Little ripper

LIKE many other dads, I over did it with the unhealthy food and craft beer on Father’s Day.

I also had to wear a cap made by my young son, featuring his drawing of me that looked like Bela Lugosi with a hangover.

On Monday I was in dire need of some vitamins and greens, so I headed to The Little Bird Cafe in Northbridge for a Workout Bowl ($18.50). Thankfully it wasn’t dumbbells made out of tofu, but a healthy cacophony of steamed greens with marinated chicken.

Situated on the corner of Lake and Newcastle Streets, Little Bird is one of those cafes I’ve always passed driving in and out of the CBD, but never stopped to visit, because it’s on a busy thoroughfare.

On Monday, I easily found a parking spot opposite City Toyota and moseyed on up for lunch.

It was a roasting hot spring day and Little Bird was a pleasant oasis with the high ceilings in the old building making it feel cool and shady.

As well as a large dining area, there was bench seating beside the towering windows, which fully opened and allowed a pleasant breeze to waft in.

It was great for people-watching and having a meal on your lonesome.

The workout bowl tasted as good as it looked. The core of the dish, the marinated chicken, was perfectly seared with succulent flesh inside. A delicious burst of protein.

I’ve never tasted anything like the coconut and ginger sweet potato puree; an intriguing mix of sweet and spice that really demanded your attention.

In fact everything was well thought-out and inventive in this dish, including the turmeric cauliflower rice and moreish cashew aioli.

Nothing was rote or cliched. The steamed pea pods added a nice texture, but the real ingenious touch was the kale crisps.

Sprinkled over the top, they created a crunchy explosion in your mouth as you foraged around the plate.

The ‘workout bowl’ was available in gluten free, dairy free, and paleo vegan (whatever that is – maybe a slice of cardboard with cayenne pepper on it).

Despite it being busy at lunchtime, the service was super quick and the staff didn’t seemed stressed; enjoying chats with regulars who rocked up for coffee and food.

It made for a relaxing atmosphere, as in some places you can vicariously feel the tension as harried workers dash around the place. 

Little Bird is a lovely cafe and I can see the green shots of recovery in the surrounding area, following the opening of the revamped Boola Bardip Museum.

But you still have that inner-city edge, with a woman passing-by leaning inside the bay window and ripping a serviette from the dispenser beside my plate. Ah well, we’re getting there.

I washed down my lovely lunch with a Dr Juice ($8)– a delicious medley of beetroot, apple and assorted fruit. By the end of it, I felt like Keith Richards after a blood transfusion.

Little Bird is well-priced and has a diverse range of brunch dishes, burgers, waffles, salads and cakes.

Well worth seeking out for a meal if you’re visiting the museum or at that end of the city.

By STEPHEN POLLOCK

Little Bird Cafe
100 Lake Street, Northbridge
facebook.com/littlebirdonlake
9328 1670 

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