Best of the Gold Coast 2018: 7 healthy food cafes in the city

SPRING cleaning your diet doesn’t have to be a chore.

Here’s seven cafes on the Gold Coast that make healthy eating a piece of cake (or refined-sugar-free slice).

Caffe Republic

Shop 1, Bronberg Plaza 150 Slatyer Ave, Bundall

With nine years under their svelte belt, you can count on Caffe Republic to get you on the right track.

“We work closely with local health professionals — gym owners, personal trainers, doctors, nutritionists, naturopaths, producers and suppliers,” owner Peter Dufty says.

“We set trends based on feedback and research and we’re very well known for our extensive menu and experimental specials board. Often the fact that our food is healthy is overshadowed by the fact that it just tastes so damn good.”

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media_cameraCauliflower cheese waffles from Caffe Republic. Picture: Jerad Williams

Case in point: cauliflower cheese waffles and braised beef cheek benedict.

“Both are uber delicious, low carb and tick the keto box. As a healthy alternative to hollandaise we have golden aioli made with cashews and our house turmeric paste.”

And then they went and did this for breakfast: “We have a vegan Coco Whip burger,” Peter says.

“It’s a vegan doughnut stuffed with Coco Whip and berries and smothered in vegan Nutella fudge sauce served on top of our raw, activated granola.”

media_cameraVegan breakfast doughnut from Caffe Republic. Picture: Jerad Williams

Nude Sisters Whole Food Kitchen

3/90 Markeri Street, Mermaid Waters

From pretty pastel plates to plant-powered menu, this sweet suburban spot is as wholesome as it gets.

“We focus on locally sourced fresh produce and we are a 100 per cent vegetarian café,” manager Loren Telfer says.

media_cameraNude Sisters Whole Food Kitchen, Mermaid Waters.

She recommends getting an all-in-one health hit from their green breakfast bowl brimming with spinach, kale, broccolini, roasted almonds, avocado, quinoa, lemon, beetroot labneh and a poached egg.

“You can also order it vegan with hummus and tofu scramble,” Loren says.

“It contains healthy fats, protein and complex carbohydrates, which are essential for a healthy diet, and it’s so delicious.”

Fans of Nude Sisters should stay tuned, with the cafe currently planning some special vegetarian events.

media_cameraSome of the treats at Nude Sisters Whole Food Kitchen

Niche & Co.

4/449 Golden Four Drive, Tugun

The continued popularity of original bowls at this Tugun favourite show the purple berry is no fad.

“The goodness and health benefits associated with the antioxidants and vitamin content of acai proves otherwise,” says Niche & Co. Owner Haines Osborne.

“Here you can eat a bowl made from the pure berries (no added nasties) local banana and house-pressed apple juice. With a variety of granolas for the fussiest foodie and toppings to drool over, it’s easy to see why so many people eat this epic superfood on the daily.”

The cafe’s vegan spin on eggs benny is also a hit.

Gold Coast eatery Niche and Co has created the city’s first vegan eggs

Gold Coast’s first vegan eggs

“Designed around our signature house-made coconut and almond vegan egg, it proves that eating vegan can be fun and extremely delicious, but also leave you feeling like you haven’t missed out on anything on your friend’s plate,” Haines says.

media_cameraThe vegan eggs benedict at Niche & Co, Tugun.

“What blows us away is the amount of new, innovative products in the plant-based market that are amazing replacements for everyday food consumables. The widest array of non-dairy milks, cheeses, yoghurts and proteins are all readily available. Three of our favourites are our house-made coconut vegan feta, pure coconut yoghurt and our creamy Milkadamia macadamia nut milk latte.”

Goji Granola Bar & Café

7/60 Santa Cruz Blvd, Clear Island Waters

Goji is all about “hiding” the healthy in ever-more-enticing creations.

“We make healthy food fun,” says owner Monica Pirotta.

“Our goal is to remake all your favourite desserts and treats into vegan, dairy-free Coco Fluff that you can put on top of your favourite smoothie bowls or have on its own.”

The bowls are the bestseller.

media_cameraGoji Granola Bar & Cafe’s soft-serve and granola bowls with vegan churros.

