My soy cappuccino arrives in a deep, polka-dotted cup with matching saucer and I delight in the detailed froth. It's lightly dusted, and within the syrupy swirls I discover the extra care that's offered here at Foods With Benefits.
Brightly coloured crockery and purple accents throughout this café exude a welcoming feel. Foods With Benefits like to splash this fun about but they also breathe their namesake. It's a personable destination that delivers hearty and healthy foods fit for vegetarians or vegans, lactose, fructose or gluten intolerant guests. Nut-free options are also in abundance. The sign on the footpath declares this dedication before you even enter through the door: 'Intolerance friendly and proudly supporting local produce'. This is how Foods With Benefits separate themselves from other run-of-the-mill cafés in the area.
By the time our hot drinks arrive, our waitress is already juggling our vegan requests seamlessly. She's thorough, friendly and smiling. 'Do you have any allergies too?' We say no, and we're pleased to experience a café that's so attentive and accepting. Plus, our waitress is knowledgeable and can answer all our questions about the menu. There are no glazed-over, uncertain looks or dashes to the kitchen here.
Foods With Benefits offers a clean, bright location – tables and chairs up front, comfy wall-couches located towards the rear. A little kids' table and chairs gives bored children a spot to colour and have fun. A tempting cake cabinet by the counter is filled with lactose and gluten free sweets, muffins and slices. Coffee is organic and fair-trade, and Foods With Benefits are proud supporters of Melbourne's Suspended Coffee movement. Tear-drop shaped light globes warm the space with glowing radiance for rainy days like today.
Their all-day breakfast menu is a welcomed feature and our big breakfasts are ordered sans meat and eggs. Our waitress is all too happy to substitute our minuses with extras such as tomatoes and avocado. We don't have to pay for these substitutes, nor the soy milk in our drinks for that matter. Foods, like the pancakes, can be made to order to suit dietary needs.
When our meals arrive, they're big and filling. Our waitress tells us that we've been treated to a made-to-order potato rosti each, to fill in more of those gaps that the meat and eggs left behind. We beam at this kindness which makes us want to return. And, there's no doubt we will. There's a vegan and vegetarian lunch menu to conquer, not to mention vegan friendly yo-yos!