Being a foodie, I've always surrounded myself with carb, fat and sugar-loaded dishes. I also have a great affinity with popcorn, chips and other very tasty but seemingly unhealthy snacks. So although I want to cleanse myself of toxins, I just can't give up the flavors that I've always loved. However, one casual dining restaurant in the name of Sugarleaf proves otherwise.
Branding itself as a one-stop shop for a Manileño's organic and healthy product needs, Sugarleaf brings us an opportunity to learn how to eat and live healthily. Although this destination for both the health-conscious and the health-curious has a Greenhills branch, I got to visit its store in Makati City.
Located at the MediCard Lifestyle Center's ground floor, Sugarleaf welcomes its visitors with an organic food and healthy product mini-mart. There was an organic produce section filled with fruits and vegetables grown without the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, and locally sourced from the LaTOP (La Trinidad Organic Practitioners) Multi-Purpose Cooperative farmers.
There were also a meat and poultry selection, an array of healthy cold cuts, a varietiy of whole wheat products, a display of natural vinaigrettes and sauces, and a rack of healthy drinks, as well as other items promoting overall wellness.
For sweets lovers, fear not 'cause Sugarleaf also has a selection of vegan ice cream -- Jello's coco kefir ice cream, concocted by none other than our host for our healthy lunch, Mr. Angelo Narciso Songco -- co-owner and marketing & sales manager of Sugarleaf.
Now that we've seen what the mini-mart holds, of course it was time to check the 2nd floor and enjoy what Sugarleaf has to offer for our taste buds and bellies. And for a great start to whet our healthy appetite, we had some goody wraps -- Smoked Fish (P238), Chicken (P238) and Crabstick & Mango (P188), all of which were dressed with lemon balm vinaigrette.
Both the Smoked Fish Wrap -- Pinoy favorite tinapa with Dijon mustard and herbs, and Chicken Wrap -- free-range chicken with creamy Dijon and herbs, were light yet flavorful. However, my favorite for the goody wraps was the Crabstick & Mango which was a light, fresh and fruity take on the famous California maki.
Being in a healthy restaurant, it's a no-brainer to have a salad. And to fill us up with organic veggies, we had the Garden Greens (P238), a generous serving of lettuce, beetroot, carrot, red radish and cucumber, which comes with a choice of 3 different vinaigrette -- blueberry, passion fruit and lemon balm. And although I liked all 3 of Sugarleaf's home-made dressings, it's the passion fruit vinaigrette that I enjoyed the most.
For sandwiches, we got to try the Iberico Joselito Belota Chorizo Sandwich (P228) -- a tasty low-cholesterol Spanish pork sausage mildly spiced with paprika and sandwiched with lettuce and alfalfa sprouts. We also had a bite of the Free-Range Chicken Sandwich (P158) -- organic‐fed chicken chunks, white onion, basil, green apple and sour cream-lime mayonnaise sandwiched in a wheat bagel, and the Turkey Waldorf Sandwich (P208) -- gluten-free turkey, celery, red apple, toasted cashew and kefir‐nutmeg home-made mayo served in a raisin cinnamon bagel.
Although Sugarleaf promotes eating more of fruits and vegetables, they still offer pasta dishes. But instead of using regular wheat pasta, they came up with their own Freshly-Made Fettuccine (P128) which in our trip was made of organic beetroot, and topped with Mango-Pesto Sauce (P148). Unlike the normal fettuccine strands, the beetroot ones were thicker. However flavor-wise, I very much enjoyed this pasta dish without the guilt.
For a sweet ending, we got to try Jello's Vegan Cherry Pistachio and Vegan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Having coconut milk and kefir as base, these ice cream flavors lacked the creamy and thick consistency of the regular dairy-filled iced treat. However, although I didn't quite dig the coconuty taste of the Vegan Vanilla Bean, I definitely loved the Vegan Cherry Pistachio flavor. It had a sorbet-like quality with the richness of the cherry and pistachio flavors.
Sugarleaf offers tea, chocolate and coffee as beverages. However, it also carries a variety of healthy and energizing refreshments such as the Choco-Banana Organic Soya-Chia Milkshake (P150) and the Mixed Berry Goody Kefir-Chia Milkshake (P150).
For the more health conscious, Sugarleaf can also make healing juices rich in phyto-nutrients, vitamins, anti-oxidants and minerals. Although not on the menu, the good people from Sugarleaf made us a Malunggay-Pineapple-Lemongrass juice which despite having a hint of bitterness, was a good detoxifying beverage.
Although I still can't take out all the carb, fat and sugar from my daily meals, I can definitely start trying to eat and to live healthily especially with the help of the nourishing foods from Sugarleaf. I am also grateful to be given the chance to visit this small but meaningful health buff destination not only for my taste buds' and my belly's satisfaction, but also for the healthy eating and healthy living tidbits I got to learn.
Ambiance - 3.5/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3.5/5
Overall Value - 4/5
G-2/F, Medicard Lifestyle Center
51 Paseo de Roxas cor. Sen. Gil Puyat Ave.,
Makati City, Metro Manila