Healthy Planet opened its doors last summer on the intersection best known for holding Piedemonte's supermarket in Fitzroy North. It's not been receiving much mention in our corner of the veg-eating grapevine so we had few expectations when we walked in on grand final morning.
We found a spacious and casual eatery with a big snack cabinet and chalkboard juice list. The clipboard menus begin with a multi-colour coding system marking vegan, gluten-free, fructose-free and nut-free foods across the all-vegetarian menu. From there, there are coffees, juices, smoothies, a dozen breakfast plates, about half as many lunch plates, and a guide to the regular, vegan and raw sweets on display.
We started out with some nicely chilled juices, served in 2015's typical twee style. Michael's Summer Vitality ($7.50) was a refreshing combination of apple, celery, spinach, mint, lemon and coconut water. I sorely needed the Instant Energy ($8.95), and frothy and almost jammy mix of strawberry, watermelon, lemon and chia seeds.
Michael had some trouble ascertaining with the staff whether the HP energy bowl was vegan (not marked so on the menu, but a seemingly innocuous mix of rolled oats, lentils, avocado, salsa, baba ganoush and pita bread). Ultimately he opted for the more clearly vegan-friendly Sunrise Scramble Tofu ($14.50) and was impressed with the medley of mushroom, capsicum, onion and spinach and decent kick of cayenne. The sweet potato side was just fine, and he was chuffed with the avocado toast.
In the mood for something sweet but substantial, I had fewer options available to me. The HP French Toast ($12.50) was well executed but very, very basic; showered with icing sugar and served with a dish of maple syrup and a solitary, quartered strawberry. It was really down to the juice to maintain any balance in my meal.
I'm not sure whether grand final day was to blame, but Healthy Planet was a little low on energy. While the menu and display cabinet show a lot of ingredient details, the staff of the day weren't as knowledgeable and forthcoming. We waited a long time to receive our meals even though the cafe was at 30% occupancy. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the casual and spacious setting and much of what we ate. We'll give 'em another go when we're in the neighbourhood.
252 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North
drinks, breakfast, lunch, cakes
Accessibility: Lookin' pretty good - a flat entry way, spaciously distributed and sturdy furniture, low counter. We ordered and paid at the low counter. We didn't visit the toilets.