Food review: Cardamom Pod night menu

3/3 Brolga Avenue, Southport Ph: 0424 251 008

Green is the new black!

Taking inspiration from world cuisine, plant-based eatery Cardamom Pod Brickworks has introduced summer dinners on Friday and Saturday nights.

There’s a casual beach vibe to the venue and service; Owned by Sean and Manju Pinnell, Cardamom Pod is perfect for a balmy summer dinner. Relaxed, even a little ‘boho’, with bifold windows open to the breeze and vaulted ceilings ensuring coolness, the dining area is overlooked by a large henna Krishna gracing one wall.

Brickworks shoppers have toddled off home, so there’s plenty of parking space.

The real drawcard, though, is the food.

Fresh, light and plant-driven, the restaurant uses only organic grains, nuts and pulses, pure nut oils, with all dishes dairy and animal product free.

Based on a philosophy of food as pro-active medicine, we enjoy the flavours of the world recreated for a new audience, a journey of enriching both body and spirit.

Conscious eating and healthy cuisine does not mean sacrificing flavour. Instead, dehydration and the use of spices and chilli in sauces and mousses pique interest on the palate.

Not only does the menu showcase the freshest locally sourced ingredients, clever food combinations as well as excellent preparation and cooking techniques, it’s quite beautiful.

A pair of zucchini flowers stuffed with pesto and vegan bocconcini sit perkily on a plate awaiting the attack of my fork, acidity balance achieved through an orange tamari reduction using wild citrus oil and plant butter ($16).

Tacos are laden with crispy battered popcorn ‘chicken’, avo salsa, spiced peanuts and sriracha coleslaw ($22).

Koftas made from tapioca, potato and peanut are strewn with roast heirloom carrots, microherbs and pomegranate seeds on a pistachio cream sauce, a dome of coconut basmati pilaf crowned with a flower in a recipe that Chef Vijay Burramukku (ex-Canberra’s Park Hyatt) inherited from his mother ($23).

Vijay tells us too about the dosa stone grinder he’s brought from India, the difference it makes to the consistency of the flour. Labour intensive in preparation, there are no shortcuts.

But it’s Head Chef Manju’s background in interior design and decoration that is written all over the food, the kitchen her studio, the dishes her works of art.

We’ve previously seen her açai ‘Pod Bowl’, a rainbow of colourful fruit, cacao and flowers. Tonight, it’s the ice cream sandwich that carries the kaleidoscope.

Two scoops of vegan salted caramel ice cream sit between stroopwafels accompanied by fresh figs on a bed of dehydrated fruit, petals and chocolate sauce. It’s a playground of textures and flavours – decadently smooth ice cream, caramelly waffle biscuits and sherbet fizz ($12). How can food that’s so good for you taste so fabulous?

Intimate enough for date night or for dinner with friends, the restaurant is BYO. Cardamom Pod Brickworks is a destination that all healthy restaurant-goers need to frequent. It’s next level.

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