Castle Hill’s YOUENI has returned to its roots, opening up a store in Surry Hills – the location of its original cafe. Before moving to the Hills district, the wholefoods advocate had a grocer in Darlinghurst and a cafe on Hill Street.

The new store reflects the same principles as the Castle Hill project: accessible and affordable healthy food, championing the importance of healthy eating – not merely as a “sometimes thing” but as a lifestyle.

And while it seems Sydney is in the midst of a buckwheat-topped vegan revolution, with health-food cafes sprouting up on every corner, YOUENI stays fresh with a trial-and-error attitude.

“Our approach is to be real with food. One of the key things I’m very adamant about is eating healthy shouldn’t be a privilege; it’s a right. We believe ourselves to be guinea pigs. We are always searching; we’re experimental,” says founder Chris Starke.

Taking the “exclusivity” out of eating well, Starke and his right-hand man and operations manager Nolan Moon have designed a menu that is welcoming to all palates and health concerns. Everything in the store will be gluten-free and all products – bar the milk and bread – will be made in-house.

From the raw, vegan cheesecakes, the healthy homemade muesli, and avo on toast, to the popular Life-Extending Bowl – a salad with pumpkin, turmeric chick peas, broccoli, roasted garlic and citrus cashew relish – YOUENI offers dishes high in protein, iron and calcium.

Moon, an Alaskan native, will handle the beverage side of things, which will reflect his love of Australia’s cutting-edge coffee scene. YOUENI will only serve Fairtrade coffee, and brands will be alternated weekly depending on the bean’s popularity. “We’ll offer a full-bodied house coffee from the guys at Pablo & Rusty’s as well as blends from Marvell Street Coffee from Byron Bay, Sample from Sydney and Small Batch from Melbourne,” Moon says.

All produce is ethically sourced and produced in Australia and all grains and seeds are organic.

“We want our customers to come on a journey of wholefoods with us. The story’s about everyone, that’s why we called ourselves YOUENI,” says Starke.

YOUENI Surry Hills
352 Bourke Street, Surry Hills

Mon–Sat 7am–5pm