A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR:
When we love something we really, truly LOVE something! And that’s exactly how we feel about our new relationship! Some things just go together. Like cookies and cream, Brandon and Brenda… The Urban List and MINI!
Our two families have collaborated to bring discerning readers and drivers a new fortnightly series – MINI Fave 5s. The must-try guide to Melbourne, celebrating the launch of the new MINI 5-door hatch!
So, Urban Listers, clear the diary and get excited for our Fave 5s. There’s a whole year of eating, drinking and discovering to be done…
SO WHO'S ON OUR HIT LIST OF HEALTHY MELBOURNE CAFES?
Unless you’ve been off the grid (way off) for the last couple of years, you’ll be aware that diets are the topic de jour. From Paleo to gluten-free, Nordic to 5:2, raw to organic, it’s fair to say that eating just ain’t as simple as it used to be.
Happily, the healthy Melbourne cafe scene is booming, with a new clean-eating option sprouting up every couple of weeks, so it’s getting easier to eat well if you’re
lazy busy like us. Relax, Listers—we’re not talkin’ about Melbourne cafes dishing up nosh that’s dull and flavourless, no siree! We've been jetting around in the new MINI 5-door to track down 5 clean-eating cafes in Melbourne, doing their bit to keep our tastebuds tingling and our jeans done up...
In the beachside suburb of Elwood, Combi is a closely guarded secret of the clean-eating Melbourne cafe set. With a rustic, beachy fitout and a super-chill vibe, Combi gets props for producing some of the most delectable raw cakes and treats in Melbourne. Organic raw raspberry and Acai cake? Yes, please!
Speaking of that purple-black super berry—their organic Acai bowl is one of the yummiest and downright prettiest we’ve found. It's chock full of banana, blueberries, house-made nut mylk, crispy coconut flakes, activated caramelised buckinis, maca, and cranberries (so, basically, lots of healthy stuff).
The raw organic superfood smoothies are another winner—we can’t go past the Velvet Cacao for a chocolate-y health hit. And, come lunch time, Combi also does a mean toastie, soup, and raw pizza.
The first dedicated Paleo café in Melbourne, Patch Cafe is tucked away on leafy Bendigo street in Richmond, within the restored heritage surrounds of Studio 9. The brainchild of local personal trainer and Paleo devotee, Tom Davidson, Patch is a chic space, perfect for a post-workout primal pick-me-up. Open for breakfast and lunch every day, coffee fiends are well catered for at this healthy Melbourne cafe, with Code Black brews keeping locals perky.
As for the menu, the unprocessed, Paleo fare is downright delicious, no matter what your dietary persuasion. Our Patch Cafe picks are the Cave Man brekkie of eggs, bacon, tomato, Wagyu beef, sweet potato fritter, silverbeet, and kale, with relish, and the oh-so-fresh smoked trout salad, peppered with pine nuts and capers.
As far as we’re concerned, George Calombaris rarely puts a foodie foot wrong, and his latest clean-eating Melbourne cafe venture is no different. Mastic, on Cotham Road in Kew, has a focus on healthy, wholesome, Hellenic fare, and he insists it’s not a Paleo cafe, but a ‘healthy food store’ (whatever you say, Georgie Boy).
The space is fresh with white tiles, exposed brick, a quirky breeze-block bar and… table tennis tables. That’s right, you can pong on while you sip on your Will & Co brew (made with almond or coconut milk if you’re a real health nut).
Mastic’s menu is full of unprocessed goodness, boasting a lot of veggies, salads, and sandwiches, with a distinct Mediterranean influence. Gluten-free friends (and those who like to food-shame on Instagram), this excellent Melbourne cafe is for you.
Heal.Thy Self Co
No tour of the best healthy Melbourne cafes would be complete without a nod to the west. Luckily for the fine folk of Yarraville, they’ve scored the cream of the clean-eating cafe crop, with the recent arrival of friendly health-food haven, Heal.Thy Self Co. Here, it’s all about sustainability and simple, nourishing plant-based food; it’s also a must-visit for the gluten-, sugar-, dairy-free and raw enthusiasts.
Give your gut health a boost by sipping on housemade Kombucha (don’t be scared, it tastes delicious!), or sate that sweet tooth with a raw Snickers bar (because, SNICKERS). The Cheeky Chia Parfait is maxed out with Omega 3s for a healthy ticker, and there’s even a version of a chicken schnitzel wrap that won’t see you caught up in the food shame spiral later.
But the real treat at this clean-eating mecca is the Super Smoothie menu. Choose from the Be Kind, Be Loving, Be Awakened or Be Strong smoothies… but whatever you do, check out Heal.Thy Self Co, stat!
The Nutrition Bar
Windsor, Richmond & Melbourne CBD
One of the first health bars in Melbourne, The Nutrition Bar has outposts in Richmond, Windsor, and St Kilda Road, making it a no brainer for on-the-go clean eats. The Swan Street original has just celebrated its first birthday—and we’re stocking up on protein balls for a celebratory feast at this Melbourne cafe!
Aside from said ball-shaped deliciousness (hmm), we dig this healthy Melbourne cafe’s Acai bowls (the peanut-butter bowl is a must try), cold-pressed juices, and green smoothies, and their simple, fresh salads, such as raw pad thai, are the perfect clean-eat treat for lunch.
It’s more grab-and-go at this virtuous Melbourne cafe, with limited seating, however The Nutrition Bar has recently expanded their offering with more take-home healthy dinner options for those that have no time to cook but don’t want to succumb to the tantalising calls of the local Thai joint…
We're thrilled to partner with MINI to bring you our Fave 5 series—our fortnightly guide to the best of the best in Melbourne. From food to fashion, Campari to Crossfit, each Fave 5 edition is researched and recommended by The Urban List, and driven by the new MINI 5-Door Hatch—putting the city at your fingertips and giving you the freedom to explore it!
Image Credits: Heal.Thy Self Co by Sabine Legrand, Mastic by Simon Shiff, Patch Cafe & Combi by Tash Sorensen, The Nutrition Bar by Sabine Legrand