review

Simply Natural Lab: superb superballs

© Saskia Vanderstichele
| In Simply Natural Lab, all the recipes are vegan, gluten-free, and contain no refined sugar.
Onze score

It's no secret: some of the best ideas are born out of adversity. Take Simply Natural Lab, an ingenious place that keeps costs down and generates good vibrations.

When he moved to Frankfurt to work at the European Central Bank, Jof lived life in the fast lane. To keep him going, his partner Candice would make him delicious “energy balls” full of good nutrients. The young woman quickly realised that these tasty treats, made with dried fruits and different kinds of nuts, had the potential to be hugely successful. On returning to Brussels, the duo decided to go all in on “superballs”, as they are also called. The idea was a big hit with a young and urban crowd and with the hotels that are determined to impress them. Simply Natural Lab was born.

Straight away, Candice began to perfect her craft; she also makes “snickers”, cheesecakes, and donuts. What is special about her approach is that all the recipes are vegan, gluten-free, and contain no refined sugar. It is a mouth-­watering concept.

Candice and Jof decided to open their “laboratory” to the public via a large window. In a shrewd move, the duo figured out a way to share the location to reduce costs. Simply Natural Lab set up shop at 71 Cellebroers­straat/Rue des Alexiens and they decided to profit from the space as much as possible. So, during the day, Candice and Jof sell coffees (from €2.50 for an espresso to €4.30 for a latte) made with a La Marzocco machine and pastries full of healthy ingredients. In the evening, the place is home to Palette, a restaurant for foodies that boasts natural wines.

It is all set within a slightly cold minimalist decor. We tried it out one lunchtime and we can confirm that it is worth a visit. It offers a well-balanced lunch for €13.50. That afternoon, it consisted of four sweet potato waffles spread with hummus, beautifully topped off with thin slices of avocado, pea shoots, and roasted cherry tomatoes. The dish was not only delicious, it also hit the spot perfectly, ensuring that we did not feel hungry again an hour after eating. The raw salted caramel cheesecake (€4.50) we had for dessert was a culinary triumph, and with hardly any sugar. The experience left us wanting to try out the weekend brunch for €25, which includes granola, chia pudding, and “energy shots” made with ginger, carrot, and lemon.

SIMPLY NATURAL LAB
Cellebroers­straat 71 rue des Alexiens, Brussel/Bruxelles, www.simplynaturallab.com
do/je/Thu & vr/ve/Fr 8 > 17.30, w-e 10.30 > 17.30

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