Freelance writer specialising in serendipity: the art of finding wonderful things by accident or sagacity. Comments and suggestions always welcome!
Published September 17th 2012
A one-stop shop for all things healthy and delicious
Heavenly healthy food and groceries A few weeks ago I met a friend for lunch in South Fremantle. Though I hadn't been to Manna Café before, I figured that the location in alternative-minded Fremantle would guarantee healthy choices. What I didn't expect was to discover my new favourite place to shop and eat.
More than a cafe
As well as the café, Manna is a thriving whole foods shop that offers a huge range of organic groceries, bulk produce, raw food and more. It's a kilometre or so down South Terrace, from the cappuccino strip and tourist area of Fremantle, which is why I'd never discovered it. However now the secret is out I'll definitely be back.
So exactly why would I go all the way across town to visit a "health food store"? As well as the food I loved their choice of products and their commitment to ethical trading and the relaxed vibe and helpful staff. Let's examine some of these reasons in detail. Wholefoods
I arrived a bit early and was very glad as it was immediately evident that this was much more than a cafe. In fact the shop is the larger part. It offers pretty much everything you need to live in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Many people think this means some form of deprivation but nothing could be further from the truth.
All types of bulk food are available
I started with the bulk food because I really like buying small amount of things like nuts and spices without excess packaging. Manna had a great selection of muesli, flour and other basics. Their website also mentions honey, olive oil and peanut butter with the note: bring your own containers if you like.
Organic & biodynamic produce
In the back of the shop there's a beautiful selection of organically grown fruit and vegetables. Some of the produce is biodynamic and everything is labelled with the origin. A nearby fridge offers different types of milk (goat for example) cheese, and yoghurt.
Chocolate with a conscience
I was unable to explore more because it was time for lunch, but a display of chocolate caught my eye as it was all from Fair Trade producers. Manna has a strong commitment to this movement, which advocates fair prices for farmers in developing countries.
The café occupies a small section at the front of the shop. There are three or four tables, a counter at the window and several more tables outside. All the tables were filled and there was a regular procession of takeaway customers, but by the time I'd placed my order and paid, a table became available (you order at the café and pay at the main shop till.)
The café offers a selection of specials which changes daily. When I was there they included a Spanish omelette tortilla and a spelt pasta bake. The chef added three hot quiches as I waited. The smell was divine and I ordered a piece of the vegetable and blue cheese. I added a salad of beetroot, carrot and sprouts with a dressing that included orange juice and olive oil.
Quiche with salad...LOTS of salad
The quiche was every bit as good as promised and the amount of salad on my plate was astounding, more than enough to share with my companion who was enjoying her wrap sandwich and a chai latte. My lunch was $12 which I found very good value for fresh delicious food made with care.
As well as the specials there were sausage rolls, wraps, four or five salads, nut patties, pizzas, cakes, juices, smoothies and organic coffee and a selection of cakes. Filtered water is free.
Those with allergies or food intolerances need not worry – Manna provides plenty of choices that are vegetarian, vegan and gluten or dairy-free.
Bookstore and more
If the groceries and produce isn't enough, Manna also includes a bookstore. The walls dividing the cafe from the shop are in fact bookcases offering the latest on health, wellness, cooking and personal development.
Manna also has a bookshop
Although all the staff members are knowledgeable and friendly, owner Myra Thomas is a qualified naturopath as is staff member Samantha Smith. Both can answer questions or a private consultation can be arranged.
When you're next in Fremantle, take the time to go a bit further down South Terrace and visist Manna. You'll be glad you did.