New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published March 20th 2017
Update December 5th 2017
Unfortunately, this café has closed down.
A healthy, paleo & gluten-free cafe in Braddon
Tallow & Thyme is a paleo and gluten-free cafe located in Braddon, less than a 10 minute walk from the city centre. It is located in Mort Street, which is just one street over from the busy and popular cafe strip on Lonsdale Street. Tallow & Thyme began its journey as the franchise "Paleo Cafe" in 2015. By late 2016 however, the owners moved away from the name and franchise and were able to create their own unique menus, to appeal to more than just Paleo customers. The result is Tallow & Thyme, named after "tallow" - the animal fat they use to cook their chips in and "thyme", which represents the greens, herbs and vitamins in their menu. It is also the only dining experience in Canberra that is 100% gluten-free and they have a small supermarket area to buy paleo, gluten-free and organic products. If that's not all, they also offer take home packs for an easy lunch or dinner on the run.
The whole cafe provides healthy inspiration and is a wholesome, friendly cafe to walk into. It is ideal for anyone who is health conscious, has food intolerances, enjoys new ideas or who cares about what food goes inside their body for well-being.
The owners of the cafe are Jayne and Andrew McLaren, who can be seen regularly in the store on a daily basis. They originally decided to open the paleo and gluten-free cafe as Jayne had health issues and found a gluten-free diet drastically changed the way she felt.
Although I had personally visited the cafe previously as the Paleo Cafe, the new menu (as of January 2017) appears to be more extensive and varied, with more vegetarian options. The interior is also less colourful and more subdued and relaxing, with more black and white to reflect the new logo and vision. Although many of the features have remained the same, the different coloured chairs and a more "cafe" feel, make it a breakfast and lunch spot that everyone can relax in and enjoy.
On our visit, we came for a light and healthy breakfast before walking up the Mount Ainslie Summit Track in the next suburb (which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago and am now hooked on the experience!). For us, we wanted something that wasn't too heavy to eat, but would give us the energy needed to get up to the top. Tallow & Thyme fit the bill perfectly as the meals are light and healthy, without being such huge servings that you feel sluggish afterwards.
We chose the Smashed Avocado and the Sunrise Eggs Benny, which silenced us both as we concentrated on our plates until everything was devoured. They were each delicious and tasty, with surprisingly light sauces and hints of several flavours. Although the ingredients and sauces are gluten-free and dairy-free, they tasted the same, if not better, than how you would expect it to taste. Although the Smashed Avocado was layered onto paleo bread, the Sunrise Eggs Benny used a large portobello mushroom as the base the meal, which made it a healthy and light option - perfect for our pre-walk meal.
Smashed Avocado - fresh smashed avocado served on paleo toast with two lightly poached free range Bush Chick eggs and cherry tomatoes, drizzled with herb oil. $17.50
Sunrise Eggs Benny - a lightly poached, free range Bush Chick egg served on top of a delicious stack of baked mushroom, baby spinach, crispy bacon, & avocado, all topped with decadent house made hollandaise (dairy free). Served with a green salad and drizzled with lemon vingerette. $16.50
If you are looking for something lighter, they also offer a range of fruits and healthy options in their display cabinet as well as a colourful menu of Smoothie Bowls. Flavours include Coconut Splice Smoothie Bowl and Carrot Cake - which is frozen banana, walnuts, cinnamon, honey and carrot juice blended until smooth then topped with fresh banana, walnuts and granola.
If you visit the cafe with kids, there is a healthy kids menu with 4 options to choose from for breakfast and lunch, however the colourful Smoothie Bowls would also be a popular option - when they look this good!
Range of Smoothie Bowls. Source: Tallow & Thyme Facebook
Although I personally don't eat a paleo diet or need to eat gluten-free, I enjoy eating healthily so it is refreshing to know that everything on the menu is vitamin-rich and nutritious. There has been quite a change in this cafe from the Paleo Cafe to Tallow & Thyme, with more healthy options to choose from and surprises on the menu such as Iced Coffee, made in their own paleo way. The menu items are all, or either, gluten-free, preservative-free, dairy-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free and seed oil-free. Just by looking at their Facebook page, you can see the love, passion and inspiration the owners have for eating healthily and living a full life. This inspirational feeling is felt throughout the whole cafe experience.
If you are interested in buying paleo, gluten-free or organic products to cook with at home, they also have a little supermarket with a range of products to browse. As you walk along and look at the shelves, there are some surprising products that have been made into healthier alternatives.
One that stopped me in my tracks is seen below...
A simple and healthy chocolate cake mix? My dreams have been answered!