Concrete Jungle hopes to become the refuelling station for “inner-city animals”. Opened just over two weeks ago, the cafe is taking the health-food ethos of Bondi to Kensington Street, Chippendale. Owner Moe Mrad says it was the last piece of the street’s puzzle.
The kitchen, headed by ex-Harry’s Bondi chef Bryan O'Callaghan, cures, dries and smokes its salmon in-house and makes tofu out of almond milk. There is a dairy-free Bircher muesli with figs, pomegranate and grapes, and a dragon fruit chia pudding. But it’s the Nourish Bowl with beetroot hummus, quinoa, roasted sweet potato and tahini dressing that has customers coming back.
“I think there’s a huge awakening; the wholefood industry is now worth millions,” says O’Callaghan, who’s previously worked in the kitchens of Otto, The Tilbury and La Scala. “People no longer wanting dairy in coffee, chefs are cooking breakfast … you didn’t have that 10 years ago and that in itself has changed menus.”
Mrad gets his beans from Gabriel Coffee, specifically its Calibrate beans. Owner of the coffee brand Sam Gabriel serves it at his newly opened Calibrate Cafe in Roseville.
“Sam’s approach to coffee is incredible, he’s introducing a new wave, high-end coffee with two blends specifically developed for either white or black coffee. We couldn’t wait to put his stuff on our menu,” says Mrad.
The cafe also serves smoothies, Kombucha Zest and cold-pressed juices.