Shannon Rosie Barge is busy. Her first book Conscious Cocktails is currently at the printers and clients are lining up to see the young entrepreneur and medical nutritionist. When we speak to her she’s right in the middle of vacuuming the house. “This is the least exciting part of my day, but someone has to do it,” she says. Barge recently launched her first little restaurant in Coogee – Rosie’s.
Every dish and drink has been tweaked and rethought to earn the wellness guru’s seal of approval. “I really wanted to bridge that gap between a fun and exciting restaurant and a hashtag-healthy hashtag-vegan cafe,” she says.
Soft wooden furnishings, a generous allotment of indoor plants and an impressive millennial-pink terrazzo bar fill the room. It’s a scene tailored for Instagram.
Guided by the culinary expertise of Shireen Reilly (ex-Bills chef), refined sugars and processed ingredients are largely absent from the menu. Instead you’ll find holistic recipes designed with “nerdy scientific” intentions. A cheese plate, for example, comes with liquorice and pear to aid with alcohol absorption and to prevent dehydration.
“There’s so many young people who are super health conscious Monday to Friday and that all goes out the window with a weekend blowout of cocktails and dinners,” says Barge.
Barge grew up in Singapore and says that influenced the menu, but flavours are smuggled from Italy, the Middle East and Greece, too. “Small bites” include prosciutto-wrapped haloumi, and goat’s cheese with quinoa crackers. For mains try the lamb fillet with green-pea tzatziki, the whole market fish or the miso-baked salmon. A whole section of the menu is dedicated to veggies with items such as maple-glazed roast pumpkin with Persian fetta, and baked cauliflower with artichoke.
Wine is courtesy of Riot Wine Co and is free of residual sugars and preservatives. Barge’s “conscious cocktails” come in misty hues of mitochondrial green and are free of sugar syrups and sweetened liqueurs. For cocktails, kombucha and sugar-free spiced rum combine with freshly squeezed apple and ginger juices, while dry gin meets a green juice halfway to create the Green-Tini.
Desserts also benefit from Barge’s health treatment. There’s a refined-sugar-free vanilla coconut yoghurt with berries and pistachio and something called the “good gut” brownie. “Using sugar is such a boring cop-out,” she says. “We decided to use different flavours and elements to make our food tasty. When you have that health twist it’s so important that the food is flavourful.”