Category: Eatery reviews


Glebe Cafe Makes Black Burgers That Might Just Be The Perfect Hangover Cure

A new cafe at Glebe claims to have created the perfect hangover cure, with its meal of charcoal infused burger and pancakes, washed down with a charcoal and lychee tonic, all as black as the ace of spades.

Activated charcoal has long been a staple in hospitals, where it is used to prevent poisons and lethal overdoses of drugs from being absorbed by the body. It’s a potent detoxifier, which could do everything from preventing hangovers to mitigating the side effects of food poisoning. Real Grounded Cafe’s head chef Elaine Ramiro worked for three months to perfect her blackened recipes for detoxifying pancakes de noir, vegan chickpea burger with Charcoal Brioche and ‘Char-Chee Tonic’, all sharing the dark hue of the activated charcoal ingredient.

While technically made of the same material as the charcoal briquettes that create a bed of glowing orange coals in a backyard barbecue, activated charcoal is a decidedly different thing to barbeque fuel. Food-grade activated charcoal is most frequently produced by heating coconut shells to extremely high temperatures until they are carbonised, or completely burned up. The resulting ash is then processed with steam or hot air at equally high temperatures to produce a “microporous structure.” Activated Charcoal is a highly porous substance that cleanses and detoxifies by attracting and absorbing chemicals.
Real Grounded Cafe is also a 100% vegan cafe, the culmination of a health-journey of founder Ursula Zajaczkowski, who went vegan after a scary trip to hospital due to increasing sensitivities to animal products  “My sudden and severe allergies were anaphylactic and resulted in an emergency visit to RPA. I was pumped up with drugs to combat the reactions but that didn’t make things any better; So I reviewed everything that I consumed in order to to turn my life around. After slowly eliminating various ingredients and products, completely going vegan stopped my allergies from occurring”, Ursula explains.

Ursula hopes that Real Grounded cafe will impress both vegan and non-vegan eaters: “I want everyone to be completely satisfied after a meal at our cafe and for everyone to discover that vegan food is not just about eating salad or having a plain, bland meal. All the usual food and drinks favourites that you’d find in most cafes can be found at Real Grounded, using creative and inventive plant-based substitutions that taste amazing”. – Says Real Grounded founder.

“The coffee beans we use are roasted to work perfectly with plant-based milks, enabling the perfect cup of coffee, without the saturated fat of dairy milk. We make all our food in-house and from scratch, including our sauces. Our Cafe is very family and wheel-chair friendly,as we have no steps at all for customers, and wide access”.

Real Grounded is located at 73 Glebe Point Road and is open seven days a week. They will launch their charcoal infused dishes this friday 27th Oct as part of their Halloween event series. Check out their fb page for the yummy details


Hearty Food That’s Full Of Soul!

Heart & Soul Cafe Review
By Kym Staton
Tue 6th Dec, 2016

According to the ancient philosophy of ayurveda, if we eat the right foods in a favourable environment, it can nourish our mind, body and emotions, not just our body. We metabolise with all of our five senses and everything we hear, touch, see, taste and smell becomes part of us. Food becomes nectar, and every meal becomes healing and nurturing.

The team at Heart & Soul Cafe Cronulla have infused so much soul and heart into their offerings, that even a short visit there becomes an invigorating and inspiriting experience.

As I entered the warm ambience the deliciously lively cardamom and cinnamon chai fragrances enveloped me and the smiles of the friendly staff and upbeat acoustic vibes made me feel instantly relaxed and welcome. The natural polished timber chairs and tables (locally sourced) create a very earthly feel and many options – including a large communal table, but the generously padded bench seats with extra cushions were an irresistible and inviting choice.


Now for the best bit – the food! Heart & Soul do a fantastic and eclectic array of options from burgers to curries to salads for breakfast and lunch to suit every taste. A good portion of the menu are house made including the chai tea blend, the hand cut chips, muesli mix, banana bread, muffins, caramel slice and the flour-less super seed bread.


Heart & Soul were a finalist in the 2016 Savour Awards for Excellence in the specialty restaurant category, and its no surprise that they did so well with so many unique and creative items on the menu such as their kofta balls, tamali pie, cacao and peppermint smoothie, and matcha lattes. Just reading it had me salivating in anticipation, and I could have happily grabbed a fork and tried a bit of everything if given the chance. The majority of the menu is also vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar free, so they are really making an effort to accommodate those with food sensitivities and move with the times and the clean-eating conscious food movement.


After a fair bit of umming and yumming I chose the quinoa burger because it sounded hearty and although I’ve tried quinoa many ways I’ve never had it in a burger, so was curious to try it. My meal arrived in swift time, piping hot, topped with fresh alfalfa and with a cute basket of hand-cut house made fries on the side. The burger pattie was succulent and full of flavour. It had a delightfully satisfying even ‘meaty’ texture and a nutty slightly sweet taste and also a red colour which I guessed would be fresh beetroot added to the mix. These flavours harmonised well with the avocado sauce, greens and alfalfa. The hand-cut house made chips were a delight, a golden pile of gloriously crispy slices of heaven in a basket that tasted so good they could have been made by Radha, the lover of Krishna.

Although I don’t always eat dessert with lunch, with so many crazily delicious creations seemingly calling out to me from the glass cabinet I had to partake. I’ve been hankering to get onto the cocowhip train since spotting it on various facebook groups and instagram pages, so thought it was high time I gave it a whirl. Heart and Soul offer cocowhip in chocolate and vanilla and in various match ups with their other desserts like their caramel slice or muesli, so I opted for the vanilla with brownie. Cocowhip is unique among coconut based ice creams as it contains organic bio-fermented coconut powder for gut and intestinal health. Its also vegan, soy, refined sugar and dairy free so it has considerable nutritional value. One could expect it to taste strange but I was blown away with the sweetness and even after eating the whole large serving with brownie I didn’t have anything but a happy belly and a big smile on my face!


