Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Raw Kitchen Cafe, Fremantle - lunch with Mel

On Sunday, I was fortunate to have lunch with Mel from Veganise This! She and her family are currently travelling Western Australia, and we managed to meet up on one of her days in Perth.

This is the first time I have met a blogger friend in person, and there is something quite bizarre about meeting someone face-to-face after communicating online over months and years. There is also something a little intimidating about going to meet a new person you have only communicated with indirectly! As it turned out, Mel is as lovely in person as she is on her blog, and I really enjoyed the few hours we spent together.


When deciding where to go, I suggested Fremantle on the basis of its vegan-friendly cafes and merging of heritage buildings with a slight hippy vibe. It is a worthwhile place to wander if you aren't from Western Australia. We ended up choosing Fremantle's Raw Kitchen Cafe as our lunch destination, which I have mentioned a few times before but never actually eaten lunch at (my previous visits have been for snacks and/or drinks).

We arrived shortly before 12.30pm, to a queue of customers out the door of the cafe. It is a deservedly popular spot and I spent most of our time in the queue trying to decide what I would order. Every time a waitress carried a plate past, I would change my mind to the dish in question. Several bowls of zucchini noodles caught my eye, piled high with noodles under marinara sauce, as did raw nachos, pizza, and falafel balls.

Tarragon Salad on the left, and Thai Papaya Salad on the right.

In the end, I ordered straight from the glass-fronted cabinet within the store, asking for a mix of the Thai Papaya Salad and Tarragon Salad. Mel ordered the raw pizza, with sides of the same salads, and we both ordered coffees with nut milk that had been made in store.

My conversation with Mel would have been enjoyable in its own right, but set against this salad...it was a really great lunch. I wanted to dive into this salad bowl. I spent the first few minutes trying to work out what the flavours were, and the rest of the meal trying to work out how they made it taste so good.

Best salad of 2013.

As I couldn't fully decipher the ingredients, and the staff were quite busy on the day we were there, I actually sent an email to ask if they would mind letting me know what was in the salads. I received a helpful reply the next day, and so am able to tell you exactly what made these dishes so good.

The Thai Papaya Salad consisted of green papaya noodles, grated carrots, snow peas, cashews, and fresh coriander, mint and basil, with a dressing of olive oil, Braggs liquid aminos (soy sauce alternative), and various herbs and spices.

Even with the name, which really should have allowed me to work it out, I hadn't realised that it was green papaya that formed the 'noodles' of this salad. I was guessing zucchini, but am now keen to try papaya noodles at home - they were incredible!

The Tarragon Salad had grated beetroot, apple and carrot, walnuts, string beans and sultanas, with a dressing of tarragon, olive oil, cashews, garlic and other herbs and spices. I am guessing that the cashews gave this its slight creaminess, which worked well with the earthy beetroot base.


Despite being busy, our meals were served promptly and the coffees were hot and well made. Mel also reported enjoying her raw vegan pizza, but I will leave discussion of that to her should she wish to review it.

Thank you, Mel, for the opportunity to meet up, and thank you to The Raw Kitchen Cafe for a great lunch and for being so helpful in answering my email enquiry!

Other reviews of The Raw Kitchen can be found at Urban Spoon (our service experience was fine, unlike some of the reviews there).

Have you met any bloggers in person? 
Or eaten green papaya in salad form? 

The Raw Kitchen on Urbanspoon

36 comments:

  1. Mel is a lovely person - lucky you got to have lunch! I'm really hoping my pawpaw trees hurry up and produce fruit, so I can make some nice green papaya salads like this.

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    1. Oh, lucky you having them in your back garden! I hope they hurry up and produce fruit too, and I'll look forward to seeing what you make :-)

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  2. Sounds like a great lunch - Mel is lovely and your choice of cafes sounds like a good one - never heard of papaya noodles before - will make the lunch even more memorable

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  3. Yum Yum Yum. Those salads look delish! I've really got to up my salad game now. I've never tried green paw paw- but it's on the list!

    I've never met any bloggers in person... well not yet! It sounds like fun and I'd be totally up for it :)

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    1. It is definitely worth trying Claire! I really loved it.

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  4. This looks amazing!!!! Johanna held a blog potluck last year and I managed to stuff up the theme - oh well, it was fun to meet Johanna, Cindy, Mike and some other Melbourne bloggers.

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    1. I'm sure no one minded about the theme! How fun that you got to go along.

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  5. It's always exciting to meet with other bloggers and my experiences have all been really positive. What great looking food. I've never been to a raw cafe before but I'd like to give it a try xx

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    1. I would recommend it for the experience if nothing else! And I have loved reading about your experiences meeting other bloggers - it is a really lovely thing.

