Tucked away in a quiet pocket of Burnley is an old milk bar showing the first signs of its transformation into Serotonin Kitchen. Most cafes aim to make you happy, but this is the first of its kind to back it up with research in the fields of science, psychology, design and nutrition.

“Serotonin is a chemical created by the human body that affects your mood, social behaviour, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory, sexual desire and function,” says Emily Arundel, founder of Serotonin Kitchen. “I wanted to create an inviting space that educates people of these benefits.” Every Friday night Serotonin Kitchen will host documentary viewings with industry experts to further explore the science of the “happy hormone”.

Serotonin Kitchen features a plant-based menu with complex carbohydrates, a smoothie bar and even a swing set for some child’s play while you eat. “It’s a place for people I like to call ‘earthlings’, who care about nature and eating what’s alive, to feel alive,” says Arundel.

The cafe experience combines sun, exercise and good wholesome food. Arundel says these are among the top serotonin-releasing triggers. The Golden Square Bicentennial Park can really be viewed as an extension of the courtyard space, as many of the cafe’s features will take place there. Outdoor yoga, personal training and even activities with you and your dog will run in the mornings and a “sports box” aims to encourage you to have a kick of the footy while your smoothie blends. When the tables are full, you can take your meal to the park in a picnic hamper and enjoy a different experience altogether. “It’s too common to queue for a table in Melbourne and I didn’t want to have this problem at Serotonin Kitchen.”

Arundel has been completely involved in all facets of the project and believes in setting a good example for others to follow. With a background in interior architecture, she has considered the lighting, textures, feel, sound and temperature in her design of the cafe. “I feel like I’m constantly switching between my gym clothes, business suit and building gear”, says Arundel, who now spends more time in her tradie boots getting Serotonin Kitchen built and ready by early 2015.

Serotonin Kitchen
52 Madden Grove, Burnley

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