Mon – Sat: 6:30am – 4pm
Sun: 7am – 4pm
Coffee: Combi Coffee (Organic Fair Trade Beans)
#cleaneating – the idea of being more mindful of the food’s pathway between its origin and your plate.
“I can’t remember when exactly, but sometime in the noughties there was a strong public campaign to eat clean, organic, raw, vegan, gluten free and much more. Whether pushed by celebrities or driven by a subsection of people rebelling against the use of chemicals in our food source, this so called ‘fad’ wasn’t going anywhere. Whilst I personally don’t agree with celebrities pushing ideas on how to eat, cleaning eating does makes us question how we eat.
The leafy and bayside suburb of Elwood has always taken a strong liking towards organic food with its independent grocers, butchers and food shops. The latest addition is the transformation of the original Combi Coffee on Ormond Road (originally a smaller space located in the middle section of Ormond Road) that is making big waves. Combi‘s owners Penny Loughnan and Anthony Baker have taken their freedom machine (aka their own combi van) from serving coffees out of a combi van at music festivals, to opening stores in Albert Park and Elwood. This year has been the year for bigger and brighter things, instilling further stability in the business by relaunching Combi at a larger location. Still on Ormond Road, the new location is creating an organic food haven for residents and visitors.
Forgetting about the busy nature of this cafe and the slightly complicated and detailed menu, Combi is sticking to their guns in providing only raw food. Gluten is not to be found on the menu, so gluten lovers (like myself) will have to adapt or choose elsewhere. Looking around and seeing the vibrant colours and presentation of the smoothies, electing for the BERRY BELOVED – Raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, acai, lucuma, raw fermented protein powder, coconut flesh, banana, house made nut mylk [$11] was a no brainer.
The smoothie was thick, delicious and full of flavour. Being a berry base, one may expect a sweeter taste. However, I personally took a liking to the less sweet and more dense flavours – such as the coconut flesh – that was combined with the protein powder. It was a natural pick-me-up, and while missing the normal caffeinated hit, it was a healthier approach to starting the day.
The RAW ORGANIC ZUCCHINI SPAGHETTI (GF / V) – Zucchini spaghetti with a creamy cashew sauce, mushrooms, soy beans, tomatoes, fresh herbs, topped with activated nuts [$14] was fantastic and super fresh. The pasta had cunning characteristics to its gluten brother (some points throughout the dish I couldn’t tell the difference) and combined with a creamy cashew sauce and vegetables resulted in a simplistic and oh-so-satisfying dish.
Combi is not a brunch destination I would attend every week, or even once a month. I still love my carbs, possibly a little too much for my own good. What Combi does exceptionally well is providing a positive example of raw food done superbly. The food and drinks offerings are appealing, fresh, tasty, substantial and sustaining. That is an achievement when gluten is absent!”
“My fascination with raw food begins and ends with cold press juices. While I am mildly curious about the translation of dishes into raw-only form, I must admit that the top of my interest remains with the benefits of cold press juicing and limited juice fasting to ‘reset’ the body’s metabolism and ability to process the toxins that we consume on a daily basis. My interest in cold press juices is currently at an all time high, which brought Elwood’s newest cafe Combi to my attention.
The venue touts to be a raw food cafe (not a common site in Melbourne!) and is mysteriously incorrectly marked on Google Maps. Near Jimmy Jamz, this very squashy little space was pouring with people upon my arrival. I managed to find Mr LB perched on the corner of a large communal table, back to back with patrons on an adjacent table.
“I’m confused about this menu!” he says to open the conversation. Indeed it was a little confusing. You see, the volumes of people waiting outside weren’t waiting for a table inside – they were waiting for take-aways. In order to get a table you help yourself to one, decide what you want off their very graphic-heavy menu, order at the counter and then patiently wait. It’s not rocket science, but there’s every chance you could lose your seat if you’re dining alone.
Perusing through the menu, I wasn’t very interested in having a big meal and the smoothies looked quite substantial so I decided on the LIQUID PASSION – Passionfruit, berries, mango, coconut flesh, raw fermented protein powder, house made nut mylk [$12.50] alongside a Raw Passionfruit & Mango cheesecake – activated almonds, coconut, dates, activated cashews, passionfruit pulp, mango cheeks, mesquite, maple syrup, coconut oil [$8.50]. Straight to brunch dessert!
My cheesecake was served immediately and for the same price as a slice of raw cake from Pana Chocolate, the serving size was substantially larger. The cake was light and easy to cut through with a fork. It did not have the regular silkiness of a cheesecake and was sightly more grainy in texture, but the flavours were nutty and milky. The passionfruit pulp was a little dried but I guess this was intentional so that there wasn’t a watery residue left on the cake. I would most certainly come back for guilt-free cake – it was delicious!
My smoothie took a long time to come out (it felt like over 20 minutes!), but I must commend them on presentation. It was a stunning, tropical presentation that made juice sexy. There was some sort of maple-like syrup used to stick shaved coconut to the jar and it was darn delicious! The smoothie itself was not as sweet as I was expecting. In fact, it was not sweet at all and (being a gym buff) the flavour of the protein was one of the first distinct flavours I noticed. The berry and mango flavours were there, however it was not as pronounced as I was expecting or would have liked. The passionfruit pulp was noticeable and gave a bit of crunch to the smoothie.
Overall I found it incredibly filing and savoury. Would I have it again? For sure, given the healthiness of the drink and the price point. Combi brings something to the south side which has been very accessible in the North – vegan friendly, healthy options for dining. The raw food take on this cafe makes it very appealing and interesting to try for a guilt-free brunch or snack.”
Final thought: “Vegan and gluten friendly brunch options in the south side. Raw food only”