55 Brooke Avenue, Chirn Park Ph: 07 5503 0340
‘Move nourish believe.’
It’s the mantra of success, in so many ways, especially when followed by another word: Act.
After a lifetime working in and owning cafes, Evelyn Ellis, with the help of her husband and daughter, decided to follow her dream and open a wholefood café.
“My dream for this café was inspired two years ago when I was making up my 10 year plan with a motivator,” Evelyn told us. “I moved to the Gold Coast in 2006 and, after owning cafés in the industrial areas of Yatala and Ormeau, trying to convert truckies to a healthier lifestyle, I decided that I wanted to open a healthy café in Chirn Park.”
It was the beginning of a journey.
Deciding on the name ‘Meraki’ for the cafe, from the Greek verb ‘to do something with soul, creativity, or love’, Evelyn’s dream slowly took shape with the help of her daughter Ashley Lane, a fitness instructor, and social media personality Nicole Joy.
The gutting and transformation of the former mechanical workshop on the corner of Brooke Avenue in Chirn Park provided the perfect location for a daytime café, sheltered from the bright summer sun by its west-facing position, and warm in winter.
Stepping away from the favoured beachy feel of so many new eateries, Meraki features two huge murals, offset by charcoal and white to tie in with the garage theme.
The mural on the back wall of the café, painted by artist ‘Matty Bro’, features a girl bathing in a glass of fresh fruit. The connotations of soaking up fresh healthy food are obvious. The irony is not lost, however, that it’s a cocktail glass she sits in, nor that her lips are plumped with Botox. Pre-transformation she may be, but the story is attention-grabbing and thought provoking.
Nicole Joy, author of ‘Eat dessert for breakfast’ and ‘Life’s too short for diets’, has devised the menu for Meraki. It features many of her own recipes, such as the Asian-style salad, one of two salads we enjoy for lunch, as well as many raw treats. Burgers also feature for lunch, made on brioche buns with sweet potato chips as sides.
“We focus on raw clean eating,” Evelyn tells us. “We make everything on the premises – cashew cream hollandaise, sauces and dressings, as well as the raw cakes.”
For breakfast, beside the Brekkie super salad, there are ‘big but healthy’ Eggs bene (their way GF and DF), Apple and cinnamon ricotta hot cakes, and the Big Brekkie to keep hungry eaters satisfied.
There are also plenty of ‘naughties’ to enjoy at Meraki, many on the breakfast menu. Chocolate granola with orange, cinnamon and cardamom, chocolate peanut butter smoothie bowl, chocolate protein pancakes…as well as raw treats and bliss balls housed in the ‘naughty corner’ glass cabinet at the front counter.
Gluten and dairy free and wholefood-based these dishes may be, but they are nutritionally dense foods packed with coconut fat and… if it tastes sweet it still is, albeit in a more natural form!
To help you with your meal choices, each menu item has a breakdown of calories, carbs, protein listed beside it – a godsend to informed diners.
Call it having a bet either way or just catering to the market, Meraki boasts that ‘Our menu will cater to every type of eater – whether you are gluten free, dairy free, paleo, vegan and of course, let’s not forget about husband approved meals.’
Good on them. Being none of the above, we still enjoyed our salads. They were both a treat for our tastebuds and a healthy nutritious lunch.
Read more of Marj’s reviews on Good Food Gold Coast foodgoldcoast.com.au