Controlled indulgence seems like an oxymoron but that’s kinda what you get yourself into when you set your sights on some #gains. A ritual favoured by die-hard gym junkies, the cheat meal is a dangerous manoeuvre that can all too easily spiral into a cheat week—so discipline is key. Contrast is also vitally important, a cheat meal means nothing unless you’ve spent the entire week steaming broccoli and weighing chicken breast.
To help you find your next cheat meal you need to strip away your inhibitions and just ask yourself what would you eat if the calories didn’t count? And obviously the calories count but suspending belief and treating yourself is the spirit of cheat meals.
Here we have a modest sample of our favourite contestants for the lofty honour of weekly cheat meal, the sheer anticipation of which is enough to send us back to childhood and the heady excitement that preceded Christmas Day:
Chocolate And Apricot Honey Waffles | Naïm
You’ve worked hard, you deserve something other than oats for breakfast and Naïm’s Belgian waffles are just the decadent hit you need to shake off the piety of clean eating. With a back-up ensemble of housemade honey ice cream, chocolate gel, apricot puree, lavender marshmallow, cacao nibs and a pistachio and waffle crumble, this stack is an ultimate reward.
Everything | Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers
Recalibrate your heartspace and make all that steamed chicken worth it with a plate of the freshest Italian gnocchi bobbing. The duck ragu, Bolognese and Genovese pesto are all just vying for second fiddle to these fluffy little tater pillows courtesy of Australia’s first ever dedicated gnoccheria; and yeah, you could hit up a punishing gym session the next day and write it off as a tactical carb-load, which just frees you up for another indulgent feast at Gnocchi Gnocchi.
Poutine Burger | Miss Kay’s
HOW’S THIS FOR A MASH-UP THOUGH. Rather than keep your main and sides on two completely different plates, Miss Kay’s has spliced them together to save you time darting between them (isn’t that thoughtful?). This Canadian-inspired carbfest features the typical the beef patty, pickle and lettuce of an ordinary burger squashed in a bun with fries, halloumi, gravy and bacon bits. Best chased with a milkshake and a long nap.
Loaded Fries | Fritzenberger
Just in case you could maybe justify the frites because potato is a vegetable, Fritzenberger lays waste to any faint hopes of health with drizzles of cheese sauce, candied bacon bits, the housemade Fritzensauce and finished off with a dusting of Twisties salt. And you’ll have to get a cheeseburger and a craft brew to go with it, natch.
Hungry Horn | Big Roddy’s Rippin’ Rib Shack
If you’re the kind of person scheduling your life around cheat meals then you probably love a challenge. Ergo, the Hungry Horn at Big Roddy’s is the ultimate cheat feast for the gains-oriented superhuman. Faced with a veritable SPREAD from Big Roddy’s menu (which includes everything from ribs, wings and burgers to poutine, coleslaw and jalapeno poppers stuffed with macaroni and cheese) clearing the table gets your face on the wall of fame and a lifetime discount of 10% - well worth saving yourself for.
Red Velvet Cake | Chester Street Bakery
I mean, a slice of cake for a cheat meal is simply a given (right?) but if you really want to treat yourself to a humdinger of a calorie-clad treat, the red velvet cake at Chester Street Bakery is your go-to. Smothered in a white-as-snow cream cheese frosting and crunchy white chocolate balls, and with dense, delicious sponge, this sinful cake is near unlawful.
Doughnutfukwitdis Burger | Ze Pickle
This is actually a perfect scheme to thwart the cheat meal system that allocates indulgences by the meal. Ze Pickle loves circumventing the rulebook and carving up expectations so instead of making you choose just one thing to gorge on they’ve shoved the innards of a dinner in the shell of a dessert to create the Doughnutfukwitdis Burger, an immoral stack of Wagyu beef, Nutella smoked bacon, and Jack cheese betwixt a Doughnut Time original glazed doughnut. Definitely not to be trifled with.
Fritzenberger | Image credit: Yaseera Moosa