As I get older, I’m valuing my body more and try to treat it as well as I can by keeping active and healthy with what I eat. I try not to be too restrictive with what I eat but I prefer to eat food that is as natural and unprocessed as possible. We’ve hit a #superfood revolution with ingredients such as chia, quinoa and acai being as common on menus as bacon and eggs. But as much as I like all of those things (OK I admit, they’re all present in my kitchen) I’m just trying to eat food which is good for me, or whole foods. Whole foods refers to foods which have had minimal or no processing or refinement prior to consumption. The easiest way to eat this way is to cook food yourself, which I love doing but I also love to go out to eat and try new places. There are a number of places around Brisbane promoting the whole food ethos (Mondo Organics, Plenty, Merriweather Cafe and Felix to name a few) and the latest one is Miss Bliss Wholefoods Kitchen in West End.
As a regular visitor to West End Coffee House, I noticed the opening sign for Miss Bliss go up several months ago across the road where the old fruit and vegetable shop used to be, and also recognised the logo from the Miss Bliss bliss balls which have been popping up in cafes over the last few years. I was intrigued to see a group of elderly gentleman gathered inside, who I later discovered were owner Jacqui’s grandfather and friends. Fast forward to June and word was out that a new ‘healthified’ cafe was opening in West End. With teaser pictures appearing on Instagram of delicious looking chia puddings, seeded toasts with fresh toppings and, of course, bliss balls, I had a feeling I was going to like this place.
Shortly after Miss Bliss Wholefoods Kitchen opened, I made plans with some fellow food bloggers to have breakfast one weekday morning. I had recently returned from being away for almost a month and it was the first time back on the bike in a while. I rugged up as much as I could while trying to still look presentable (need to work on the #cyclechic) and hopped on my bike for the ride to West End. Coming through the Roma St Parklands, it made sense to then go over Kurilpa Bridge which led me to Montague Rd, which is almost dead early in the morning. From there it’s simply a left turn onto Vulture St and up and over the hill to get to Miss Bliss, just before the intersection with Boundary St. There wasn’t any truly visible parking so I locked my bike to a random pole.
My friends were yet to arrive so I took the opportunity to take some photos before they did, as I tend to forget to do so when leaving. The cafe has a natural and slightly unpolished look with the structure of the fruit market and roller doors still intact. An exposed brick wall lines one side and the counter with outdoor bar seating lines takes up the other. Furniture and cabinetry have timber tops and white bases, keeping the look modern but rustic. The natural vibe is furthered with mini plants lining the shelves and mini cacti in the cutest planter boxes placed on tables. It all comes together to create a warm and fresh atmosphere, which is in tune with the cafe concept.
After snapping a few not-so-sneaky photos, I sat down to wait and was brought water and a menu. The cup was Falcon enamelware and the menu was printed on kraft paper…my embarrassingly hipster-esque heart was already lost to this place. I was impressed by the number of options on the all-day menu, all of which I would very happily have eaten. Ranging from simple sweet options of granola and (quinoa) porridge plus a few Acai-based Bliss Bowl options to some substantial savoury options such as the 3 Egg Omelette and the MB Breakfast, essentially a ‘big breakfast’ meal. Additionally, there is a section called Toast ‘n’ Toppings where you have the option of 2 ($12) or 3 ($16) slices of house made nut and seed loaf with your choice of delicious sounding toppings such as natural PB, banana, goji berries or smashed peas, beetroot pomegranate relish. That may sound simple but I think that the bread is essentially a version of the Life Changing Loaf of Bread from My New Roots, which is an incredibly filling and nutrition-dense bread. Owner Jacqui is a qualified nutritionist and her roots show on the menu, which not only clearly marks the vegan and gluten-free options but also those items rich in protein, high in fibre, immunity supporting, good for digestion and filled with healthy fats and antioxidants.
