New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published April 4th 2016
Update January 12th 2017
This café has changed its name to Tallow and Thyme - January 2017.
A healthy way to start the day, the Paleo way
In the last couple of years, the Paleo way of life has come under the microscope with some labelling it as the latest "fad". There are celebrities advocating this new lifestyle, with a diet reverting back to our caveman days and the foods that they ate. There is also protest against it, with dietitians claiming it doesn't include everything required in today's diet. I must admit that I didn't take much notice of this debate until I visited Paleo Perfection Expresso Bar in Kingston last month, which opened my eyes to this controversial lifestyle. It led me to research further and see how I could make some changes in my diet to live a healthier life. I may not be prepared to go 100% Paleo, however I was intrigued to learn more.
This led me to visit the Paleo Café with my family in Braddon, just a few minutes walk from the CBD. This colourful café is located the block behind the popular Lonsdale Street, and the ideal place to enjoy a healthy breakfast and learn more about the Paleo way.
When we walked inside, the friendly staff were happy to explain their menu and what the Paleo lifestyle is in normal terms. The basics seem simple enough - don't put anything into your body that wasn't around in the early years of mankind. So this means no sugar, dairy, legumes, grains, preservatives or oils. Instead they prefer to use healthy fats in ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, tallow, almond and coconut milk, and coconut sugar. You can eat plenty of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts and create tasty meals using natural herbs and spices. This chart below shows the basic food triangle of the Paleo way of life.
As we were with our young daughter, we initially walked in to find out if there would be anything suitable for her to eat on the Breakfast Menu. We were surprised to find a good selection for her to choose from on the Kids Menu, with fruit salad, pancakes and bacon and eggs for $10. She chose the Fruit Salad with Coconut Ice-cream, which was the perfect selection with a bowl of tasty fresh fruit and the most delicious coconut ice cream (made from coconut milk) that any of us had ever tasted. It's that good.
Fruit Salad with Coconut Icecream ($10) and Babyccino (50c)
When our coffees arrived, we looked around for the sugar until it dawned on us that sugar isn't part of the Paleo lifestyle. The look on my husband's face was priceless. Unsure if he could survive without his two sugars, he asked the owner if they had any sugar at all. With a grin, the friendly owner gave him some coconut sugar to try out and raw sugar as backup if he needed it. We enjoyed some good natured banter with the owner and it was nice to see that they understand that not everyone is Paleo who comes in to enjoy their food.
Although sugar isn't on the list of foods to eat, my husband was pleased to learn that meat was still a big part of the Paleo way of life. He chose the Avocado smash on Paleo toast - with free range poached eggs and cashew feta ($14.90) with a side of bacon ($6), which went down a treat with his newly sweetened coffee. A large eater, he was a little taken aback by the small serving size, however found it surprisingly filling with the dense Paleo toast underneath.
Avocado smash on Paleo toast - with free range poached eggs and cashew feta ($14.90) with a side of bacon ($6). Latte in a mug ($4.90)
I selected the Acai Bowl - superfood blend of frozen acia, banana, a choice of apple juice or house made almond milk with raspberry and maple nut granola, sliced banana, flaked coconut and blueberries ($13.90). The helpful lady behind the counter explained that Acai is a superfood berry found in the Amazon. I chose to have this made with almond milk (instead of the other option of apple juice), to make it creamier, and the result was a colourful bowl of healthy goodness to tuck into for a delicious breakfast. At the base of the bowl was the thick, frozen smoothie and the ingredients were decorated on top, creating a refreshing combination with the added crunch of the flavoursome granola.
Acai Bowl - superfood blend of frozen acia, banana, house made almond milk with raspberry and maple nut granola, sliced banana, flaked coconut and blueberries ($13.90) and a Cappuccino in a cup ($3.90)
The original Paleo Café was founded by a couple Marlies and Jai Hobbs, whose life changed when their son was found to be dairy intolerant. Jai heard about the Paleo lifestyle and looked into it as a solution. The whole family changed their diet to accommodate this new way of life and instantly their son's health improved, as well as their own. They soon realised there was a lack of eateries and grocers catering to their newfound lifestyle and saw an opportunity to change peoples lives, as their own had been changed. There are now Paleo Café franchises around Australia and internationally, endorsed by celebrity chef Pete Evans, the Consultant Chef and brand ambassador for the cafe.
The Paleo diet is gluten-free, so everything on the cafe's menu is suitable to eat. There is a range of delicious gluten-free cakes and treats in their display cases and on their specials board, as well as food items to buy in the shop area.
Our family enjoyed our visit to Paleo café. It has strengthened my interest to learn more about this lifestyle, however in the meantime we have a café that we can come back to and try out new foods and ideas. See below for the menu for Paleo café and be surprised by the choice and tasty options - most are meals that you recognise with just a few Paleo tweaks. With colouring-in, babyccinos and a colourful décor for kids to look at, this family friendly café is a comfortable place for all ages (and levels of Paleo-ness!) to experience and enjoy.
Menu as of April 2016 - click below for a larger view