“You can go as crazy as you like. Top them with Coco Fluff, vegan churros, Oreo crumbs, vegan fruit loops, sprinkles or our homemade caramel sauce.”

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Monica also reckons they’ve found a rival for avo on toast: edamame on toast.

“Edamame is a Japanese soybean that you usually see in sushi places. It is not that big yet in Australia, but we think it’s a great alternative to the classic avo. Edamame is a great source of protein, iron and calcium, and it’s gluten free too. We smash it with truffle oil and serve it on crusty sourdough toast with poached eggs on top.”

Cardamom Pod

1/2685-2689 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach

3/3 Brolga Ave, Southport

Nutritionists tell us to “eat the rainbow” and that could be this plant powerhouse’s motto.

Head to the Brickworks cafe for impossibly beautiful a la carte dishes and hit up Broadbeach for wholesome lunch and dinner options (try the rainbow party salad), plus weekend a la carte breakfasts.

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media_cameraFrench Toast at Cardamom Pod Picture: Jerad Williams

While most dishes are sprinkled with pretty petals, natural ingredients such as blue spirulina, pink pitaya, turmeric, ube (purple yam) are responsible for the eye-catchings hues.

To sweeten the deal, the Broadbeach base incorporates Mylk Bar, serving up sundae-style sensations with no gelatine, eggs, milk products, sugar, preservatives or anything artificial.

media_cameraBanana and walnut pancakes at Cardamom Pod. Picture: Jerad Williams

Marie Anita’s

2364 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

There has never been a trace of gluten, processed sugar or dairy to sully this organic Mermaid cafe with its nutrition-packed menu and secret back garden.

In the 12 months since its move from Burleigh, co-director Maz James says the ever-popular buckwheat pancakes have never been off the menu.

“People love the mung bean burritors for lunch with wild rice and our chickpea smash on activated bread is really taking off too,” she says.

“We have people who come in just for that.”

media_cameraHouse made tumeric bread, free range eggs, sauteed organic greens, avocado, organic living sprout medley at Marie Anita’s. Photo by Richard Gosling

Every Tuesday and Saturday mornings, there are art classes in the garden and on the second Thursday of every month, you can listen to — or recite your own — original poetry over a vegan pizza and some befitting BYO from 6:30pm to late.

Bread connoisseurs travel from Byron to Brisbane to buy armloads of Marie Anita’s specialist and artisan breads.

“They take it home and freeze it and come back when they run out,” she says.

“We’re also doing a lot of wholesale breads now for other cafes and caterers.”

The welcoming back garden is gaining notoriety as a laid-back functions venue, quiet and breezy for summer days and magically fairy-lit at night.

BSKT

4 Lavarack Road, Nobby Beach

There’s been a subtle seasonal menu change at this vibrant Nobbys beachside corner, founded as a destination for delicious, healthy food food five years ago.

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Amid the antioxidant, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and protein-rich superfoods, manager Rachael Ierna recommends the lobster tail tacos and the miso salmon — “just delicious,” Rachael says.

Good news: due to popular demand, the 12-hour sticky pork and slow-braised beef cheeks are going nowhere.

media_cameraBSKT Breakfast Jar: Stewed apple and rhubarb, chia seeds, veganola and creamy protein yoghurt and Navajo Native Breakfast/ fried free range eggs, BSKT beans, avocado and tomato salsa with basil essential oil on native flat bread. Photo: Kit Wise

For breakfast, there’s a new southwest spiced tofu scramble on charcoal sourdough but the chefs know not to mess with BSKT’s hands-down, all-time favourite, its Navajo native breakfast: free range eggs with BSKT beans, avo and tomato salsa with lemon myrtle oil on native flat bread.

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“We get people who order that in the afternoons as well,” Rachael says.

BSKT’s Friday and Saturday nights are taking off, with changing share or create your own menus and new cocktails which can be sampled in the Friday evening happy hour from 5pm-6pm.

BSKT (hip for biscuit in case you still haven’t worked it out) also has its own range of wholefood products: vegan protein bars, chocolate and designer granola and opens its raw bar on weekends from 6am for takeaway coffees and cocowhips.

You can also head upstairs for early morning yoga, well worth the early rise just to see the sun come up over the sea.

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