Monday, November 16, 2009

Health Fare - Downtown

When we decided to stop for lunch today at Health Fare on Jasper and 102 Ave, I didn't realize that there was already an established flagship location down on 108 and 23 Avenue. I guess they are just beginning the franchising process now, so more will likely appear around Edmonton soon.

We arrived just after noon, and managed to get in line right before it began to grow with hungry office workers. Everyone (both customers and staff) appeared to be handling the rush well, with only one customer complaining to a staff member about his wait.

As we waited to place our order, we got to take in the surroundings - it is definitely light and refreshing, with large windows and a colour scheme of bright greens, natural browns and whites. The interior definitely provides a nice midday oasis (despite the noise level), but between the Kirei board and reclaimed wood table tops, sustainable flooring and "green" take out containers, they have also used the decor to remind customers of their eco-friendliness. The decor is completed with an interactive "nutrition centre" in the corner, where you can look up the nutritional contents of your meal on the computer.

Zed decided to skip food as none of the "healthy" options were really appealing to him but thought he would try a latte (~$4 for a large). After passing over a couple sandwiches, salads and the four available soup options, I decided to try the Orange Beef Rice Bowl with Alberta strip loin, Asian greens, brown organic rice, citrus and a ginger soy sauce (~$9.50). I was intrigued by their freshly squeezed orange and kiwi juice, but our cashier let us know it wasn't available yet, so I went for a cup of loose leaf organic Rooibos tea (~$2.25).

We found a couple seats along the wall and waited for my name to be called to pick up our order. I realize they are still working out the kinks, but between the conversation of diners eating in and those coming for take out, it was pretty difficult to hear your name being called... hopefully they will come up with a new system soon. About ten minutes after placing our order we heard them call "Marianne", and I went to grab our drinks and my rice bowl.

Large latte and Rooibos tea

Orange Beef Rice Bowl

The dish definitely looked "healthy" - lots of brown rice and a good amount of veggies and beef all contained in a neat little portion. Unfortunately between the rice and the beef, the dish was a little dry for my liking and neither the orange or the citrus came through... hopefully this is another one of those kinks they will work out with time. Zed's latte was pretty good, with 2% milk their standard, it was definitely lighter than the whole milk beverages found elsewhere.

Although the food wasn't quite up our alley, the restaurant seemed to be an instant hit with downtown workers. Though after today's rice bowl, I'm not convinced that Health Fare delivered on their "...nutritious, mouth watering delicious..." motto. In terms of healthy food options, I was expecting something that went beyond the obvious of goat cheese and veggie sandwiches, tomato soup, salads and rice bowls; with all these lunchtime basics available elsewhere downtown, I hope Health Fare will work out some of their kinks in the next couple weeks to provide an experience beyond the impressive decor.


Sharon said...

Thanks for the review! Mack and I wandered in on Saturday, and will hope to try them when their text message ordering system is up and running.

Marianne said...

I didn't even know they were going to get into text message ordering! Looking forward to hearing how it works! Thanks, Sharon.