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  6. I love meeting bloggers IRL. So much fun! I am going to be meeting some new bloggers in Seattle in two weeks at a race. I can't wait! Glad that you got to meet Mel and enjoy lunch. Your salad looks really yummy. I loved all the bright colors in it.

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    1. I'm sure you'll have a great time in Seattle! It's a nice idea combining it with a race event too.

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  7. The salads look so delicious! I have never met any bloggers before :P

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  8. I'm glad you had such a nice lunch!
    A few bloggers that I'd totally love to meet - maybe oneday!
    Never tried green papaya at all!

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    1. Maybe one day indeed - and ditto for the green papaya!

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  9. I was so confused by the orange colour of the papaya salad, but now I see that it's actually largely carrots?? Or is it ripe papaya? I'm so used to papaya salad meaning Som Tam that I'm confused :P

    So surprised that this is the first time you've met a blogger friend in real life! See, you should've come to Canberra before I left :P

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    1. I'd say it was equal parts the papaya and carrot, but given the papaya was light green and largely underneath, and the carrot was bright orange and largely on top, the colour is definitely skewed in an orange direction :-) I've never had Som Tam though so can't comment on similarities / differences to that.

      And yes - I should have! Now you're in Canada, that 5 hour flight seems like nothing :-)

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  10. I love the community that can be made through blogging!

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  11. Thanks so much for making time to meet up and show me around. It was really lovely to meet you in person and I thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to try some delicious raw food (neither of our partners seem that way inclined so it was good to be able to finally experience it). What a good idea to contact the cafe about the ingredients too!

    Thanks also for the transport and the tofu bacon marinated almonds which are so moreish. I know I'll be making them when I get back to my kitchen.

    We had such a lovely time in Perth and have just settled into Kalbarri for a couple of nights before we head to Coral Bay. I was glad to read your review as mine will be a long time coming...

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    1. I wasn't expecting to see you online for a while! Thanks for taking the time to comment, and I am so glad you enjoyed Sunday too (and also the almonds - they are moreish!). It's great to hear you've made it to Kalbarri and have a few days to relax there. I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip and coral bay when you get there, and have a safe journey home at the end of it all.

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  12. How wonderful! I'd love to meet in person some of my fav bloggers, including you, but I can understand feeling intimidated at the same time. I'm glad you had such a great time with your friend! And your lunch sounds incredible! Just looking at the vibrant color has me drooling. Green papaya...I would never have guessed either! Not only do I imagine that the flavors worked beautifully with all those herbs but texturally appeasing as well! I'm def not a multi-tasker. I would have to go to places like this by myself so I can give the dish my full, undivided attention ;).

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    1. You make me giggle Min - I hope you get the chance to try this kind of salad solo for that undivided attention and enjoyment ;) I also hope you get to meet some bloggers in person some time, because that is worth dividing your attention for!

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  13. How neat that you guys got to meet up! The salad looks amazing and so do the cappuccino's!! :)

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    1. Thanks Brandi - it was all fantastic!

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  14. This looks delicious!
    How fun you two got to meet! It is definitely interesting when you meet someone in person that you have known online for a while.

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  15. I've met quite a few bloggers in real life and it's always so much fun!! Sounds like you had a great meal paired with a great afternoon!

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    1. Thanks Joanne - it was exactly that!

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  16. That's awesome that you two had the opportunity to meet up. Looks like it was an amazing lunch. Those green papaya noodles sure sound interesting, and so does that mint/basil combo. I always forget about raw pastas, but they're so easy to make and delicious.

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    1. I know! I am seriously considering a spiraliser now.

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  17. I haven't! But maybe we should hang? :P I love papaya salad - in fact, my Uncles wife is Thai and she taught me how to make an incredible Som Tam! What a great place to eat. Wish there was more veggie eats out there!

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    1. If only you were closer :-) And I am impressed with (and jealous of!) your insider Som Tam salad knowledge. Good family connection ;)

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  18. That's so cool that you got to meet up with Mel! I love her blog as well.

    I've never met another blogger but next time we get to Perth (or London if you are there by then), I'd be awesome to meet you and Mr. Bite! Your blog and travels are always a topic of discussion in our house and we both enjoy following along with you guys.

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    1. You will definitely have to make it to Perth next time you're in Australia - or as you say, London if we end up in that part of the world instead! Your comment is really kind - I love the way you and your husband (and mother in law!) blog together and the way you have your eating and cooking routines set up.

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