Thursday, June 18, 2015

Greenhouse Cafe

June 17, 2015

I spent my formative years living in Caloundra on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. At the time eating out for me usually meant fish and chips at the beach, Pizza Hut or, if we were feeling particularly sophisticated, a trip to the local Thai place. I was thrilled to notice last year that Caloundra's first all-vego place had opened and even happier to find it still in business nearly 12 months later when I finally managed to swing by for a visit. 

Greenhouse is more than just vegetarian - it's also fully organic. The menu seems to change semi-regularly, and on our visit there was a good mix of vegan and non-vegan stuff, including made-to-order dishes, pre-made wraps and sandwiches and an array of muffins and sweets. There's plenty of gluten-free options scattered throughout. They're also big on smoothies and juices and they have kombucha on tap. We settled in for a proper lunch with my Mum and all three of us ordered from the a la carte menu.

Mum went with the spinach, onion jam and three cheese tart, served with a beautiful looking pumpkin salad ($15.90). She was a bit overwhelmed with the size of the meal when it came out, but enjoyed it so much that there were no leftovers for me to sample.

I ordered the vegan burger off the specials board, marinated tofu with pickled veggies and satay sauce on Turkish bread ($17.90). This looked a bit sad when it came out - it was definitely not the kind of burger you could pick up and eat - but fortunately the taste easily overcame any doubts I had over the presentation. The satay sauce reminded me a bit of our favourite curry peanut sauce recipe, melding a hint of spice with nutty goodness. The pickled veggies added a nice salty kick, and the mint gave it all a fresh edge. I stole some chilli from Cindy's plate too, which I can heartily recommend.

Cindy ordered the avocado with coconut cashew cheese, pickled green chilli and mint on long-fermented sourdough ($14.90). This was a lovely fresh lunch plate - the avocado was perfectly ripe and all the trimmings were lovely, especially the fresh mint. The cashew cheese was smooth and creamy, but didn't have a particularly strong flavour - it probably would have helped smooth out the fresh chilli chunks if I hadn't stolen them all.

We couldn't resist the lure of the sweets counter on our way out, taking home a Mexican chilli choc beetroot slice and a raw vegan choc-cranberry tart (both gluten-free, total price ~ $13).

I'm not usually a big fan of raw desserts, but the choc-cranberry tart was the clear winner out of these two - sweet, tangy and nicely textured. The slice was good too, but I think it needed a bigger chilli hit to cut through all the chocolatiness.

We had a great time at Greenhouse - the staff that work there are incredibly warm and friendly, turning a decent lunch into a really lovely meal. The food is great, if a little on the expensive side (I guess getting everything organic doesn't come cheap), and it's a nice spot to sit and people watch. I'm so impressed that someone has given a vego cafe a shot in my hometown and even more impressed that they're making it work - there was a steady stream of customers while we were there and it's easy to see why the locals would keep coming back.


A handful of bloggers have checked out Greenhouse and been uniformly positive - check out sustainability in style, Vegie Head, Live Blissful and Riley xo.

Greenhouse Cafe
5/8 Ormuz Avenue (off Lamkin Lane)
07 5438 1647

Accessibility: Smooth entry with a relatively spacious interior. The outside tables are on a slightly uneven footpath area. There's table service and you pay at a low counter. Things seemed super child-friendly on our visit (toys, kids' table, high chair etc).

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