Sometime last year, I was walking along Adelaide St and a brand new pop-up shop caught my eye. Cute shop – bright green fake turf, pale timber stools, mason jars with colourful flowers poking out of them. I’m a sucker for fake turf (was this close to carpeting my apartment in it) so paused to check it out. After picking up a stray menu, I saw it was called Kiss The Berry and that they were primarily selling açaí bowls and smoothies. Açai bowls are generally a blend of Açai puree with frozen fruit and some liquid and then attractively topped with additional fruit and a mixture of things like muesli, nuts, seeds and sometimes yoghurt. Basically a bowl full of healthy goodness. I’d heard of açaí (an Amazonian berry with supposedly amazing antioxidant properties which will improve your health tenfold etc) but had never tried it. I baulked at the price of $7 for a smoothie (it was a bit of a frugal time) so walked out and never made it back before they shut up a few months later. After a bit of investigation, I found out that Kiss The Berry began as the brainchild of two young entrepreneurial ladies who began selling the bowls at local markets before expanding to this shop. Not long afterwards I started to notice them appearing on food blogs and several other healthy eateries were offering these healthy, superfood-laden açaí bowls.
Several months later I heard they opened a real shop just around the corner on Creek St but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I finally made it into Kiss The Berry to try this famed açaí bowl. I was meeting up with M, a friend with similar food issues and interest in trying random health foods, so I suggested Kiss The Berry. We met on a Tuesday morning just before 8am and the place was already packed. It’s primarily a takeaway shop but there’s some seating with a low bench at the back and a taller one with stools at the front of the shop. So I wouldn’t advise planning large group catch-up meetings there. There is an extensive menu available including a range of açaí bowls, smoothies and coffee. Prices for the bowls range from $8.50 for the basic regular-sized The KTB Original Bowl (Acai blended with banana, strawberries, apple juice topped with fresh banana, strawberries, granola, honey and chia seeds) to $13 for the large-sized Snickers Bowl (Açai blended with banana, raw cacao, almond butter, almond milk, coconut water topped with banana, raspberries, granola, coconut and cacao). You can add in additional toppings such as goji berries, LSA, cacao nibs, yoghurt and COYO coconut yoghurt. Smoothies range between $7.50 and $9.50 and you can also get pre-packaged ones for $9. Coffee is by local coffee roasters The Odessey Project (Wallman & Co) and is $3.50 for a regular and $4.00 for a large. They also sell Cold Pressed Coffee, Raw Cacao Mocha and Hot Chocolate.
|Menu is on the wall behind the counter|
I decided to try The KTB Original Bowl in the smaller size and also a long black with a dash of milk. M chose the Berry Good Low Sugar Bowl which had a blend of açaí, banana, filtered spring water topped with banana, LSA, chia seeds, caramelised buckinis, coconut and organic yoghurt ($12 for large). We took (the only free) seats at the high bar and grabbed some water from the self-serve dispenser near the counter, which was flavoured with fresh fruit slices. Once you order at the counter, they take your name to call out when your order is ready. Our coffees were ready quickly and we sipped on them as we waited for our açaí bowls to be freshly made. My long black was rich and strong and was the pick-me-up I needed after cycling in.
M’s bowl was ready first and appeared in a tall round takeaway-style container with the KTB logo stamped on the front. All you could see was shredded coconut, LSA (ground linseed, sunflower and almond) and chia seeds with some bananas peeking through. As he dug in, the deep purple açaí became visible underneath the plentiful toppings. My name was called out shortly afterwards and I went up to the counter to grab mine. My bowl (being the smaller size) was similar looking but shorter. Juicy bright red slices of strawberry sat on top of plenty of sliced ripe banana rounds with a good drizzle of honey on top and generous sprinkling of chia seeds. I thought my bowl was the prettier of the two but appearance isn’t everything – question was, which tasted better?
As I dug my spoon in, I found that underneath all of the fruit was a layer of crunchy oat and nut granola and below that, thick deep purple açaí puree. I tried to get a little bit of everything on my spoon but there were so many components! Somehow I sort of managed and the resulting mouthful was a mix of flavour and texture sensations. It was quite sweet with the Acai puree sweetened with apple juice and the added honey. The freshness of the strawberries helped to offset it a little. The delicious crunchy granola also added to the sweetness while adding contrasting texture to the smooth blended açaí. The banana was sweet but not overly ripe so still had a bit of bite to it – just perfect. It was a delicious bowl of healthy goodness but I probably could have done without the extra honey as I did find it sweeter than necessary. M was also enjoying his first experience with açaí. I got to sample some and it was less sweet than mine, which I really liked. I particularly liked the caramelised buckinis which I hadn’t tried before. They were super crunchy like my granola but not as sweet and had a nutty flavour. I’m a big fan of buckwheat and regularly put them in my homemade toasted granola but hadn’t had them by themselves before like that. The shredded coconut also added some nice crunch and sweetness and the additional yoghurt added a nice tartness to the mix. Overall I probably preferred the Berry Good Low Sugar Bowl over the KTB Original Bowl because it was less sweet but I loved that mine had strawberries.
When ordering, I wasn’t sure whether to go with the small or large bowl and was concerned after ordering the small that it wouldn’t be enough. I was worried for nothing because it still took me a good 30 minutes to get through that bowl and I was full for hours afterwards! In fact the problem with taking so long to get through it is that as the açaí is frozen puree, it starts to melt. But I was impressed how long it took it to melt – it must have enough solid puree to hold it’s shape for a decent amount of time. And the granola is amazing – it had the perfect blend of oats and nuts and remained surprisingly crunchy even when immersed in the melted açaí blend.
|The Original KTB Bowl ($8.50/$11)|
|Berry Good Low Sugar Bowl ($9.50/$12)|
Overall my verdict is – I’m an absolute açaí bowl convert and a massive Kiss the Berry fan! In fact, it’s started a slightly dangerous obsession with açaí bowls and now I feel the need to try them everywhere. So far I’ve sampled a few on offer around Brisbane and have made one at home but I will still be back to Kiss the Berry to try the rest of their menu! They do give you a bit of brain freeze though so I probably wouldn’t want them mid-winter but they’re perfect for right now and I see several more in my future during the warm summer months.