For people with food intolerances, it’s also worth noting that a lot of the sauces are also yeast- and dairy- free, so do ask your server.
In terms of the new dishes, we tried four that Carley and Laura both feel will go down well with their market. Peanut Butter Protein Fries sound so wrong but taste so right! Sweet potato fries are loaded with clean BBQ pulled pork, home made red onion chutney, low fat cheese, and drizzled in peanut butter sauce. Sweet and sour, comforting and moreish, healthy but naughty. They are absolutely delicious cheat clean food and quite filling, too, so order them as your main lunch or to share between a couple of you.
Frank’s Firecracker Chicken Wrap is more in the eat clean camp. A chunky multigrain wrap is filled with brown rice, avocado, chicken and Frank’s red hot sauce. Not sure who Frank is but the sauce gave this very healthy sandwich a great big kick! With only 559Kcal and packed with protein, this is definitely one to get you through your workout.
But what about if you really fancy some dirty fast food? A burger or a pizza? Go ahead but make it Kettlebell cheat clean fast food. The Kettleburger is a 4oz beef patty served in a Dr Zak’s wholewheat high protein bun. It comes with all the trimmings, red onion chutney, clean tomato sauce, low fat cheese, gherkins, not forgetting clean BBQ pulled pork. It’s a real handful and one to get your mouth round. And finally, Cheesy Garlic Pizza Bread (gluten free). What’s not to like?
By the way, don’t worry if you can’t quite manage to finish it all off. Food is served in handy boxes you just close up and take home. You can’t beat a good doggy bag!
67 Great Ancoats St, Manchester M4 5AB