Meal Ticket: Freshii, IFSC, Dublin 1

Freshii has all the latest buzzwords: clean eating, eco-friendly, superfoods, “health-casual restaurant”

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  • Unit 25/26, The chq Building, Custom House Quay, IFSC, Dublin 1
  • (01) 673 6054
  • Fusion

The CHQ Building has long been a sorry reminder of our Tiger follies, lying mostly empty for the past number of years. A recent lunchtime visit offered a pleasant surprise then, when it had some life again. Stalwarts such as Mitchell and Son wine merchants remain, but new eateries have popped up, including Freshii, which opened last month.

This Canadian franchise specialises in fast, healthy food. So far, so very much the same as a number of other recent openings in Dublin. The menu ticks all the usual healthy-eating boxes too: salads and wraps, burritos and bowls, soups and smoothies, and some healthy breakfast options. And it’s got all the right buzzwords: clean eating, eco-friendly, superfoods, “health-casual restaurant” (ah come on now).

It’s a bright, fresh space with seating for about a dozen inside. The centre of CHQ has become a sort of lunchtime food court, so you’ve lots of seating options there too.

The menu is a bit overwhelming in size, with nutritional info, allergen codes, lengthy ingredient lists and countless substitutions available. We opt for a couple of bowls and a soup. You choose a basic dish, then you can “energise” your meal (again, come on now) with proteins such as chicken, ham, turkey, falafel, tofu or tuna.

A Warrior Bowl (€6.95) comes with lots of brown rice, sweetcorn, a little red onion, chopped tomato, carrot, black beans and a sprinkling of Cajun spice. Mal “energises” with slices of turkey (€2.50) and the drizzle of ranch dressing looks too sparse, so we ask for another portion (it didn’t need it). It’s an attractive looking bowl, a little heavy on the rice, but the veggies are fresh and it’s incredibly filling – Freshii’s mission statement is that it wants to help people avoid junk food by filling them with healthy food. Mission accomplished with the Warrior.

A Teriyaki Twist (€6.95) is a similar offering – lots of brown rice with crunchy broccoli, carrot, edamame beans, cucumber, onion, topped with seeds and crispy lentils. Falafal on top adds a further €1.50. This is more like a salad than a rice bowl and the falafel are crisp with soft, tasty centres. Unfortunately, an extra portion of teriyaki sauce makes it cloyingly sweet (admittedly our own fault). An Asian vegetable soup (€4.95) is a huge serving of vegetable broth with rice noodles, corn, edamame and a pleasantly large proportion of raw spinach, carrot and celery. The broth doesn’t taste particularly Asian – it’s more a mild, clear soup – but there are bottles of sriracha to give it a kick, and the quantity and quality of the vegetables makes up for it.

These healthy eating franchises can feel, well, unhealthily obsessed with micro-managing and analysing every bite that goes into your mouth, with a good slather of corporate-speak to boot. But if they’re providing consistently fresh, tasty and nutritious food, perhaps that’s not the worst thing ever. At only 315 calories for a large serving of Asian vegetable soup, we certainly felt virtuous afterwards.