A writer sharing travels, experiences, a love of festivals & events. Life is a journey and I hope to inspire others. Visit my blog at https://www.travelwithirenke.blogspot.com
Published January 20th 2018
Powered by protein
As I begin writing this, I just happen to be eating peanut butter with breakfast. The usual, not-so-healthy version. However, Australia now has its first Peanut Butter Bar, powered by protein, and it's the opposite of unhealthy. It's indulgent wellness and a new way to enjoy the spread as well as other 'naughty' foods, guilt-free.
Husband and wife team, Christine and Najib, have created a huge open-planned space in Leichhardt's Norton Street. From across the road the Peanut Butter Bar is unassuming but take a walk over and you'll discover a very unique bar. It has the feel of a cafe but there are no sandwiches and wraps here. It's a dessert bar like no other that is all about health, with fitness in mind. This comes across in the sustenance of what they sell and the decor.
Protein is at the core of this bar and with a gym workout it is crucial to refuel your body with enough protein if you want to gain muscle mass and lose body fat. The bar is also about empowering you to make healthier choices where you don't have to sacrifice the foods you love.
Many people associate the consumption of protein with eating bland grilled chicken and vegetables or drinking bland protein shakes but with the Peanut Butter Bar's range of protein drinks, gelato, pudding, slices and cookies, you can 'have your cake and eat it too'.
Products at this bar avoid refined sugars and preservatives, and use Buff Bake's nut butters which are tasty and of high-quality protein. Many of the products are vegan, using almond milk or coconut milk. They also cater for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
But that's not all. Apart from the healthy drinks and desserts, there's also regular not-so-healthy varieties for those where protein and health is not top of the agenda. The not-so-healthy items are clearly marked as 'CHEAT'.
We had a combination of the heaIthy and not-so-healthy in our orders. I went with a regular cappuccino and hubby ordered the Peanut Butter Banana Shake, of which I tried a few sips. We didn't pay too much attention to the 'CHEAT' word and thought this was a shake of the healthy version. Later on perusing the website menu, I saw that it was a 'CHEAT' shake. It was delicious and I would go back just for that shake alone but I can't tell you what the healthy versions taste like. Maybe next time. They come with some interesting names though, such as the Shred4Summer, Iron Maiden and Gainz4Dayz.
With our drinks, we each ordered a dessert. Hubby chose the Tiramisu, topped with peanuts and chocolate swirls. It came out presented well in a glass and it pleased the man's taste buds, although he couldn't eat all of it. I had a few tastes and it was divine. I couldn't fault it.
I decided on some oven hot protein with the large salted peanut butter & choc chip cookie. It was cooked fresh and presented in a skillet pan with a scoop of gelato on top and a small jug of peanut butter sauce on the side. This healthy item has changed my mind when it comes to protein and vegan foods. It was a winner.
Another divine dessert in the Salted Peanut Butter & Choc Chip Cookie
Speaking of gelato, flavours come in vegan versions (9 exclusive ones that vary each week) as well as classic and sorbet versions. Some drool-able flavours in the bar display at the front included Mars Bar, Red Velvet and Cookies & Cream when we were there. Best of all, they're created using Jersey milk, have 30% less sugar, 3 times the amount of protein and half the fat of traditional gelato.
Just a few of the flavours on display - Oh, decisions, decisions!
Also on the menu are protein pancakes, protein balls, vegan brownies and vegan cheesecakes (the berry cashew one is top of the list for my next visit). These and more, plus all the prices can be found on the website. In store, there are even more delights (that aren't on the website) that make for a lot of variety.
This wide open bar has outdoor seating at the front and as you move forward you find a whole lot more. There's comfy lounge seating, wooden tables and chairs, and a back sun-filled room with a partially-open roof that has hedge-like walls and planters hanging from the ceiling. A boxing ring with a wall mural of Muhammad Ali and another mural nearby of Arnold Schwarzenegger, created by Blackbook Ink, bring the fitness aspect in focus.
Such an interesting place, the Peanut Butter Bar only opened its doors in October 2016 and is surviving quite well down towards the quieter end of Norton Street. Peanut Butter is one of those things you either love or you hate. If you love it, you probably grew up with it and, if you're like me, have never checked the label. You just want it but you know it's not altogether healthy. Not only did we enjoy our time here but we also learned a few facts, as follows –
• Peanut butter is not bad for you in its natural form
• Apart from its protein value, it also contains high levels of amino acids, boosting minerals, vitamins and antioxidants
• The monounsaturated fats in peanuts are the good type that keep your heart healthy
• It's only the commercial brands with nasties like artificial sugars and vegetable oil that make peanut butter not-so-healthy
• Peanuts are not actually nuts, but legumes grown underground
That's a lot of good aspects and the Peanut Butter Bar only makes it better.
All in all, it's a great place to eat, drink and chill out with friends or a loved one. Reasonably priced, it's open 7 days a week from 11am until late.