QIBI – nutritional spring cleaning
I often think that New Year is a difficult time to set healthy eating and exercising resolutions – post-Christmas when it’s so cold, all you want to do is snuggle under a North Face coat and munch on brie aux truffes with a glass of vin chaud (my secret’s out).
Spring on the other hand is the ideal time to take action – there are no excuses for not going on that run or frisbeeing in the park friends, especially when daylight hours are longer and temperatures milder. ‘Tis the season for healthy picnic snacks and Operation Bikini.
If you’re looking for a nutritional kick-start, I suggest you try Qibi, a delicious and sin-free option for a quick lunchtime bite or light after-work dinner in the centre of Geneva. Qibi also offers a delivery service so if you get peckish whilst keeping fit in the park…
As a striving healthy-eater (I consider the above two un-guilty pleasures hard-earned treats) I’m sold on their 5-step philosophy:
- Using locally-produced ingredients free of glutamate, colourants and flavour enhancers (aka. the real thing).
- Serving foods high in nutritional value and low in fat-storing empty calories (cappu-croissanteurs take note).
- Qibi chooses ingredients with low GI (Glycemic Index measures how quickly blood sugar levels rise post-eating) to keep you fuller for longer. I must say that after lunch at Qibi, I didn’t get that 4pm sluggish craving for a pick-me-up Bounty bar.
- Gluten-free and lactose-free dishes (do not distress, panini people – I wasn’t aware of this before eating there for the first time and everything was tasty and energizing).
- The chef and nutrition consultant work together to find the perfect balance between taste, nutritional value and calories.
Former city financier, Antoine Comina, is the brains behind the project. Uninspired by the choice of lunchtime options during his office days, and frustrated that we have to adapt to whatever is on offer even if it goes against the grain of our bodies’ needs, he decided to invest his time in observing the biorhythm of urban consumers. I wish some airports and petrol stations would do the same! He joined forces with innovative chef Yoann Constanty who shared the same outlook as him. They both agree that “you wouldn’t put diesel in a regular fuel car” and the same goes for what we put in our bodies. Together with an experienced nutritionist, they devise well thought-out, balanced and appetizing dishes to promote healthy Qi. Which brings me to the name.
In Chinese philosophy, Qi is the circulating life energy inherent in all things. Phonetically in French, “be” is “bi”. Qi+bi=Qibi So, their idea is: if you want to bi(be) Qi, do the Maths and eat at Qibi.
I also thought about the Italian word for foods – “cibi” – though the land of pizza and gelato is perhaps not the ideal endorser of a gluten, lactose and wheat-free environment. But then I do associate the vitamin-D infused Mediterranean diet with healthy living and the Italians are certainly not lacking in “forza vitale”.
I went for the entrée and plat du jour option for 17 francs: a tasty seaweed salad of goodness with cucumber and sesame vinaigrette, followed by salmon on a bed of lentil pasta and black quinoa with cardamom pea coulis. Vegetarian options include marinated tofu with sweet potato, vegetables and tarragon beluga lentils. Next time I think I’ll go for creamy avocado with lentils and pineapple to start, free-range chicken and seasonal vegetables with artichoke and turmeric “hummus” to follow, and round up with Qibi’s chocolate mousse or bircher muesli (second breakfast after lunch). Appetizingly presented healthy food to give you sustainable energy.
Qibi has even taken the liberty of considering portion control, adapting its menu to suit the sedentary lifestyle that most city-dwellers lead today in a bid to minimise the storing of body fat. I’ve never had strangers show such genuine concern for my digestive system.
You won’t feel a stranger for long, though. The service is friendly and quick, and if you catch Antoine either side of the lunchtime rush, he will be happy to give you a quick rundown on the science of his concept.
The décor reflects the food – modern and light, clean but far from clinical, and with a terrace outside it’s sure to attract health-conscious crowd over the summer months.
I like Qibi’s slogan: URBAN SMART FOOD. It is the perfect spot for the intelligent city-dweller looking to reconnect with their inner and outer Qi and give their body the spring clean it’s been waiting for.
Monday – Friday
11h30 – 14h30
Rue Kléberg 12
Delivery: 022 700 44 12