nourished:385 | The Verdict

By Megan Osborne - 11 Nov 2014

Summer's coming, along with all the great things that go with it. Like days at the beach, festivals, and plenty of Sunday sessions. With all that going on, Melburnians are going to need some appropriate fuel, which is why we're so excited over the opening of new Prahran clean eating cafe and restaurant, nourished:385.

Nestled next to the Victoria Gardens on High Street, Prahran, nourished:385 utilises the charming space of a former antique shop. With high ceilings, an airy, spacious interior, and a beautiful wooden door with plenty of character, this café is a lovely place to bring friends. The nourished courtyard, overlooking the gardens, is where we'll be sitting as summer rolls around. Or you might prefer to perch out the front and enjoy a chilled glass of vegan wine as the hustle and bustle of High Street passes you by. 

With a philosophy of clean eating and healthy living, nourished:385 quietly swung open its doors last week and we were right there, ready and eager to check it out. Owner, Paul Gilbert, saw an opportunity for a clean eating cafe, noticing that Melburians not only love great food, but are starting to consider more the health value of what they're eating. 'People want to be healthier these days, and I applaud that' says Gilbert. 'It's not a fad, people want to live longer, and are more concerned about their own wellbeing.' 

With a background in hospitality training, teaching and employment, Gilbert has enough experience to know he wanted to do something different. 'After 32 years in the industry, it's time I had my own place.' While experiencing all the ins and outs of the hospitality industry, Gilbert knows and loves where he's at, and where he can take nourished:385. 'I enjoy the industry, I enjoy the people.' 

All that passion is on show at this snazzy new spot. nourished:385 Head Chef, Ben Hildred, has thoughtfully designed a menu packed full of goodness and flavour. Don't let the healthy side of things put you off – this food is definitely not lacking in pizazz. Hildred has designed the menu to offer a range of options; some are vegan friendly, some are a little bit naughty, but all are scrumptious!

And it's not just the health factor that's making these dishes different. Hildred and Gilbert have created a dining experience that stands out from the rest. 'When we were deciding on the menu, we wanted to be a little different to everyone else', says Gilbert. 'Everyone's doing the same thing—especially with breakfast.' So they decided to do a classic favourite, smashed avocado—but with one epic twist. Enter the showstopper – smashed avocado with strawberry jalapeño chutney, herbed labneh, balsamic honey and nourished house loaf. Trust us, it tastes even better than it reads. Even though we'd be content to munch on bowls full of that strawberry jalapeño chutney, the creamy labneh and soft, flavourful avocado really do balance the dish. The house-made (to the point of the buckwheat and rice being ground in the kitchen!) gluten-free bread is light and tasty, too, bringing the whole plate together. Hildred enthuses, 'It's an Australian breakfast classic. Everyone does a smashed avocado, but it's good to do it a little bit different.' And different it is. We're never looking back!

Other delectable, wholesome dishes are a five-seed Bircher muesli, soaked in coconut water and maple syrup, with chia, sesame, pepito and linseed, topped with berries marinated in balsamic and maple syrup, toasted coconut and lemon balm. This will turn any breakfast into a sweet affair that tastes much more sinful than it is! ??We also love the loaded salad, with mixed lettuce, house made cider vinegar dressing, marinated tofu, bean sprouts, radish, quinoa tabouleh, corn, lemon, parsley, and pickled beetroot. Packed full of vibrant colour and tangy tastes! For something a bit later in the day, the rump steak is cooked rare with an accompanying salad, and the spiced kale chips are too moreish for their own good! 

The dishes at nourished:385 are designed as share plates, enabling diners to sample a variety of flavours. 'Don't just come in and try one thing, I want people to try as many things as possible', says Gilbert. With plenty to choose from on the sharing menu, you won't get food envy, as you have the option of tasting so many of the varied meals! Their coffee, decaf and chocolate are all Fairtrade, too, and the rich, full-bodied teas on offer are made in Melbourne by a local nutritionist and naturopath. 

So whether you're popping down for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, or something in between (second breakfast anyone?), sit back and enjoy the full package of goodness that nourished:385 in Prahran has to offer. We're sure going back (better stock up on that strawberry jalapeño chutney, guys!).

Image Credits: Leela Schauble

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