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Blog

This blog started as a way for me to share my recipes + culinary adventures, tips for vibrant health + happiness, thoughts on the latest developments in nutritional medicine + the low down on the Sydney wholefoods scene and beyond...

Filtering by Tag: restaurant review

Henley's Wholefoods - a new cafe in Bondi Junction

soullachamberlain

IMG_7592I am often asked  for recommendations on where to eat lunch in the Eastern suburbs. Surprisingly, eateries that offer 'clean' food are few and far between in this neck of the woods and I have until now struggled to provide a recommendation for a place that I would be eager to dine at without having to perform what I call 'menu gymnastics' (when eyes rolls when I begin to alter the ingredients of a meal on a menu). Enter Henley's Wholefoods. This cafe sneaked into the Eastern suburbs wholefoods scene with little fanfare and publicity in November 2013 but the feedback I had received from clients and friends has all been overwhelming positive. A couple of weeks ago I finally managed to get there and had the pleasure of interviewing co-owner Sophie Henley over a slow cooked lamb lunch.

IMG_7599 Soulla: What was the catalyst for opening Henley's? Sophie: I saw a need in the market for something truly wholesome with a cafe feel. In particular I wanted to cater to people who had food intolerances. I grew up on a farm in Northern NSW where home-cooked nourishing meals made from scratch were a daily staple and this is what I wanted to provide in my cafe.

Soulla: What is your food ethos/philosophy? Sophie: in a word "Wholefoods!" We specifically didn't want to use a label such as 'Paleo'. 

Soulla: Tell me about the provenance of your food (the meat, eggs, dairy and produce etc)? Sophie: We like to support local and small businesses as much as possible:

  • The meat is all grass fed and finished from "The Meat Store" a few doors down on Oxford Street.IMG_7541
  • The eggs are from Egganic [Soulla: this is where I get my eggs from too!]
  • The milk is from Riverina Fresh. We use a lot of coconut cream and coconut yogurt too.
  • The produce is all fresh from local farmers and almost all is certified organic.
  • The salmon is farmed. [Soulla: I have put Sophie in contact with David from Canadian Way with a view to Henley's offering wild salmon in the future].
  • We do not offer pork or bacon on the menu. I don't eat pork so it's not something that I have incorporated into the menu.

IMG_7602Soulla: What oils/fats do you cook with and use? Sophie: We only use coconut oil and olive oil. We don't use any industrialised oils.

Soulla: what sweeteners do you use? Sophie: agave syrup and maple syrup.

Soulla: I noticed that you recently decided to introduce grains into your menu. Tell me about the reasons behind that. Sophie: I think certain grains are good for you. We were getting feedback from customers which indicated we needed to offer greater diversity and we want to cater for a more diverse range of people. The grains we offer are all properly prepared such as soaked quinoa and rye sourdough. We are currently trialling a sprouted bread too. Our pizza bases are actually grain-free and made from egg whites and coconut flour. IMG_7594

Soulla: With Paleo cafe just upstairs how do you see 2 wholefoods cafes operating in such close proximity? Sophie: we are different to Paleo Cafe in that 1) we are organic; 2) we can be more creative and flexible with our menu because we are not a franchise; and 3) we have totally different feel.

Soulla: Is all of the food prepared onsite? Sophie: Yes everything is prepared here from scratch except the coconut yogurt. We have an open kitchen with provides transparency.

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Soulla: What meals are offered? Sophie: we currently offer breaksfast, lunch and snacks. Dinner is something we are looking into. We are open Monday to Saturday 6am - 4pm. Sundays 7:30am-4pm. [see photos of menu at bottom of post]

Soulla: How often does the menu change? Sophie: lunch changes every Wednesday, breakfast is more stable and changes less frequently.

Soulla: Do you consider Henley's Wholefoods kid friendly? Sophie: Yes. Kids love the sweet potatoes with aeoli. There are no deep-fried foods.  IMG_7604

Soulla: Plan for further stores? Sophie: Yes we hope to open in Oxford Street, Paddington, mid year.... and possibly Newtown after that. We are also currently servicing the cafe part of a supplement store called Performer Nutrition.

Soulla: What response have you had from the market since you opened in November? Sophie: We have been delighted with our growth since we opened especially since we have only promoted ourselves through social media and word of mouth!

Talking aside, I  thoroughly enjoyed my slow cooked cumin rubbed lamb, with tzatziki and mint with a colourful 'Rainbow Action' salad and a latte. The meal was a really decent size, beautifully presented and delicious! And not dissimilar to what I would make at home. IMG_7596

Henley's Wholefoods is tucked away down the stairs from Paleo Cafe on Oxford Street Bondi Junction next to Snap Fitness (with an entrance on Grafton Street too). It has an an impressive menu, a bunch of super friendly staff and a lovely cafe feel.

