Affirmations litter the blackboard walls, knick-knacks line the fireplace mantelpiece and an old pink chintz is tucked into a table by the front window. Dwarfed by The Norfolk Hotel next door, Nourishing Quarter looks like a second-hand store from the street. Inside, it’s a haven for healthy eaters.
The gluten, dairy and refined sugar intolerant (and plenty of non-allergic diners) come for a menu that starts with Vietnamese-style tapas, wanders over to South American super grains and Indian curries for mains and finishes with a few pho noodle soups. It's so popular that there are dual two-hour sittings each night.
A popular starter is the Three Sisters, a mixed plate of rice paper rolls packed with quinoa, pickled carrot, noodles and chia seeds. The Sweet Angel Wraps, made with sweet kumara noodles and marinated tofu, are another favourite.
The savoury Sacred Khot Vietnamese tarts have a satisfyingly spongy amaranth rice and flour base while a vegetarian take on san choi bow is surprisingly substantial. The quinoa noodle salad’s generous side of textured tofu has the consistency of flaky pastry – crisp and crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside.
At about $20 a head, prices are more than reasonable. With change to spare you can pop next door to the Norfolk for cocktails, undoing (or balancing out?) the effects of the Nourishing Quarter's wholesome fare.