Jostling for space on Newcastle’s Chillingham Road sits a lovely little place called The Naked Deli.
Specialising in ‘clean’, natural food, this delightful deli has quickly become a go-to destination in the North East, so Prosecco and Pie popped along to see what all the fuss was about…
The idea behind The Naked Deli came after owner Ian and his business partners struggled to find somewhere to buy healthy ‘fast food’. Fast forward to today and they now have their very own beautifully furnished deli up and running. With master baker and TV Chef Stacie Stewart and a team of professional chefs cooking up a storm behind the scenes, it comes as no surprise that The Naked Deli welcomes a seemingly endless stream of loyal foodie fans hell bent on enjoying their exciting and ever-changing menu.
‘Paleo’, ‘clean eating’ and ‘organic’ are just a few of the buzz words that are being bounced around amongst health-conscious foodies right now, but as a steak and chips kind of girl at heart, I’ve not been paying much attention – until now.*
*This isn’t strictly true. Best friend Ashleigh has been raving about clean eating for ages and visits The Naked Deli for tea about 6 times a week, I just didn’t think it would be my kind of thing.
Grabbing a seat inside the deli during ‘peak times’ is difficult, so be warned. We visited on a Saturday afternoon to find the small cluster of tables filled with hungry diners. After overhearing a little boy crying to his Dad because they had to order their food to takeout I felt honoured to see a table for two pop up soon after. Spoilt for choice with an appetising menu of superfood salads, healthy fish and chips, burgers and an assortment of light bites, it made sense to let my clean food fanatic date order for me.
We started with an enormous glass of their finest ‘Sweet Tooth’ – a medley of raw cacao, nut butter, maple syrup and almond milk. Admittedly not the prettiest drink I’ve ever drank, it was deeeelicious. Not unlike a milkshake in consistency, I happily sipped my healthy shake in anticipation of our food.
For our mains Ashleigh chose breaded chicken fillets served with sweet potato fries and a side of tomato sauce and watercress. Despite a near-constant stream of customers, our food arrived in no time at all. As they say, first impressions are everything and I have to say I had no complaints on that front. Portion size, appearance and variety on my plate all passed with flying colours, now it was time to see if healthy, ‘clean’ food could actually taste as good as its carb-loaded cousins I’m so fond of.
Slightly salty and not too soft, I wolfed my sweet potato fries down in between bites of breaded chicken. Well cooked and slightly seasoned, the chicken let the homemade, slightly zingy tomato sauce do the talking. Because I cook with garlic and chilli quite regularly at home, by the time I reached my second fillet I decided I would have liked maybe a little more garlic or chilli to flavour the plain chicken and add diversity to the simple flavours on my plate.
I was genuinely blown away by the Naked Deli. Everything I ate tasted homecooked and made with love, nothing was churned out quickly and easily to satisfy demand.
Between you and I, dessert was the course I was most dubious about. Sure, granola and flapjacks are healthy alternatives to doorstep slices of cake, but they don’t taste as delicious do they?
Well, I have to say The Naked Deli’s desserts definitely hit the spot, but in a different way than my doorstep slice of cake does. No stodge, no feeling of sugar coating your teeth, just 100% flavour. From the moment I entered, my gaze flew to the assortment of sweet treats that adorned the counter. Brownies, protein balls, mini cheesecakes… I needed to try them all.
Despite hating dates (and anything from the raisin family for that matter), I later discovered my raw snickers cheesecake was part fruit. I had no clue and happily gorged on its faux chocolate and oaty goodness. As a lover of carrot cake, I was slightly surprised to find Ashleigh’s carrot cake was more carrot than cake either, but oddly enough it worked even better.
It seems my first foray into the world of paleo/clean eating/gluten free food was a success!
Will I consider adapting my diet? Yes, especially now that I have The Naked Deli to do the hard work for me. It’s been a long time since I left a restaurant feeling inspired by their creativity and their approach to food. A clear favourite for post-gym protein boosts and heart-healthy hangover food, I visited to satisfy my curiosity and I’m so pleased I did. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more of The Naked Deli in the North East!