In a time where convenience is king when it comes to food nutrition has taken a backseat. Inner city areas of Melbourne like Brunswick and Fitzroy have begun to combat this trend with restaurants like 'Vegie Bar' available as an alternative to the hum drum options of Italian, Indian, McDonalds, Thai, and so on. While it has taken some time (20 odd years since the advent of Vegie Bar), the outer suburbs are starting to see some real contenders for the fast food market crop up. None are more competitive than the recently opened 'Hearty and Healthy' in Ringwood East.
As a resident of the outer east, I have often been relegated to the fast and convenient options of large fast food chains. There was not really a middle ground between restaurant and fast food. Options were always sloppy, unhealthy and unfulfilling. How things change. Hearty and Healthy opened in April of this year and is moving from strength to strength.
What this store offers that so many others do not is what the name implies. That is, nutritious and filling food of restaurant quality, available in the blink of an eye. Both occasions I have eaten their food it has been prepared within 10 minutes. A few minutes longer than your local mega chain but the wait is so worthwhile. The food is fresh. Really fresh. All produce is seasonal and prepared lovingly while you wait. Seasonal is the key. Each season, the menu changes to mirror the weather and the produce that comes with it. To date, I have eaten the Hoi sin noodles with prawns and sizzling steak and the chilli con carne meatballs. My girlfriend has eaten the gnocchi and the tagine of beef. Neither of us can rave enough about what we got. Full flavours, fresh foods, incredibly generous portions, and simply healthy food.
The serves are beyond generous and come packaged in a way that appeals to all the 'greenies' out there. Each container is biodegradable and compostable. Any guilt that may have come with buying the healthy and filling food can be forgotten as the rubbish is virtually non existent.
Finally, the prices are exceptional. While trying to lose weight myself I have always been one of those who complains that eating healthy is just too expensive. Every meal on their current menu is $14 dollars or less.
Honestly, I simply can't fault this place. The food is fantastic in every way, the message is clear and important, and the staff are friendly. What was once a pipe dream of so many health conscious people has become a reality and it really is a good thing. If you are in the east (or even Melbourne) come and try Hearty and Healthy. You will not leave disappointed.