Only goodness is served and that's how you'll feel
Warren & Holt, located street side and a stone's throw from Marrickville station, is a whole food cafe serving up nutritious meals full of flavour. Husband and wife duo, Mat and Sophie, opened Warren & Holt nearly three years ago, with a focus on serving functional food free from refined sugars and oils, free from preservatives and also allergen friendly. Many of the dishes are gluten-free and dairy-free or can be modified as such.
The cafe is a passion project of Mat and Sophie, who conceptualised the idea after a health scare in the family a few years ago. You can see the passion and love behind the cafe from the food, to the staff and even down to the decor. The cafe is light and airy and filled with greenery. You feel a sense of wellness when you step through the door. Curved brick walls have been painted white and are adorned with hanging planters and suspended shelves holding potted plants. The ceilings are high, maximising the sense of space in the cafe. Suspended beam lights and hanging bulbs assist in illuminating the space, however, the glass-wall shop-frontage allows natural light to pour inside. Alternating wooden and black, tables and chairs, sit on a polished concrete floor. Open-shelves float above the counter space in the kitchen area and coffee, vegetables and various foods line the shelves in a tantalising display of what's to come in the meals. The kitchen area is open-planned, allowing patrons to witness the creation of their dishes.
The service is friendly and the ambience inside the cafe is warm. Drink orders were taken as we were seated. I ordered my standard, double espresso, which was delivered promptly. The espresso was topped with a velvety crema - the sign of a talented barista and a great coffee bean. The beans are sourced from Single O, a Surry Hills establishment priding themselves in ethically sourced beans. The coffee tastes as good as it looks (there's no room for mistakes with espressos and the barista delivered faultlessly). My friend ordered a cappuccino which was also velvety smooth and full of flavour.
As our coffee orders were delivered our food orders were taken. The choice on the All Day menu (which is the menu on offer for the weekend) has something for everyone, without being overwhelming. The menu is appealing and while glancing around at other diner's meals, I knew I couldn't go wrong with anything I ordered. You will find variations of the bagel, bacon and egg roll, smashed avocado, granola, fritters (theirs are kale!), and standard eggs on toast. There is even miso broth. For those who visit often, or who just like to be surprised - ask for the "off-menu dishes" which were designed by head chef Joey Ingram to keep the food on offer interesting for the regulars.
I settled on the Breakfast Bowl, which comes with beetroot boiled eggs, salmon, seasonal pickles, house-made ricotta with sprouted quince and zucchini toast. This meal is gluten-free, which is how I predominately eat. Though I am also mainly dairy-free, ricotta tends to be low in lactose so I decided to not substitute it from the meal. My friend settled on the Topsy-Turvy Hotcake which consists of poached quince, walnut and raisin upside hotcake with mocha butter.
The sign of an efficient cafe is receiving food while you're still consuming your drink. Such is the efficiency you will see at Warren & Holt. The food arrived, a kaleidoscope of colours danced before our eyes, presented in stone crockery. The dishes almost look too good to eat. Head chef, Joey Ingram, has recently taken the lead at Warren & Holt and he's on a mission to prove that whole-foods are delectable - without refined sugars, preservatives or any other bad stuff - as they come, in their purest form. My salivating mouth took over my eyes and I indulged in the dish. An explosion of flavours burst in my mouth as I took my first bite. The food is farm-fresh and you can taste how nourishing it is for your body and mind.
The Breakfast Bowl was quite satisfying in a way that energised you - not making you so full that you became sluggish. In fact, it sustained me all afternoon. I tried my friends Topsy Turvy Hotcake - another tantalising taste. If you are really hungry and keen to try more on this wonderful menu, make sure you and your friend order a meal each and a serving of the hotcakes to share, however, the hotcake is more than enough as a meal on its own.
The team at Warren & Holt have designed a menu that focuses on local, seasonal (and where possible, organic) foods and sustainable practices. They have also partnered with a nutritionist to develop a nutrient-dense menu. The seafood is caught wild, the meat and eggs are sourced ethically, and unrefined good fats are used to make the meals. For those following the I Quit Sugar movement, the absence of sugar comes like a dream. Furthermore, Mat and Sophie do not use any chemicals, toxins or pesticides. Even their cleaning products are chemical-free! Having recently watched the Netflix documentary, Stink, I was thrilled to learn this.
Head chef, Joey Ingram, has done a marvellous job creating dishes that are both wholesome and delicious. Joey has had nearly two decades of experience at some of Sydney's hatted restaurants and he has arrived at Warren & Holt energised by the challenge to provide delicious, nutritious food and has the techniques and skill-set to deliver. Joey joining the team has also resulted in favourite made-in-house items available for purchase for customers to take home including; maple granola mix, triple nut butter, kimchi and aged chilli paste.
For those already part of the whole foods movement - get excited. For the sceptical out there who think food needs to be doused in sugar, oil, preservatives and salt? I challenge you to dine at Warren & Holt. Joey and the team will exceed your expectations. Food that nourishes your body will also nourish your mind, the whole philosophy behind Warren & Holt. Upon finishing my meal, and lingering for as long as possible, I regretfully left this unassuming, suburban cafe of delights feeling like I had just discovered Sydney's best-kept secret - which I am so excited to share with you.
Warren & Holt is open for breakfast, brunch and lunch 7 days a week. Monday - Friday, 7 am - 3 pm, with weekday mornings and a weekday lunch (from 11 am) menu. Saturday and Sunday, 8 am - 3 pm, offers the All Day menu. Marrickville train station is less than 300m walk away and there are ample side streets (or right out front if you're lucky!) to park if you drive.
Sophie and Mat (owners) and Joey (Head Chef). Photo courtesy of Warren & Holt Facebook page.