Words: Vicki Ravlich-Horan | Photography: Brydie Thompson
Tucked away on bustling Te Rapa Straight, amongst the growing number of fast food conglomerates, is Filla Bowl. Offering a delicious new concept with fresh salads tailored to your tastes and diet, Filla Bowl is the answer to those flagging New Year resolutions.
As I stand talking to Matt Gatchell, chef, owner and the brains behind the venture, there are groups of high-viz, work boot clad gents waiting for the doors to open. It’s just before 10am and Matt’s team are madly chopping the fresh produce which arrived that morning for another busy day. Open from 10am to 9pm six days a week, it seems Matt’s idea of a fresh, healthy and convenient lunch or dinner is also a great option for morning tea.
Jess, one of the smiling faces who’ll walk you through the process if it’s your first time, says “where have you been?” is a common remark from those lapping up the concept of a healthy fast food. “It has got to be fast,” says Matt, who had the idea while prepping salads at his other enterprise Café Inc in Rototuna. From the get-go, Café Inc was about providing fresh, tasty food everyone could enjoy regardless of dietary requirements. The huge variety of salads available are pre-prepared each morning, but this means if you don’t like something in them, or you can’t eat something, they can’t be changed or tailored to you, and that was when Matt had his “lightbulb moment”.
A lot of research and thought then followed before Filla Bowl was born. “It’s time,” Matt says, “for something like this to turn salads on their heads.” And if you watch the variety of people popping in, (from lycra clad gym bunnies to tradies, busy mums or Instagramming millennials) from mid-morning to early evening, you’d have to agree.
Each salad begins with a choice of their two lettuce mixes, house or crunch mix. Add to this your choice of freshly chopped vegetables before selecting one of their eight house-made dressings. Next up add some brown rice and your choice of protein: tofu, falafel, hand rolled meatballs with harissa sauce, baked chicken thigh with chicken and maple, sticky beef and ginger, or BBQ pork. Finish this with a range of sauces and some crunchy toppings.
The bowls your salads come in are all completely compostable, making Filla Bowl not only good for you but kind on the environment too.
560 Te Rapa Road, Hamilton