On the surface, Das Juice is a far cry from Lara Dignam, Michael Dhinse and Joshua Ng’s moody CBD bar, Papa Gede’s. The menu is just juice, smoothies and poké bowls, the space is open and bright, and Dignam and Dhinse’s two-year-old daughter flops on a padded bench in the huge window facing Regent Street. Life has clearly changed, but the trio’s dedication to delicious beverages hasn’t.

Das Juice is a juice bar with an ethical mission to save “ugly” produce from landfill. Ugly might mean oddly-shaped cucumbers, conjoined-twin peaches and spotty but perfectly sweet mangoes. It’s all the stuff deemed unfit for the uniform grocery produce displays, and normally it goes to landfill.

“You might not want to slice up a weird-looking piece of fruit for a platter, but it’s perfectly fine as a pickle or to go into a juice,” says Dignam. “We work with Imperfect Markets to source our products, and it’s all about sustainability and doing our part.”

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Dignam says it’s important though that the final product doesn’t get lost in good intentions. “In the end it doesn’t matter how many sustainability boxes you tick if what you’re serving to people doesn’t taste good or look good. The juice still has to be tasty.”

It is. There are green juices like Das Hulk, made with kale, spinach, cucumber, pear and lemon; substantial post-workout smoothies of banana, mango, hemp seed protein and almond milk. For customers who frequent Papa Gedes, the Get Schwifty will be familiar – at Das Juice they are doing the mocktail version of one of the bar’s most popular drinks. It’s got watermelon, lemon, rose water and apple, minus the vodka and rhubarb bitters.

The focus on sustainability goes beyond the produce used in the drinks too. “As we grow, we want to set goals like saving a tonne of fruit each month either by using fruit destined for landfill or composting our waste.”

The juice bar has a bottle-recycling program and the eat-in bowls are made from coconut husks salvaged from the coconut water industry. Normally destined for incineration, they make charming vessels for the poke, which consist of salmon, tuna or tofu on rice or on nachos, ceviche-style. They'll also be used for the breakfast menu in the new year. Expect creative bircher muesli, granola and acai bowls.

Das Juice is not far from Redfern station, with Huxtaburger and RaRa Ramen as neighbours. The focal point of the long room is a large anamorphic graphic Das Juice logo painted on the back wall. “If you stand in the centre of the room, it looks like a perfect circle,” she says. Stand anywhere else and you can see how the artist has stretched the letters to curve around the corner.
It’s at once carefully created and playful, a bit like the drinks. “We don’t want to be sanctimonious about what we’re doing; we’re from a bartending background and we’re about having fun. We’re trying to make it easy for people to be healthy and environmentally conscious, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

Das Juice
66D Regent Street, Redfern

Hours:
Mon to Sat 7am–4pm

dasjuice.com.au

This article first appeared on Broadsheet on December 20, 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.