I'm sitting in Surfers Paradise on a brilliant Spring morning, sipping on a cold-pressed apple, carrot, beetroot and pineapple juice, and pondering my good fortune. I say this not to sound smug, but to highlight my sudden and dramatic change of mood. For not ten minutes earlier, I'd begun despairing of finding anywhere decent to eat, as I wandered a tangled labyrinth of novelty stores, closed nightclubs and tacky-looking restaurants with illuminated menu boards.
Then I turned a corner onto Orchid Avenue and stumbled across Hunter & Harvest. First the wholesome-looking menu board out the front caught my attention, then the vines curling invitingly over the entrance, then the cosy tables decorated with potted herbs, then the menu presented on paper. (No neon food photos. What a relief!)
On its facebook page, Hunter & Harvest bills itself as a 'health food shop', 'health food restaurant' and 'fruit and vegetable shop', but frankly, these descriptors don't tell the whole story. Rather, Hunter & Harvest is a welcome haven of health amid Surfers Paradise's main tourist drag strip and a shining ray of wholesomeness amid stretches of seediness.
The extensive menu reveals an extensive selection of paleo-inspired, vegan and vegetarian options from breakfast through to lunch. After weighing options include Bircher Muesli; ricotta, pear and roasted almond toast; wheat-free pancakes topped with caramelised banana chunks organic maple syrup, vanilla bean ice-cream and seasonal fruits, I chose the traditional Eggs Benedict, which were both ample and satisfying.
Lunch options meander from soups and salads through to grass-fed beef meatballs braised in organic Napoli sauce; grilled capsicum stuffed with Moroccan couscous; coconut-crumbed calamari and paleo lasagne. Drinks include juices which are cold-pressed to retain maximum flavour and nutrients.
And if you want to take a little bit of Hunter & Harvest's goodness home with you, there is a green grocer and whole foods store inside as well, selling everything from sweet potato and brown onion through to shredded coconut and soy milk.