Ian McTavish’s most memorable travel experience was joining factory workers in a poverty-stricken area of Prague for their morning bowl of goulash. Drawing inspiration from traditional, big-flavoured dishes, McTavish is bringing simple, nutritious food to Westfield Whitford City via his cafe and takeaway, Ladle + Press.
McTavish is joined in the venture by Myles Kahl – who he met in the mining industry – and Brett Nixon, McTavish’s former boss at the Dunsborough Hotel. Initially involved as a consultant, Nixon became the group’s key business after tasting one of the early prototypes for the Ladle + Press loaf.
“Juicing is very healthy but it extracts most of the fibre, and I wanted to do something with the pulp to provide sustenance,” says McTavish. “I stumbled across a bread recipe where the core component was fruit pulp, and the L+P loaf was born. We’re making protein balls from carrot pulp, and our chocolate mud cake slice is 70 per cent beetroot, orange and ginger.”
Ladle + Press’s core offering of soups and cold-pressed juices is joined by breakfast bowls and “one-pot wonders”: casseroles, curries and other savoury dishes McTavish fed malnourished backpackers when working as a tour guide. Chef Megan Huynh, formerly of the Dutch Trading Company and a coconut-yoghurt producer, has been given a license to experiment in the kitchen.
Coffee is on the menu, just not in latte form. Single-origin Panamanian beans from Malaga-based roaster Fiebre come in either hot-drip or cold-pressed form. Kombucha is brewed on-site.
“Cold-drip is too slow,” says McTavish. “With cold-press we can make 30 litres at a time. We coarse-grind the coffee, add cold filtered water and let it steep for 24 hours. It’s very smooth. Because we’re not heating the beans and stirring the oils up, you don’t get the bitterness on the back of the palate.”
The Ladle + Press fridge stocks almond milk from The Pure Press and A2 Guernsey milk from Serpentine’s Grumpy Farmer. Around two-thirds of the menu is vegetarian. Development is underway to make the entire menu gluten free. Honey and coconut sugar are currently used as sweeteners.
Ladle + Press
Shop 232 (opposite Woolworths), Westfield Whitford City, Hillarys
0422 136 460
Mon to Fri 7.30am–7pm