Written by Meg Thompson | Tuesday, 8 December 2015
It's a firm thumbs up for Australia's first 'happiness café' designed to lift moods through a fitout which both soothes and stimulates and a nutritious and unique menu.
It’s a brave move to open a café called Serotonin Eatery. Promising happiness invites high expectations from both the menu and the atmosphere. But as soon as you step through the door at Serotonin, you know you are in a calming and happy place. The main dining space is flooded with natural light from the large windows overlooking the park next door.
The colour palette is neutral with generous splashes of sunshine yellow, and the staff are just as happy as the café’s namesake neurotransmitter and very pleased to chat through the menu and philosophy of Serotonin Eatery.
The claim of this upbeat, plant-based café is to provide food that regulates our neurotransmitters and hormones to maintain a healthy mood and a happy gut. Much of our body’s serotonin is found in the gut, so there is an important connection there. And looking over the menu, I was not disappointed.
Naturopathic staples of protein, fibre and healthy fat are presented in plentiful amounts. A rainbow of gorgeous ingredients brings essential vitamins to the table, making up an ever-changing menu with meals like Positive Pancakes, Smiling Pizza and Happy Zucchini Linguini.
There are plenty of options for dietary restrictions, and everything is clearly labelled. A super ‘Healthy Sides’ section allows you to tailor your meals – I would have loved to see the inclusion of sauerkraut being a ferment addict myself, and given its gut health benefits.
Tempted to try Serotonin Dealer’s version of the Melbourne institution – smashed avocado – I couldn’t go past the ‘Nutrition Bomb’ ($22). A gorgeous bowl full of greens, sprouts, homemade hummus, roasted veg, nuts, seeds, sauerkraut and an egg. No food envy for me – hoorah! We also ordered the Wild Mushroom Ragu on Beetroot Risotto ($18), which was nicely balanced and deliciously nourishing.
The drinks menu is fabulously comprehensive and gives the non-caffeinated loads of interesting alternatives to coffee and tea including a Cacao Coconut Latte, a Plant Protein Latte and a Golden Latte which is a blend of turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper and almond milk. Then there is a whole page of smoothie and juice combinations, including a very exciting looking Espresso Whole Coconut – served with an espresso shot.
We road-tested the coffee – great (5 Senses beans), and a Golden Latte – spicy and warming.
And then there’s the dessert menu. Full of refined sugar-free, plant-based goodies to please all tastes. We ate the ‘top deck’ interpretation of the classic, and it was delish. But what I like most about Serotonin is its holistic approach that incorporates associated exercise programs and an upcoming education program around health and happiness. Definitely, one to check out!
Serotonin Eatery:52 Madden Grove, Burnley, Vic 3121
Food: 8 Service: 9 Ambience: 7
Ratings10: perfect, 9: excellent, 8: great, 7: good, 6: passable, 5: disappointing, 1-4: needs work
Meg Thompson is a practising naturopath and freelance recipe and health writer. Connect with Meg on Instagramor Facebook, or at mywholefoodromance.com.