Feel good about your next coffee or dinner date and head somewhere with green credentials. By choosing an eco-conscious café or restaurant, you’re supporting the true heroes of the foodie world. It’s good karma all-round.
Whether you’re up for solo coffee or feasts with friends, this innovative three-storey foodie favourite is the perfect venue. And it’s pretty darn beautiful too. There’s also a higher purpose at Higher Ground. It’s home to 20 worm farms, with around 100,000 wriggly little guys working hard to turn kitchen scraps into fertiliser. This nutrient-rich worm poo goes straight to their rooftop garden, reducing unnecessary food miles.
Kinfolk is all about healthy, wholesome food and coffee, and the focus is on local, ethical and organic produce. The menu is packed with colourful, aromatic dishes made with the freshest possible ingredients. It’s run by volunteers, and profits are redistributed to partner charities. Choose which project you’d like to support by dropping a coffee bean into your preferred project jar. They really do ‘give a fork.’
Organic Food and Wine Deli
Tucked away at the end of Degraves Street, The Organic Food and Wine Deli is jam-packed with a huge range of vegan, organic dairy and gluten-free goodies. Fuel up on fair trade coffee or grab a ready-to-go vegetable and dahl pie, cheese Kashmir pie, or spelt spaghetti with tofu bolognaise. Their packaging is biodegradable, leftovers are composted and some menu items are served in returnable glass jars.
Another teeny space that’s packed with big flavours and a whole lot of wholesomeness, Seedling offers a huge range of paleo-inspired meals. They’re all 100% gluten-free and handmade on site. Swing by on your lunch break and grab a hearty salad, superfood smoothie bowl or decadent choc chia pudding. Plus, bring along your reusable coffee cup and get a generous 50 cent discount.
Equal parts cafe, wine store, event space and grocery store, Liminal is a slickly designed venue offering a range of foodie options. The menu is extensive and features local, sustainable produce. Start the day with buffalo curd and honey on pumpkin brioche. Move onto a hot chicken roll for lunch or grab a cheeky bottle of vino on the way home from work. There’s even a compact produce store, filled with all kinds of tasty goodness.
Broad Bean Organic Grocer
Set amid the hustle and bustle of Southbank, Broad Bean Organic Grocer exudes goodness. Decked out in warm tones of reclaimed timber, it offers a hand-picked range of wholesome, organic food and eco-friendly products. Browse the well-stocked aisles and pick up a coffee, smoothie or raw sweet treat along the way.
Literally a hole-in-the-wall, Union Kiosk packs a big 100% vegan punch into a tiny space. Pop by for coffee with your choice of alt-milks (including soy, almond or coconut) and a fudgy chocolate brownie. Or make a meal of it with a crunchy on the outside, gooey on the inside jaffle. Choose from classic tomato, (vegan) cheese, and mustard, or animal-free bolognaise and mozzarella. Check out the Vegan guide to Melbourne for more plant-based options.
Queen Victoria Market
Wander the aisles of the historic Queen Victoria Market and load up your bags (reusable, of course) with some of the freshest produce going around. It’s also a haven for locally grown goodies. Newcomer Ripe Cheese offers a carefully curated range of all-Australian cheeses. They’ve also perfected the triple-cheese toastie. Grab a napkin – it oozes gooey mozzarella, tasty vintage cheddar and a smear of blue. This grand old market is also sliding into 2020 with a pretty impressive sustainability commitment. They’re proudly plastic bags and straw-free. But don’t stress if you’ve forgotten your tote. You can pick up reusable bags and keep cups at the Visitor Hub in String Bean Alley. And don’t miss the sustainability market pop up coming up at the end of February for more eco-living ideas.
Hike up six flights of stairs, or zoom up in the lift if you feel so inclined, to Curtin House’s rocking Mesa Verde. The atmosphere is broody and dimly-lit, the flavours bright and zingy. They also take sustainability seriously. The focus is on reducing plastic, minimising waste – and they even forage for herbs in the sunny rooftop garden.
A unique restaurant and retail space, the luxe Calia is a superb mix of international star power and local, down-to-earth goodness. Behind the helm is Chilean-born chef Francisco Araya of Michelin-starred elBulli and Mugaritz fame. Here, the hero is premium sustainable produce: ethically-caught Tasmanian salmon, Yarra Valley caviar, Tasmanian wagyu beef and Japanese green tea to name a few. Calia also drives sustainability practices right through their operations, so it’s fine dining you can feel good about.