I think the incorporation of wild salmon and pastured pork / bacon products into the menu would be a welcome addition. I'm not a huge fan of agave syrup (too high in fructose) and prefer maple syrup or raw honey as my sweeteners of choice but I appreciate how much more expensive the latter are. These small issues aside, I would highly recommend Henley's as a place to enjoy a beautiful wholefoods meal reminiscent of home, or as a place to catch up with friends over a coffee and a treat.

Have you eaten at Henley's Wholefoods yet? If so, what did you think? I would love to hear your feedback.

You can Like Henley's Wholefoods on Facebook and/or follow on Instagram.IMG_7544IMG_7543

Paleo Cafe opens in Bondi Junction!

soullachamberlain

IMG_5532Last Wednesday saw the opening of the new Paleo Cafe  in Bondi Junction. Paleo Cafe is a franchise (Paleo Cafe  Cairns opened in October).  It would be unfair to review a new cafe or restarant within the first month of opening while any (inevitable) teething problems are sorted out, so I'm just letting you know in this post that it's there and open for business on Oxford Street (midway between Just Organics and the mall) and to share with you what's on offer.
Ok, so there's breakfast from 7:30-11am and lunch is 11:30-3pm.IMG_5533
The lunch menu features soups ($9), curries ($17), shepherd's pie ($17), various salads ($14), grass fed steak ($22), a chicken dish ($22), salmon ($22), slow roasted pork belly ($18), desserts ($9).  The caveman's big breakfast looks good for $20 and there's a separate kids menu. The drinks menu has some lovely sounding juices and bullet proof coffee (black coffee blended with MCT oil - which is an extract of coconut oil- and butter).
I ordered the Shepherds Pie which had sweet potato mash on top (served with green side salad) for $17 and a bullet proof coffee for $4.50. My friend ordered the chicken mango macadamia nut salad which looked awesome.

IMG_5534The menu is gluten-free, grain/legume-free, dairy-free, preservative-free and sugar-free.

Here are the pluses (bearing in mind I've only been once):
  • Pastured meats and eggs
  • The only oil used to cook with is coconut oil- no processed oils used
  • Staff were friendly, relaxed and happily took time out to chat and answer questions
  • The new Lady J cafe next door was empty whereas Paleo Cafe was full (a sign that this is filling a need in the community)
  • Lots of tables/space
  • Quick service
  • Paleo books and lifestyle products  for sale
  • Bullet proof coffee is offered (great for those who can not consume lactose)
  • Prices reasonable for eastern suburbs
  • All food is available for takeawayIMG_5535
So the big question for me is going to be the provenance of the meat and eggs which wasn't something that the owner was able to go into when I asked him.
Clean wholefood places are hard to come by in the eastern suburbs so if I was in the Junction and looking for somewhere to eat, or wanted to catch up with someone over a meal or coffee, I would happily go back (and intend to!). Stay tuned for further updates on this one down the track. In the meantime check them out, share what you think, and kudos to Greg Sawyer for making this happen and bringing more wholefood choices to our doorsteps!
For more information call Paleo Cafe on 02 9386 0163.
IMG_5536IMG_5537IMG_5542IMG_5539IMG_5541IMG_5543

Restaurant review: Red Lantern.... on Riley

soullachamberlain

crispy skin duck I love eating out at restaurants that serve a cuisine that I don't typically make at home. Case in point: Asian food. Enter: Red Lantern.

Red Lantern on Crown Street Surry Hills has been an institution in Sydney and now its younger sibling at 60 Riley St, Darlinghurst (opened June 2012) gives us yet another address to enjoy it's fresh and delicious Vietnamese cuisine.

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The meat from the menu looks like a Feather & Bone catalogue. Traditional wholefoodies who favour pastured meat will be familiar with the providences of Gundooee (organic wagyu), Mirrool Creek (lamb), Melanda Park (free range pork) and Burrawong (organic ducks and chickens). For seafood lovers there's fresh line and wild caught fish. The vegetables (some chemical free and some conventional) are from local growers or farmers markets.  The menu has 12 entrees and 12 mains (double that of Red Lantern on Crown Street).

The staff bent over backwards to point us in the direction of those few dishes that they could make without the use of industrialised (vegetable) oils: namely the fish, crispy skin duck (which was my pick of the bunch), rice paper rolls,  betel leaf and various other vegetable side dishes. If you avoid anything deep fried or pan fried they will generally accommodate not using vegetable oils (if this is a concern for you I  suggest making the staff aware of this at the time you make a reservation and don't expect to be able to eat anything off the menu).

On the 2 occasions I recently dined there the staff were friendly and the service was excellent. And oh, grab a cocktail at the slick Red Lily bar out the back, while waiting for your table.

Along with Longrain and  Jimmy Liks, here's another restaurant I can add to my list for an Asian meal fix.

Contact details: 02 9698 4355 or click here for website.

betel leaf