PALEO: The word was like a dagger through the heart.
I’m positively Jurassic in my love for all things creamy and glutenous, so my wife’s thyroid-induced paleo diet makes our kitchen tension sizzle like a croque monsieur on the hob.
After a relentless barrage of faux doughs and pallid pastries, food reviews have become my escape, which made a forced change of venue to a cafe specialising in paleo feel like getting the Christmas stocking full of coal.
Most paleoncologists seem to be trying to recreate a “normal” menu with substitutes, but that requires a willing suspension of disbelief I’m unable to muster.
I keep wondering why they just don’t rework the style to elevate the great ingredients which are actually at the heart of a good paleo diet.
Well, fortunately at Health Freak Cafe in Mt Lawley they’ve done just that – at least with my burger.
It’s advertised as a sweet potato beef burger ($15) and I was expecting the tuber to be mashed onto a pattie and plopped between yet another unsatisfactory attempt at a bun.
But Health Freak did away with the bread completely, making a couple of slices of the sweet potato the bun instead; and the result rocked. Was it actually better than a soft/floury roll? Mmmm, as I type that in I’m thinking probably not, but geez, it gave it a good nudge.
The beef pattie was also beautifully done, juicy and full of flavour. A balsamic drizzle topped the lot off and I started to think that maybe I could learn to like paleo.
Cookies and cream
Certainly the cookies and cream super food smoothie ($10) was something to love. It’s kind of the good things of paleo, like bananas and raw cacao and coconuts (lord, do paleo nuts go through the coconut), all blended up together. It tastes and feels rich, but you know it’s doing you good at the same time.
A freshly squeezed orange juice ($6) to finish off was the standard sort, but having been a paleo lunch it seemed to go down a little easier than usual.
My pal went with the ultimate vegan burger ($15.50) and said it was fresh.
“Every element from the spicy mayonnaise to the beetroot and sweet potato elements was full of flavour,” she said.
“My brain had that ‘thank you for the nutrients’ glow all afternoon.
“I’d forgotten how much I love that feeling and may have to eat there regularly just to see if I can match the quality at home.
“The coffee was amazing also.
“It just goes to show that people with passion for quality can do great things. I hope that they are there for a long time.
by STEVE GRANT
Health Freak Cafe
609 Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley
7am – 3pm
Wednesday to Sunday
7am – 9pm