SA's first anti-ageing eatery doesn't compromise on taste

By Karishma Dipa Time of article published Dec 3, 2019

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If you’re searching for the fountain of youth, then you could look no further than Clenergy.

At the Joburg restaurant, which claims to be the only anti-ageing eatery in South Africa, the secret to reversing the years and improving your appearance and general well-being is purportedly achieved, not only by eating their salads, vegetable-based meals and other health foods, but also everyday food such as burgers, pizzas and steaks.

Even its cheesecake, creme brulee, chocolate chip cookies and milkshakes are packed with purported vital nutrition instead of wheat flour, preservatives and refined sugars.

Milkshakes | Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/ANA Pictures.

Founder and owner Abdulla Miya said each ingredient in all their meals was added with the pursuit of health in mind.

“I am prepared to personally guarantee everybody that everything at this restaurant is wheat-free, has no added refined sugar and is low in carbohydrates.”

But this promise doesn’t mean that flavour is neglected at the Greenside eatery.

The palates of diners are taken on a sensory adventure as the highly trained and passionate kitchen staff experiment with a range of natural ingredients, spices and herbs to create their bread as well as sauces and marinades.

The owners say their desserts are altered from guilty treats to healthy snacks through creativity.

Crème brûlée | Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/ANA Pictures.

Clenergy has been open only a fortnight, but Miya and his team including his wife Tasneem have already received positive reviews from Joburgers who can’t get enough of their healthy take on junk food.

This also includes breakfasts, toasted sandwiches, chicken wings, banana bread and tonics.

Although they could have easily offered an exclusive menu of salads and vegan-orientated meals acclaimed for its health benefits, the Miyas were determined to open an establishment, which aims to challenge eating habits in their entirety.

“I wanted to make stuff that people crave, but it had to be healthy.”

The couple’s commitment to what they see as a healthier lifestyle emerged decades ago.

“My father was a karate instructor so the focus has always been on health and fitness,” Tasneem said, adding that her recent decision to give up sugar had been “life-changing”.

Her husband attributed his dedication to a what he considers a healthier lifestyle to picking up several ailments over the past 20 years and a determination to heal himself with nutritious food instead of pharmaceuticals.

“I have also been helping people with long -term eating plans so we initially decided to start a meal-plan home-delivery service which snowballed into this restaurant.”

Fish and chips | Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/ANA Pictures.

He said that during his time in the skincare industry he discovered that beauty does come from within as it starts with what you eat.

“At Clenergy, you can actually eat yourself pretty and we are determined to help people feel better about themselves and also improve their health.”

During their quest to start an eatery, the Miyas enlisted the services of acclaimed local chef Andre Brown, who has been given the licence to experiment.

“Almost anything can be made healthy as long as you are creative, passionate about healthy eating and use alternative ingredients,” said Brown.

Tasneem said that a part of the kitchen’s success had meant looking back to the past.

“We want to go back to the way our ancestors used to eat by using natural ingredients.”

The proof of this is literally in the pudding as Clenergy relies on simple spices, herbs, sweetness and oils.

“We use ingredients like turmeric, cayenne pepper and coconut oil in the right way which is healthy, but also adds flavour.”

Pasta dish | Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/ANA Pictures.

While Abdulla is cognisant that they are operating a business with the intention of generating a profit, he said making even a small difference in people’s lives is what gives him the most satisfaction.

“What gives us the greatest pleasure and satisfaction is helping people, even if we make a small difference in just a few people’s lives.”

While the Miyas’ dream of opening more eateries like Clenergy around the country, they are interested only in partnering with those who share the same passion for health they have.

“We want to open more of these kinds of restaurants around South Africa, but only with people who share our vision and passion for good, tasty and healthy food.”

The Saturday Star

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