On my way to the State Library I took a step back as a shop I had not noticed before caught my eye. How could one miss it with all those bags of oranges hanging outside as part of its decor. It was the Tropicana Juice/Food Bar at 55 Swanston Street in the city. It was not much more than a hole in the wall in size, with just enough room for two people to walk shoulder to shoulder and some cute mini timber tables and chairs running along the left side of the wall as you enter.
This store on Swanston Street is owned and run by Jhang who is originally from Taiwan. He used to work for the parent company for 3 or 4 years at 213 Elizabeth Street also in the city, where it's been around for the last 12 years. The Elizabeth Street store wanted to expand and offered the opportunity to buy a store, which would be run independently. Too good an offer for Jhang to refuse and thus he renovated the premises and started his business 5 months ago.
Judging from the number of people walking in and out while I was there and when I went past again a few hours later, it seems to have been the right move. With health consciousness rising to the fore (we hope), this is the perfect place to get your 'juice on' as Joe Cross, the Australian guru of juicing would say. I recently did a review of his event promoting rebooting your body by juicing. Now if I lived next door to Tropicana, keeping healthy and rebooting would be really easy.
There is a huge variety of juices, smoothies and more to consider. You can have the 'basic deal' where you can pick a sandwich in the display cabinet and have a big smoothie or juice for $10.90. Then there's the 'not so basic deal' where you can choose a fresh salad of the day, plus a big smoothie or juice for $11.90. The 'deluxe deal' will get you a meat or veggie fresh toasted wrap, plus the big smoothie or juice for $12.90
While on the subject of food, you can also make up your own Acai Amazon bowl of superfruit with banana muesli. A small will set you back $10.50 and a large $13.50 with extra toppings costing between 70 cents and a dollar per topping. An Acai pure blend of this magic dark purple berry will cost you $8.50 a small and $11 a large. The Acai smoothie is $6.90 for small and $8.90 a large. You can also get waffles and waffle combos with smoothies and juices that range from $9.70 to $16.90.
Smoothies cost on average $5.40 to $7.20 each, depending on size. The ones being promoted at the store at the moment are the Mango Colada (secret recipe from the Philippines) and the South American with a claim that it's a top secret best smoothie on earth. This is not to be mixed up with the South American Delight 'juice'. This will apparently give you a natural high for 4 and a half hours; a top secret best selling combo from Brazil with yet another claim that it's the best juice on earth. It even comes with a money back guarantee.
Among the juices that range from $5 to $7.20, there's another top secret recipe with Indian spices in the form of the Bombay Sapphire. If it's all too confusing, you can also make your own combination and come up with your own secret recipe. For a healthier alternative, check out this juice and food bar. They also do coffee by the way.