Though we are partial to an order of fries and a burger followed by a cold beer, we're also balancing things with visits to this cluster of health-conscious cafes and restaurants from Bondi Junction to Alexandria.
Though some go the whole way with strict veganism, or serve up dishes using only raw ingredients, some are just about putting forward food that is as close to its original form as possible, while pairing it with a yoga class, naturally.
Earth To Table
It wasn’t until 2012 that Earth To Table owner Julie Mitsios felt her local community was ready for a raw-food cafe. “There is a lot more interest now in raw food than previously,” she says, explaining that the approach avoids heating ingredients to above 44 degrees Celsius. “It’s about preserving the natural enzymes and vitality in food. We serve food that comes from the earth, with minimal processing.” That means the coffee on offer is cold-drip, and fermenting and dehydrating form an important part of preparing ingredients. Nut-based milks are made in-house, and everything is gluten, dairy and sugar free. Mitsios strives to enhance the natural flavours of quality produce by experimenting with textures, but is sure to keep dishes familiar – such as dehydrated pizza bases made with almond meal, or granola made with sprouted buckwheat and quinoa with pepitas, sunflower seeds, sultanas and shredded coconut.
This cosy vegetarian diner aims to enhance well-known Vietnamese-style dishes with nutrient-rich ingredients, and peppers the menu with health advice along with meal descriptions. Start with rice-paper rolls filled with quinoa, chia seeds, roasted tofu and sprouts and Perilla mint – ‘rich in anti-inflammatory virtues’ – then move on to its take on pho made with ‘anti-bacterial’ Vietnamese basil, buckwheat and kumara noodles and strips of tofu.
“We see it as a response to a global climate issue that is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore,” says Little Indi Co-Owner Rebecca Chippington of the growing interest in meat-free eating. Not only are all takeaway meals from the cafe vegetarian, but the ingredients are also sourced from growers and producers as close to Sydney as possible and who follow sustainable practices. While Chippington says people may not understand the meaning of popular terms such as ‘organic’ or ‘green’, the wholefoods trend presents an opportunity for better education. “It’s made us more aware of how important our role is [as hospitality professionals. With a growing community of people who are seriously dedicated to quality and sustainability, we feel this is a great time for us all,” she says. Buzz words aside, Little Indi’s breakfast and lunch dishes are delicious, including the beetroot, asparagus and walnut gazpacho.
Organic, seasonal produce drives the menu at this raw-food cafe, where everything is made in-house. Starting out in Newtown, the cafe then moved to a pop-up space in Enmore that’s now permanent, with offerings including raw, seven-course degustation dinners and a lunch delivery service. It has just launched a daily, raw, vegan high tea – try out wholesome treats such as grain-free scones topped with strawberry jam with chia seeds and ‘cream’ made from cashews, and cucumber ‘sandwiches’ made with dehydrated flatbread.
Egg of The Universe
The definition of wholesome food shouldn’t be confined to a particular diet, according to the director of BodyMindLife yoga studio in Rozelle where Egg of The Universe is housed. “For some, a raw vegan diet may be great, but for others it’s not. That’s why we offer raw and vegan through to vegetarian and meat dishes,” says Harry Lancaster. This range is focused on using quality ingredients in dishes that complement the particular needs of guests on any given day – from a shot of aloe vera juice and chlorophyll, to cold-smoked ocean trout with sprouted buckwheat, poached eggs and wild herbs. It also means visitors can experiment with the foods that suit them best. “We now live in a very health-conscious culture, but people are still lost as to what the best pathways to health and healthy eating are,” Lancaster says, adding that a cooking school will soon be opened alongside the cafe to extend people’s knowledge about nutrition and wholefoods. “There is definitely a demand to learn more about what we are doing here.”