“We have a keen interest in superfoods and wanted to open a cafe that wasn’t just for the sake of eating, but one that offered medicinal benefits too,” says Dani Walters, who owns new cafe Cornerstone of Northcote with her husband, Will Walters. Before this, the couple ran Mount Buller’s Snow Pony for seven years.
The menu from chef Ranja Abeyweera caters to a wide range of dietary requirements. Most dishes are vegan or vegetarian with the option to add a protein or “superfood” supplement. A separate pamphlet titled “Food Facts” provides nutritional information on each superfood cited in the menu.
“If you know which foods to put in your body at particular times, you can have a major impact in its functionality and help your body repair itself more efficiently,” Walters says.
For example, the broccoli sprouts in the lunchtime Kale Bowl contain sulphoraphane, which Walters claims is beneficial for the muscular and nervous system. “I’d recommend this dish on a Monday morning to boost memory and muscles for the busy week ahead,” she says.
Collagen (in powder form, derived from beef) can be added to the banana, tropical or mixed-berry smoothie bowls. Its supposed health benefits include greater skin elasticity and reduced signs of ageing.
Coffee comes from South Australia’s Kommon Grounds roaster, and the menu has a broad range of coffee alternatives, including chai, herbal teas and hot chilli-chocolate. More out-of-the-box options include beetroot and lavender lattes, and house-made “lemonaid” with charcoal powder, currently in vogue for its purported detoxing abilities.
If you want to send your liver in the opposite direction, there’s an interesting range of cocktails, including a hibiscus Martini and a blood orange and bourbon sour.
The fit-out features polished concrete flooring, light timber and lots of hanging greenery. Natural materials create a soft, light and fresh space with an off-white hexagonal feature wall that alludes to chemical bonds and ties in with the nutritionally minded menu.
Due to the small site, clever interior design choices had to be made. A large mirror, booth seating and a window that fully opens onto Clarke Street balance the feeling of cosiness with a sense of being in your own space.
“We wanted to create a playful and family-friendly environment that’s as much about the experience as the food itself,” Walters says.
The cafe seats 19 people inside and 16 outside, under umbrellas.
“The name, Cornerstone of Northcote, works well as we’re on a corner site, but also because the cornerstone to a healthy body is a healthy diet and that’s what we’re offering here,” Walters says.
Cornerstone of Northcote
8/57 Victoria Road, Northcote
(03) 9489 1471
Mon to Fri 7am–4pm
Sat & Sun 8am–4pm