Solomon’s Cafe, Highgate
I’m not the healthiest eater in the world (reference: every food photo I’ve ever taken) but one of my closest friends recommended that we try a newbie on Beaufort St, the organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, non-processed food restaurant that is Solomon’s (whew!). My allergy to walnuts is known far and wide to the poor patrons that regularly dine with me, so I decided to give this allergy conscious place a go.
Prior to dining, I already had in my mind that I wouldn’t like raw food. Granted, I’ve never actually given it a try, but I was already biased because I thought nothing could satisfy me like a Butty’s Rib Burger (insert Homer Simpson sounding drool). Chipping into the recent booming health craze, my friend booked for 6pm on a Tuesday night. I got there about 10 minutes early and sat down at our allocated table near the window, subtly taking photos of the drinks, food and specials menu. The first thing I noticed was the astounding range of dishes on offer having ignorantly assumed that a short list of vegetable dishes would mark the majority of the menu. There were a number of specials, plus their usual dishes brining it up to about 9 choices (mains and desserts included). Being the most indecisive person in the world, I ummed and ahhhed until my friend came to consort with me on our chosen options.
Water was delivered to our table and my friend ordered a vegan mango lassi ($9). I love mango lassis. Mango is a never-fail fruit and I’ve always been a sucker for smoothies, so this worked a treat on a warm evening. The waitress considerately asked us if we would like two straws in our drink, which was a very nice gesture. The mango lassi was refreshing and creamy with a strong note of cinnamon. The super drink also contained coconut milk and cardamom.
Cracking onto the mains, I ordered the Sesame and Ginger Chicken Kebabs with cherry tomatoes and a side of quinoa ($32) to satisfy the huge craving for BBQ meats I had been experiencing as of late. The chicken on the skewers was so succulent, a little rosy in the middle and so wonderfully tender. The chicken was generous in size; chunky cubes speared through bamboo sticks and seasoned well with a combination of black and white sesame. It was cooked super healthy too with none of the lardy BBQ trademark fat sizzling off these skewers. There were four skewers arranged nicely on the plate; juicy tomatoes buried beneath them. The quinoa cubes were also delicious; crusty on the outside, dense and crumbly inside. I’ve never had quinoa before, but I found it lovely, with an earthy, nutty flavour. Quinoa’s texture is a little like rice, but a lot lighter on the stomach.
My friend had the Solomon’s Salad of Organic Chicken Breast, Quinoa and Brown Rice Salad ($28) which was huge (“you’re having a chicken night”, our waitress proclaimed hilariously). A mountain of quinoa and brown rice was heaped on her plate. Her chicken breast strips were drier than my kebab cubes, but were still generous in quantity through the dish. The quinoa was extremely filling, so much so that there we had to share the dish. This appears to be a common occurrence with the people I dine with – perhaps it’s my incessant hungry eyes on their dish which results in food donations being contributed my way. The salad was a touch tangy, a slight acidity from an Asian lemon-based dressing incorporated subtly into the quinoa. Florets of broccoli decorated the plate. I kept on piling in the mouthfuls, appreciating the occasional crunch from a wayward almond. So very good.
The waitress recommended we try the chocolate banana raw cake next, so we ordered one to share. After grilling the poor waitress about whether it had any walnut content, she returned to assure me that my life wasn’t at stake in consuming this raw cake. The raw cake was a regular sized slice with a chunky base of almonds and cashews that broke apart quickly. The chocolate banana portion of the cake was velvety and ice cold, the consistency halfway in between a custard and a light mousse. It was infused with a strong scent of coconut which was a little overpowering for me. While I didn’t mind the cake, I still think my personal preference would side with a gluttonous biscuit-and-cream-cheese baked cake. I don’t think I’m a true convert to raw food as of yet!
In saying that, my foray into the health food world was a surprisingly enjoyable experience. The only slight downside was there was a 30 minute wait between getting our mango lassi and our mains, our impatience exacerbated by the fact that both of us were starving. In saying that, the food was genuinely delicious, parading some tasty flavours and defying my preconceived notion that healthy food is bland and boring. The ladies that served us throughout the night were bright and super friendly, quick on their feet and with their hands, always a smile on their faces. The place was pretty packed by the time we left, a true testament of the great food and service offered at Solomon’s. I was surprisingly satisfied by the quantity and quality of Superfoods on offer, though I did think it was a bit on the pricy side – the costs so high perhaps due to the amount of work that goes into making sure everything on the menu is an advocate of healthy eating! A must try for the health-food nuts and those who want to give it a go!
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Address: 487 Beaufort Street, Highgate 6003
- Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7am to 10pm.
- Gourmet health foods decorate the front counter, including detox beverages and kale chips (love that stuff!).
- If you feel like something different for your birthday celebrations, Solomon’s can also do whole raw cakes (email them for info).
- Split billing also available!
- Solomon’s takes reservations via email/phone. Whilst there appears to be not a lot of room inside the little joint there is also a section at the back for larger parties.