Smoothme Superfood Bar

“Is that vegan?” I ask the waitress, who sighs, shakes her head and points to the “Supergreen vegan salad” which seems to lack everything a meal should.

As someone who orders plant-based food purely because of dietary requirements – the eye rolls, side glances and muttering under the breath can frustrate the heck out of me.

Is it too much to ask for a substantial meal at a café that’s more than just a bowl of kale, almonds and cherry tomatoes?

In saying that though, many Melbourne cafés and restaurants seem to have finally gotten over coining the vegan diet ‘hipster’ or a ‘trend’, and are actually re-creating meals to be plant-based.

There’s a massive clean-eating movement happening in Melbourne – and one café driving the initiative is Smoothme– a smoothie bowl shop in Melbourne’s CBD.

It’s refreshing to walk into a café and not have to ask questions or feel like an annoyance. Everything on the Smoothme menu is vegan, refined sugar free and completely natural.

Even though I’m a big fan of smoothie bowls, I’m also aware of the hidden sugars and preservatives that most cafes add to granolas and even the base of the smoothie to make it sweeter.

Smoothme only adds the good stuff – letting the natural sugars of the fruit be the stars.

“Not having hidden ingredients in our food is very important – we get all our ingredients from local markets in Melbourne, and make everything fresh each morning,” says Diana, owner of the health-food café.

The café is a great example of a business going above and beyond to ensure they’re giving people on a vegan diet a myriad of options. Not only do they use plenty of fresh local produce, they also source the highest quality superfoods to add into each recipe.

“When we opened Smoothme, we researched a lot of different areas to come up with delicious and healthy recipes. We then ran everything past a good friend of ours who’s a nutritionist to ensure every recipe would bring about the results we claimed it would”, says Diana.

Looking over the menu, I’m surprised to see ingredients I’ve never seen in a Melbourne café before. Diana explains that’s because there’s a reason for every ingredient she uses.

“For example, mesquite is a plant that grows in South America and has a caramel flavour – so we use it for our salted caramel. Apart from being delicious, it also has great health benefits such as its high protein and fibre content,” she says.

With 12 smoothie bowls on the menu, a case full of raw desserts, superfood lattes and salad nourish bowls it’s hard to imagine what more someone could want from a café.

If you’re ever looking for a healthy breakfast or snack in the city, it’s worth checking out Smoothme Superfood Bar. These guys not only offer a nutritious, delicious meal, but they don’t skimp on toppings or give you less fruit because it’s not in season.

Drop in on Tuesday, and get an acai bowl for only $10 – you’ll probably see me there.

Find them on Instagram: @smoothme.sfb

Location: Shop 6, 120 Spencer Street, Melbourne.

Broccoli Revolution

If you’re on the hunt Bangkok’s best buddha bowl, Thai fusion breakfast or a smoothie bowl that’s vegan and low FODMAP, Broccoli Revolution should definitely be on the agenda.

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With two locations in Bangkok, you’re guaranteed to be close to one. We were having serious buddha bowl cravings after a half day tour of the Floating Market and despite it being 3.30 in the afternoon were determined to make it to one of the stores for a bowl.

We went to the café on the sixth floor of the Central Embassy Shopping Centre, which is right next to Chit Lom train station, and super easy to get to. Be advised, Bangkok shopping centres are extremely large and very confusing – Central Embassy is one of two shopping malls which are connected, so if you go to that café make sure you enter the right building.

Upon entering the sixth floor we wandered through a book shop to find a modern café in the centre, with a large wooden wall covered in hanging pot plants. Broccoli Revolution is an order at the counter style brunch joint – but that’s ok because you get to see all the raw vegan desserts on display when you order.

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The menu is uber healthy, innovative and experimentative. Everything is vegan based, organic and with influences from Italy, South America, Myanmar, Vietnam and of course Thailand. The savoury menu features things like a broccoli charcoal quinoa burger, vegan Isan platter, kiew wan quinoa bowl, cauliflower low carb rice and power bowls, as well as Thai favourites with a twist like a quinoa tom yum bowl and organic tom kha hed.

The sweet section is just as extensive – with everything from gluten free soy milk pancakes to seasonal fruit platters and five different vegan smoothies that can be made into bowls as well. They’ve got acai, choco banana, green (avocado, kale and banana), mango and even mojito.

We went for the green power bowl, which was chocked full of quinoa, avocado, broccoli (of course), cucumber, lettuce, walnuts, asparagus and pesto brown rice. While at first I was sceptical of a bowl of seemingly mismatching flavours, it turned out to be the ideal combination of  fresh Thai flavours, hearty veggies and crunch.

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This is another westernised brunch spot that’s a bit pricier than most Bangkok cafes – but a definite go-to if around $9-$14 is in your budget. Broccoli Revolution was a quirky brunch unlike we’d ever seen before and easily the most dietary requirement friendly place we visited in Bangkok.

Location: 899 Sukhumvit Road, Klong-Nua, Vaddhana or Central Embassy.

This article is part of my food safari series around Thailand and Vietnam – for other restaurant and cafe suggestions in Bangkok check out A Foodies Guide to Bangkok.

Want more photos from my food safari around Thailand and Vietnam? Follow @themelbournelook on Instagram for daily updates.

 

Brekkie Organic Cafe

Tucked away less than a 15-minute walk from Phrom Phong station is a double-story white shop front that looks as if it belongs on a Parisian street. Covered in greenery and with small windows spanning the entire front of the building it’s too pretty to miss. Walking into the building we’re greeted by the smiling chef, who tells us the owner got the inspiration for Brekkie from cafés in Melbourne when he studied there a few years ago.