My friends arrived shortly afterwards and after the usual greetings and chat and menu discussion, we got up to order at the counter. I chose the Savoury Bliss Bowl ($17) which was described as seasonal roasted vegetables, quinoa, soft ‘n’ gooey egg, house made pesto, and parmesan. Two of my friends ordered the Wellness Board ($16.50) with soft ‘n’ gooey eggs, sauteed greens, asparagus, sweet potato hummus, pickles, sauerkraut, beetroot relish with house made seed biscuit. I loved the sound of the ‘breakfast tapas’ board and it was a tough choice between the two. My other friend opted for the MB Breakfast ($22) of soft ‘n’ gooey eggs, avocado, organic chicken herbed sausage, crispy speck, sauteed greens, shrivelled tomatoes, sweet potato chips and your choice of bread from organic sourdough, house made gluten free and house made nut & seed loaf. And breakfast means coffee so I ordered my standard long black with milk on the side.
After ordering, Jacqui recognised my friend J who had met her earlier for a launch event and she took us out the back to show us the rest of the cafe and talked about her future plans for the cafe, including wanting to open nights eventually. At the back of the cafe is a booth section with a large black and white print of a photo of Jacqui’s grandfather, great-uncle (the original owner of the fruit market) and friends in that exact spot covering the wall. When the fruit market was still just that, the group gathered and spent their days there and this is Jacqui’s way of ensuring that they can still spend time there together. It’s such a lovely touch and indicative of Jacqui’s strong family and community ties.
Continuing through the back doors is a large sunny outdoor deck area with additional seating and it truly has a welcoming backyard feel. Planter boxes with herbs line the back wall behind a large green bolted door. The strings of lightbulbs overhead make me imagine that come dark, it would be a great spot to spend an evening.
After returning to our table, coffees arrived and my long black was strong and smooth. The lack of bitterness meant that I could drink it easily straight and needed little of the additional milk, which was provided in an adorable amber glass bottle. Providing milk on the side in adorable miniature vessels has become the norm but occasionally I’m particularly taken by some and this was one of them.
Not long afterwards our meals arrived and after the necessary photo snapping and lighting assistance (hashtag foodbloggerlyf), we all dug in. My Savoury Bliss Bowl arrived in a shallow bowl with soft kale leaves and softly poached egg atop a substantial pile of quinoa, with roasted asparagus spears and baby carrot on the side along with a serve of bright yellow fermented sauerkraut and a large dollop of bright green pesto. Sprigs of watercress and shavings of parmesan finished it off. The white of the egg was translucent in the way that slow poached or sous vide eggs tend to have. I eagerly cut into the egg and was not disappointed to find that it was in fact soft and gooey with the yolk slowly oozing out. Yolk porn at its finest. The quinoa was cooked slightly al dente (if you can describe quinoa like that) such that it was ever so slightly crunchy and the vegetables were roasted just to the point that they still had crunch. I loved the flavoursome pesto and the way it and the egg bound all of the elements together. The unexpected kraut added a nice tang to the dish. Overall it was a great dish and the type of one where you feel just plain good and satisfied afterwards from. It’s very similar to the sort of dish I’d make at home and I’m loving seeing these breakfast salad bowls, or abundance bowls, on menus these days. Because grains + vegetables + eggs = greatness.
|Savoury Bliss Bowl|
The other meals looked equally appetising. The Wellness Board didn’t actually arrive on a board but honestly, is anyone else over this wooden board trend? Love the look but practically speaking, it makes for difficult eating and things just slide off. Plus is anyone else concerned about how hygienic they are? Anyhow, the array of things on the Wellness Board appeared on plates but still very attractively plated and very vibrant in colour. All of the components looked absolutely delicious and there were no complaints from my friends. It didn’t look overly filling but given that the cracker was densely packed with seeds and nuts, I suspect it was still quite satisfying. The MB Breakfast had everything as described, including two eggs, half an avocado and one juicy looking sausage. The slow roasted cherry tomatoes were declared the best tomatoes she’d ever had.