Essendon’s newest cafe is reminiscent of an old-fashioned lolly store, with a black-and-white striped awning and an unashamedly pink interior. You won’t find raspberry drops and chocolate freckles here though. Instead it’s granola, bananas and raw dark chocolate.
Bowls Baby is by Domenic and Diana Caruso, also behind St Rose, No. 19 and Pinkie. “We always wanted the space to have that [positive] energy but we didn’t want it to be too gimmicky either,” says Diana.
Inside, a wooden halo draped in greenery hangs from the roof. Beneath it sits a crescent-shaped baby pink bench, terrazzo flooring and pared-back exposed brick walls brought to life with neon pink “bowls bowls baby” signage, a nod to Vanilla Ice’s 1989 hit.
Seating is intentionally limited: Diana says Bowls Baby was born from a lack of healthy takeaway options in the area. The pair is determined to deliver nourishing, quick and flavoursome food to the community they already know well (St Rose is just five doors down the street). “We want to get the morning rush, but also … the schoolkids after school,” she says.
There are 10 bowls, each made to order and loaded with tasty, nutritious ingredients. The Original is acai, blueberries, banana, dates and peanut butter topped with granola, fresh strawberries and coconut. The Hoke Poke comes with purple cabbage, cured salmon, edamame, carrots, avocado, alfalfa, spinach and pickled ginger on brown rice.
You can create your own bowl from ingredients such as grass-fed beef, roasted eggplant, fresh vegetables and feta. There are also superfood smoothies – the Golden is made with banana, roasted walnuts, vanilla bean, maple and raw chocolate.