Organic, dairy free, gluten free, raw food, vegan, paleo… these words will either make you roll your eyes or sit up and pay attention thinking “hey that’s me!” There are people out there with genuine food allergies that cause them days of what are sometimes debilitating symptoms. One of Australia’s biggest hip hop artists, Drapht aka Paul Reid is one of these people. Sick of feeling like a “problem customer” when ordering food to meet his needs and realising that others probably feel the same, Paul saw a gap in the market that he and his sister Alisa could fill by opening Beaufort street’s newest café – Solomon’s. Paul says that “Solomon’s will be focusing purely on a particular list of natural fresh foods, good fats, and oils that we need on a daily basis in order to heal and feed the body and mind”.
The interior of the café is deceiving. At first it seems like a small shop front café but it actually extends all the way to the back where there is another section and an outdoor area. They have renovated this space to bring it back to it’s original look with exposed brick as far as the eye can see and exposed floor boards and ceiling beams adding to the “natural” feel of the place. It’s all quite symbolic really!
Feeling like a problem customer when requesting “gluten free” is something my sister knows all too well. As a sufferer of Coeliac disease she see’s the eye rolls of wait staff who think she is probably “just someone on a fad diet”. As she says, “if I could eat bread – I WOULD!” To finally be able to look at a menu and know she can order anything was like being a kid in a candy store. The stress of ordering was finally lifted!
Prices range from $12 for either a fruit salad with coconut and mint or vanilla coconut, chia seed pudding up to $22 for grilled salmon served with seasonal greens and a poached egg. There are also plenty of great options for a “make your own” style breakfast.. and yes.. bacon IS on the menu.
I am a sucker for a good mushroom dish so imagine my joy at seeing a gourmet mushroom bruschetta ($18) on the menu! It was served on top of Solomon’s in house baked chia seed and quinoa bread. This dark, pumperknickel coloured bread had a rich earthy flavour to it but toasting seemed to have made it quite crumbly. The medley of mushrooms included raw enoki and sautéed portabellos (from what I could identify!) with shreds of kale tossed throughout. It had been just blanched, so it still had some crunch and was packed with flavour that lets your know you’re getting plenty of vitamins. The chilli jam had a fair bit of kick to it – perfect for my non-existent chill threshold!
Sarah went with the “make your own” option ordering nitrate free bacon ($6), red lentil and sweet potato hash ($5), poached egg ($3), slice of their gluten free bread (which the same as what I had – chia see and quinoa) – ($3). The hash was the star here. Mixed with dill and lemon zest it was a surprise in flavour. The bacon tasted like normal bacon – which might not sound that interesting but when you order bacon – you want that smokiness and saltiness. It didn’t taste weird because it was “nitrate free” is what I am trying to get at. Sarah did comment that whilst she enjoyed the bread for something different, what she really loves is when she gets gluten free bread that tastes like normal bread. I would love to see if Solomon’s could have a crack at this since they have nailed everything else!
The coffee used is Karvan, which is a local roaster I have not heard of before. They have even won awards! Our coffee came out quickly and was quite nutty in flavour with a creamy texture right to the last mouthful. I also ordered a liver cleansing juice, which at $9 was the only thing I really raised my eyebrows at the price of. But is that the price you pay for good quality organic food?
One of the things that struck me about Solomon’s was how friendly and unpretentious the service was. If I am going to be honest – I expected the opposite. Every person who served us was passionate about the food, the concept and the customer’s happiness without being all preachy about it. I especially enjoyed my chat with one of the staff about our love of chilli after she offered us a try of their new chilli jam!
Solomon’s isn’t just about catering to those with food allergies; it’s also about making food available that is free of additives and other nasties. Whether you choose a certain diet for health reasons or medical reasons… it doesn’t matter because Solomon’s is really just about serving food that is good for everyone’s health… without the eye rolling.
487 Beaufort St, Highgate
Breakfast served Tues – Fri from 8am & Weekends from 7am
Originally published on WA Today, 2nd Aug 2013