We all want to eat healthy, we know there are nutritional benefits of eating said healthy food, but we don’t really want to give up our refined sugar, fried foods and buttery treats. There are only so many variations of a salad that you can have, and without a little sugar, a bit of oil and some guilty pleasures food can get well, boring. Or so we thought.
Sisters Najla and Rugaya AlNafisi have shown healthy can be delicious and fun with a boutique deli and space in Kuwait City that celebrates healthy choices. Skinny Fork offers delectable yet highly nutritious food, and a space for health freelancers to offer workshops and classes.
“Basically, we are a lifestyle space,” said Najla. “Somewhere you can have coffee and educate people about the food you eat.”
From the moment you walk into Skinny Fork the ambience dictates a sense of cleanliness. Positive energy seems to flow from the delicately lit greenery against the beige wall. Tangerines hang on branches at the juice bar, bright and fresh. The design and execution by Jassim Alshehab and ArchJS’s Mai Al-Hendi sets a relaxed, but upbeat tone for your meal.
The menu was created by the sisters, and is based largely on foods they have enjoyed with their family at home. Yet, each was refined to include nutritional benefits and is full of flavor.
“We don’t really believe in being strict on your diet or sticking to certain food types,” said Rugaya. “Even at home, we eat with clean ingredients but we mix it up every now and then. I feel that it’s natural to do that.”
Indeed, one could eat anything from a burger or taco, to a homemade peanut butter PB Slice at Skinny Fork and still have a completely healthy meal. To start, we recommend ordering the Flax Crax; a menu item the sisters called addictive, and they were right. Made with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and za’atar, these are the perfect starter when eaten with the delicious Tropical Avo Dip. The earthy seeds are the perfect combination with the sweet mango, creamy avocado and zesty lime.
For the salad fan, Skinny Fork offers five delicious salads. For those who like a nutty, yet sweet salad, Rugaya would recommend the crunchy wild rice mango salad with toasted almonds. If you are looking for something creamier the goat cheese and sweet potato salad with white quinoa will fill you up and keep you going for the rest of the day.
When it came to the main entrée, we were treated to something that was not on the menu: An Egg Masala Wrap with mint chutney. Inspired by a recipe the girls have been enjoying for years, the wrap is all at once refreshing and spicy. The omelet is cooked in coconut oil instead of butter and bursts with Indian spices. The mint chutney offers just enough to cool the palate, and it is all wrapped in a delicious quinoa and za’atar tortilla. It is the perfect way to start your day.
Our personal favorite was the Messy Chickpea Burger. The thick patty is full of nutrients from both chickpeas and vegetables, and is topped with avocado, homemade cashew sauce, lettuce and tomato. The burger rests between two oat buns that are strong enough to hold the burger together, but also light enough that they won’t weigh you down. Served with their delicious sweet potato fries and lemon cashew dip, it is a meal that will fill you up without running you down for the rest of the day.
Najla and Rugaya are excited about everything Skinny Fork has to offer, but they also want people to explore new combinations that you may not see on the menu.
“A lot of our food is meant to be mixed,” said Najla. “We want people to interact with our food. We have a couple of dips that you can mix and match with the dishes. Also, we have (chicken and avocado) add-on options for anything that you want.”
Having fun with the sisters’ encouragements for customers to customize their meal to their own tastes, we’ve compiled some recommendations. Add their skinny yoghurt dip to the pistachio crumb chicken for some extra cream and a splash of zest. For even more of a kick, the Zesty Brussels Sprouts make for a perfect side, paired with a skinny dip like our favorite, the Tropical Avo.
And because life is sweet, remember to leave room for one of their vegan, healthy desserts. We were skeptical at first; how could dessert be delicious and vegan? One bite into their Vegan PB muffin and we’re hooked. The homemade crunchy peanut butter had just enough salt to accent the delicious cocoa muffin. It is the much better version of a chocolate peanut butter cup, and definitely not a version you will want to share.
Skinny Fork is located on Ahmad Al Jaber Street in Kuwait City next to Doha Bank. They are open Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sun-Thurs from 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. For more information, follow them Instagram @skinnyfork. Photography by Sarah Wali.