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Crates of pineapples and bananas line the entrance, and old antique typewriters, clocks and vintage lights cover the shelves on the bottom floor. The building is high ceilinged, white bricked with wooden posts. Tiny pot plants hang from the ceilings and line every bench top. We’re taken up to a second level where you can sit on benches and look down onto the café.

But that’s not where we’re sitting – our waiter takes us up to another level and seats us on wooden tables in front of big swings which look down onto to the street (picture the swings at Serotonin cafe in Melbourne). Along the window sill is about 15 different baskets and pot plants of the most beautiful peonies and roses in every colour.

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After finally getting over how much we’re already in love with the interior we get to the menu, which is great because it has such a large selection of vegan and gluten free options.  For me it’s easy; I came here for my usual – an acai bowl. For my friend Char it’s harder – she’s a savoury girl and loves greens at brekky time (although I managed to talk her into getting a spirulina smoothie bowl).

This café seriously has it all: from the smoothie bowl section you can choose from acai, cacaonana, maca or spirulina. The rest of the menu has essential staples like avocado on toast, baked eggs, French toast, granola and cacao pancakes. There’s a whole section dedicated to quinoa as well as a salad bowl section.

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The drinks are even more elaborate: on top of good coffee you can choose from a whole selection of iced tea pots – with flavours like organic green tea, roasted organic jasberry rice butterfly pea and pandanus (that’s one drink), as well as a cacao drink (my favourite) and a matcha latte.

Brekkie seriously has it all. From a killer menu and great service, to the the sheer attention to detail in every corner of the cafe – if you’re hunting for a wicked brunch spot in Bangkok this is a must.

Location: 6/9 Soi Promsri Sukhumvit 39.

Price: around $15-18 for a meal and coffee.

This article is part of my food safari series around Thailand and Vietnam – for other restaurant and cafe suggestions in Bangkok check out A Foodies Guide to Bangkok.

Want more photos from my food safari around Thailand and Vietnam? Follow @themelbournelook on Instagram for daily updates.

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A foodies guide to Bangkok

The vibrant and colourful streets of Bangkok are constantly abuzz with the sounds of laughing locals, horns of tuk tuks and motorbikes and the array of mixed fresh local cuisines. The waft of fresh seafood, fried veggies, spices, pineapple and other juicy fruits is what completely captivates me – while at first foreign, have now become some of my favourite scents.

But while the hidden treasures nestled in the nooks and crannies of Bangkok’s streets are glorious, the true beauty in this city lies within the happiest people I’ve ever met. Locals of Bangkok are always appreciating the beauty in life – in the smallest forms. I have never felt safer, more comfortable, accepted and welcomed in a city in my life as I have in Bangkok.

street food

For those of you reading this in Melbourne, I’m sorry. I write this post in the aim of inspiring, not bragging (despite being grateful to trade in four layers for 40 degree weather).

For those of you planning a trip to Thailand, I highly recommend spending at least a few days in Bangkok, especially if you’re a foodie. And to the vegetarians, vegans and fellow Foddies (people on the low FODMAP diet) have no fear – Bangkok is full of amazing cafes and restaurants which cater towards people with dietary requirements. I’ve written this blog post as a short guide to some of my favourite street foods, cafes and restaurants in Bangkok.

Street food we tried

Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or have some kind of food intolerance if there’s one thing you should do in Bangkok it’s eat street food. While we ate at some amazing cafes and restaurants (featured below), nothing is quite like getting a bowl of something fresh you’ve never heard of or tried for less than $2.

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Our first street food experience was at the Floating Market on our second day. While the markets weren’t overly enthralling, we were fascinated by a lady making tiny dumplings on a boat with various vegetables inside. The lady spoke no English, but handed us a banana leaf filled with 8 tiny clear dumplings and two tiny chillies for 40 Baht (less than $2). We loved every mouthful, and although we didn’t know what was inside at first, we later figured out they were filled with carrot, mushroom, peanut and cane sugar. A few days later we found a stall at a market which identified them as Thai steamed rice skin dumplings – the mouth of the of rice.

Another amazing street food we tried at Khao San Road was fresh coconut ice cream for around 30 Baht ($1). Perfect for vegans and anyone intolerant to lactose – this cold dessert is topped with nuts and chocolate sauce. We saw stands at the Chatachuk Weekend Market with 8-10 topping options: from different sticky rices to jellies and nuts, so if you’re heading to the market wait and get it there.

If you’re not vegan another good street food (if you can find it) is a little mini taco looking sweet. The man who served us spoke barely any English but it looked too good not to try. Although we’re not certain, we think it was a mini coconut egg  hard-shell pancake topped with shredded fruit and nuts. We paid 10 Baht ($0.45).

One of my favourite street foods was from a man just around the corner from our apartment – the popular egg crepe (a Thai street dessert). To make, the stall owner will spread crepe batter over a flat element, drop an egg and chopped banana inside the middle, fold it up and cover it with your chosen spread – I went for Nutella. You can find these around Bangkok – some carts will have up to 10 topping options for around 60 Baht ($2.40).

Where to eat out

Although Bangkok isn’t quite up to Melbourne’s brunch standards, it has serious game when it comes to smoothie bowls, quirky lattes and Buddha bowls. The city has so many amazing vegan and vegetarian cafes and restaurants – we were only able to get to a few, but my favourites are listed below.

Brekkie Organic Café

French-Parisian esque interiors, quirky antiques, quality coffee and serious smoothie bowl options.

Brekkie organic cafe

Broccoli Revolution

Totally vegan, traditional Thai fusion brunch with killer Buddha and smoothie bowls.

Broccoli rev

Mango Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant and Arts Gallery

Cute and cosy hole in the wall with friendly staff and a menu which warms your soul.

Mango

Stay tuned to TML as more detailed articles on each cafe will be posted over the next week. I can’t wait for you to continue on my adventure throughout Thailand with me.

Chloe.