A freelance writer living and loving in the northern beaches of Sydney...travelling, writing, outdoor activities, gardens, and Pilates are a few of my favourite things. Visit me www.potpourritravels.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/potpourritravels/
Published November 23rd 2017
Head to the hills and be nourished at this organic foods hub
A fabulous new organic food store and cafe has made its mark on the foodie scene in the Hills district of Sydney and this week I had the pleasure of sampling some of their wholesome menu.
Established for two years as a coffee shop, Hills Organics has only recently added the food side to the business and filled a much-needed gap in the organic food/coffee shop scene in the west.
Friendly staff-member, Veronica, greeted me promptly and I found a cosy corner inside to sit and peruse the menu. Earthy wooden furniture added a rustic touch, walls were decorated with inspiring quotes, and a toy corner for kiddies made for a homely atmosphere.
As well as the indoor/outdoor seating, serving counter and display case, there was also a large corner section of the store filled with grocery items. Before ordering, I browsed the shelves and saw coeliac and vegan-friendly products, such as flour alternatives, breakfast cereals, pastas, baby food and spreads, breads, herbs, spices, refrigerated take-home meals, teas, nuts, dairy-free ice-cream, and a skin-care and make-up range.
Hills Organics monika is 'to cater to a wide range of lifestyles including Paleo, Vegan and Ketogenic... to stock products that promote good health and longevity', and they seem to have put in an extraordinary amount of work to create such a place.
The Menu This was when my day got difficult - how to choose? Most of the items on the menu are made in-house and are 'FREE' - free of gluten, free of refined sugar, and free of concerns or doubts about what to eat. It all sounded good. Breakfast included options such as Paleo Benny (gf,df) - organic poached eggs, spinach, vegan pesto, kaleonaise, paleo bread, cherry tomatoes, sauerkraut, lettuce and sesame seeds $17, or Keto Breakfast Plate (gf,df) - a Ketogenic breakfast of in-house made macadamia keto bread (gf). avocado, kaleonaise sauce, organic mixed salad leaves, smoked salmon, cashew cheese and organic poached eggs $20.
An imaginative variation on the smashed avo trend was the Smashed Avo Sensation - organic avocado, smoked cashew cheese, spinach, turmeric sauce, sauerkraut, cherry tomatoes and goats cheese feta served on organic sourdough $17.00. I love the addition of such things as the sauerkraut (good for the gut) and kaleonaise (a kale version of mayonnaise). This passionate family-based business has power-packed every menu choice with nutrient-dense foods and utilised every opportunity to add goodness in any way possible.
Nourish Bowl with salmon, beetroot and buckwheat noodles
As it was near midday I opted for lunch - my Nourish Bowl (gf,df) $22 - gluten-free buckwheat noddles, salmon fillet, turmeric cauliflower rice, in-house sauce and roasted beetroot $11 was, at the risk of exaggeration, perfect. The generous portion of salmon was perfectly cooked, drizzled with a little sauce, moist and fresh. The combination of the al-dente noodles and the freshly cooked beetroot, gave a lovely contrast of texture to the smooth buttery richness of the salmon. Accompanied by the bright yellow, light and tangy cauli-rice, the dish was also visually very appealing.
The Fish Tacos (gf,df) $20 - spicy white fish fillet, organic slaw, kaleonaise, carrot, avocado, organic corn shell and side-salad also hit the spot. The corn taco was light and slightly crispy, the fish moist and fresh, and the bright green smooth kale sauce really lifted the flavours and textures. The crunch of slaw rounded off the dish as, without it, it would have been too 'soft'.
Finishing off with the Vegan Waffles (gf,df) $18 - organic plant-based and gluten-free waffles with organic orange maple syrup, berry compote, seasonal fruits, walnut sesame crumble and coconut-cream chantilly was sublime. Again, a generous serving size of both waffle and fruit was fresh and delicious. The drizzle of orange syrup and compote added a rich sweet note, while the chantilly topping lightly lifted and complemented the fresh banana, strawberries, kiwi-fruit, mango, walnut-crumble and balanced the overall blend of flavours. I couldn't fault chef, James' cooking; every meal was a rainbow of colours, cooked perfectly, tasted fresh, and the blended sauces and spices highlighted the dishes rather than overpowering any one of them.
Velvet Latte, tasty smooth and pretty as a picture
The drinks menu was equally appealing and imaginative. My Velvet Latte was made with coconut milk, organic beetroot, cinnamon, and ginger, and the beautiful purple colour added to the fun of nourishing myself. Other fun options included a Dirty Chai, Coco Coffee, Cold-pressed juices, Kombucha-on-tap, and Powerhouse Smoothies containing banana, oats, chia, fermented protein powder, Acai and almond milk. Generous owners Andrea and A.J. sent me home with a Paleo Burger (gf,df), dairy-free coco-whip with caramel sauce and in-house turmeric granola, and raw snickers and hazelnut slices. And even though the burger was reheated and eaten several hours later by hubby, he scored it a 9/10 for serving size, taste and quality.
Their position at Shop 12, 286-288 New Line Road (near the corner of Old Northern Road), Dural, is a little unexpected, but it didn't take long for me to forget the surrounds of a busy business complex. Once I stepped through the front doors of Hills Organics all the outside noise fell away and I quickly became immersed in the relaxing oasis of healthy food and quiet environment.
Owner, Andrea, has designed the décor and menu, and with help from husband A.J. and Andrea's parents Eugene and Brenda, the family has created an important and unique family-friendly, pet-friendly food hub, desperately needed in the area. I don't have little mouths to feed, but did notice there was a Children's Menu and safe place to play. Andrea has plans for a calendar of events throughout next year, so check their website after Christmas for details. As I was taking my last few photos, an inquisitive customer stopped for a chat, informing me that his mum is Coeliac and dad is vegetarian, so he always brings them to Hills Organics because he knows there's plenty to choose from for everyone.
Hours: Mon - Friday 8am - 5pm; Saturday 8am - 4pm; Sunday 9am - 3pm
You can go online to book a table and there's free parking on site.