Chocolate peanut-butter pancakes don’t sound like something that should be good for you. But at the Clean Treats Factory in Alexandria, they’re practically virtuous. Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan, they contain pea protein, which, the menu helpfully points out, may lower blood pressure and aid in muscle repair.

The cafe is owned by Charlie de Haas, fitness model and health coach turned "clean-eating" entrepreneur. De Haas started Clean Treats in her kitchen in 2014, making gluten-, dairy- and refined sugar-free balls, and turning over about $200 a week. In 2017, the company experienced 1000 per cent growth.

Clean Treats Factory can be found in a large converted warehouse in the backstreets of Alexandria. The space is beautiful and looks more like the interior of an antiques store or bridal boutique than a cafe. White walls, mismatched tables, huge mirrors and squishy lounges are spread across the room, inhabited by a remarkably healthy-looking crowd.

De Haas calls the venue a “culinary day spa”: it’s designed to be a relaxing home away from home.

The menu is short and entirely plant-based. There are three brightly coloured superfood bowls – Power, Wellness and Nourish – filled with things such as quinoa, kale, zucchini noodles, radish, beetroot and avocado. The sweet potato fries are soft and flavoursome, served with a coconut herb dip that tastes convincingly like sour cream.

The counter is made up of a large glass case full of equally delicate and pretty sweet treats, including de Hass’s signature bliss balls, slices, peanut-butter cups and chocolatey bites.

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Updated: April 22nd, 2018

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