I was lucky enough to get to chat with the head chef Jose Paucar, whose passion for food is very evident. He glowed as he talked about his unique creations, and the large array of house-made dishes and items. “I love cooking because I love to see the smiles on people’s faces as they enjoy my food’, revealed Jose. Jose has been worked as a chef for fifteen years and has been vegan for the last ten.

I think a big part of the reason that this cafe produces such soulful and spirited food with a friendly atmosphere is that its owned and run by Govinda Valley Retreat – a non-profit organisation in Otford, one-and-a-half hours south from Sydney CBD where they do various yoga courses, and have volunteer ‘Wwoofers’ involved, which gives the cafe and retreat a community feel that permeates what they do. The Cafe and retreat managers are also involved with many aid initiatives such as Caring for Life charity who do great work for animal protection, environmental awareness and distribution of vegan and vegetarian food.

When I first went vegetarian twenty years ago I was was actually living in Cronulla at the time and the only veg options in the area were fruit juices, salad sandwiches (hold the meat and cheese) and maybe a dry, bland lentil burger if you were lucky. Times have certainly changed and Heart & Soul is ushering the food revolution in the south, with their healthy, mostly organic wholefood vegetarian and vegan food with a conscience. As someone who has lived strictly vegan for the last four years, and more recently gluten free and refined sugar I’m really excited to know of places like Heart & Soul where I have two many options.

With food like this, its no wonder that locals are taking advantage of it and exploring delicious new options that support and enhance their health and vitality. Heart and Soul is well worth a drive from other parts of Sydney and compliments a day trip to this gorgeous seaside town where you can explore all kinds of water sports, surf, swim, walk, shop or relax with a yoga class at their nearby Heart & Soul yoga school and be guaranteed of a healthy, divine, flavoursome, super healthy and satisfying meal at this wonderful cafe that will warm your soul and lift your heart.

Heart & Soul Cafe is located at 6/17 Gerrale St. Cronulla, three minutes walk from the train station and south cronulla beach. They are open seven days, 7am-5pm. Find out more about them on their facebook page and website


The Plant Gallery Bondi – Sydney Vegan Club Review

by Kym Staton, 20th Jan. 2016

The number of 100% vegan restaurants in Sydney has grown in the last twelve months, with at least three new vegan eateries opening their doors, as well as two restaurants making the historic and un-presedented move of replacing their animal-laden menu with a vegan one!

The newest welcome addition to the Sydney vegan dining scene is of the ultra healthy raw vegan variety, with the much anticipated launch of the intriguingly titled ‘The Plant Gallery’ at Sydney’s beachside health-haven Bondi.


Three years ago The Plant Gallery co-owner David Ortega bought a one-way ticket to Bolivia on the search for new horizons and experiencing a different culture. Little did he know that this would bring about a dramatic new lifestyle direction, as it was here that he met raw-foodist and renowned chef Juan Carlos Miranda Ormena who introduce him to the enormous health benefits of a raw-food vegan diet as well as many of the amazing flavours of Peru. The pair formed a terrific friendship and came up with the goal of opening up a raw-food restaurant back in Australia.

David and Juan Carlos were toying with the idea of calling their restaurant ‘The Plant Gallery’ – as homage to the plant-powered menu – when by chance a venue previously used as an art gallery became vacant. It seemed like a match made in heaven to make use of the existing lighting and picture hanging systems and feature artworks on the walls of their restaurant.

Having the pleasure of a first visit to The Plant Gallery I was impressed that in addition to the food/art synergy, the restaurant includes a number of other innovations.

Walking in you instantly notice the back wall is adorned with indoor plants which create a lovely organic natural backdrop. A tour of the large garden (out back) revealed the already active compost bins – big points for reduced food waste! Great to also hear plans for installing a garden and growing some of their own produce!

The furniture is all made of up-cyled timber which lends warmth and ambience. The centre of the restaurant has a huge communal table which encourages interaction from guests.

Admiring all of these innovations, I almost forgot about the food, but was gobsmacked to see the delights on offer with their sophisticated, artistic dishes described on the menu. Then i noticed another innovation with their convenient ‘TPG experience’, in the bottom right hand corner, where newcomers or those who like a surprise can have the ‘chef’s choice of one entree, one main and one salad’ for two people – such a great idea!

Much of the menu is peruvian inspired – where David and Juan Carlos have taken traditional dishes of Peru and ‘veganised’ as well as raw-ified them to great success!

I started my first The Plant Gallery experience with the mushroom ceviche – which was a fresh and zesty salad of marinated mushrooms, onion and corn in a refreshing lime dressing. The flavours and textures were very enjoyable.


For main course I had the spaghetti humancaina – a rich and very flavoursome journey of zucchini spaghetti in a rich cashew and yellow chilli sauce. The huge cashew parmesan chunks were very tasty.


I finished with a very decadent and gorgeously presented dessert of deconstructed inca berry cheesecake with cashew cheese and orange nut crumble which looked like three sailboats floating on the pacific, and had dreamy flavours to match!

The Plant Gallery’s aim is to put to bed the myth ‘that healthy food can’t taste good’. I can see that the team at this exciting new restaurant have both the passion and skill to do just that with their brilliant new venue and the terrific collaboration of dynamic duo David and Juan Carlos!

Sydney Vegan Club wish you the best of luck with your new endeavour and look forward to having a big tasting-party event at you venue very soon so that we can enjoy the flavours and ambience and culinary joys of you creations as a group.

SVC Vegan packman foodie rating: