Today's post is written in the spirit of recognising great veggie food on my doorstep, and I hope you'll agree that I'm starting with a delightful example.
|Eden's Salad Bar, Subiaco|
Eden's Salad Bar used to have two stores, the original cafe in Subiaco and a slightly smaller store in Nedlands. The Nedlands branch closed at the end of last year, but the Subiaco one is a 15-20 minute walk from one of my workplaces. I don't buy my lunch regularly, but if I do, it's a pretty convenient option.
Over the years, I have tried a number of Eden's lunch meals. The most basic is to create your own salad, wrap or roll using their salad bar (prices starting at $5.95). This has the advantage of being fully customisable and drawing on a huge range of salad vegetables, grains and proteins (both veggie, like chickpeas, and meat, like chicken). However, it's never got me too excited and I don't tend to utilise it on a regular basis. If they start providing quinoa, grilled tofu and marinated kale, I might change my mind, but at present the options don't extend quite that far.
|Chargrilled eggplant burger.|
The nice thing about Eden's is there is far more to choose from than just the salad bar. The lunch menu includes a range of vegetarian and vegan burgers (all roughly $10), including the chargrilled eggplant above, a field mushroom option, and several veggie patties (lentil; chickpea, cauliflower and cashew; spicy bean). You can also add stand-alone veggie patties ($4.95) to a salad of your design, or do the same with marinated tofu skewers ($5.95). I have tried both of the tofu flavours on option - peri-peri and satay - and enjoyed them both.
|A long lunch break with a side of marking.|
If you wanted to stop by for breakfast, there are lots of bread options (including a wholewheat pumpkin bread that sounds lovely), some of which are vegan; a mushroom stack; poached eggs; muesli and yoghurt or milk; and daily muffin specials, many of which are vegan. The prices are fairly reasonable, starting at $3.95 for bread and muffins and rising to $10 - $15 for the savoury options.
The truth is, though, that my favourite Eden's choices are from the drinks and snack menus. They have a range of juices and milk-free smoothies, and also offer almond and soy milk for use in hot drinks and milk smoothies. I am yet to utilise the almond milk option because their green smoothie ($5.95 for regular / $6.95 for large) is probably my favourite commercial green smoothie of all time. It combines a hefty dose of spinach with lime, apple and mango and gives an incredibly thick and creamy result. Even without other purchases, this smoothie has enticed me to make a 30 minute round trip walk from work to pick it up!
I find it increasingly difficult to justify buying vegan baked goods and snacks, because usually I can make the same thing at home for a reduced cost. Sometimes, though, I convince myself I need to "test" the commercial versions to see how they compare to my own, and of course there are weeks when my own baking is absent and a bought option is useful.
|Vegan lemon, poppy seed and squash muffin|
Over time, I have managed to try several of the vegan muffins Eden rotates through. Their lemon, poppy seed and squash muffin is creative and delicious, as is the apple and zucchini muffin that comes topped with walnuts.
|Vegan apple and zucchini muffin, topped with walnuts|
There are also raw vegan snacks, including truffle balls (in flavours such as sesame peanut caramel) and slices. One of my most recent purchases was the raw vegan lemon slice, which was impressive in marrying tart citrus with just enough sweetness.
|Raw vegan lemon slice|
Given my positive comments, the reasonable prices and the close proximity to where I work, you may be wondering why I haven't raved about Eden's before. There are just two downsides to the cafe. The first is limited seating, with roughly 6 small tables inside and a similar number of larger tables outside. This isn't a huge problem given many people take food away, but it makes it hard to guarantee a seat if you plan to eat in.
The second downside is in the opening hours. Currently, Eden's are open from 8am to 3pm Monday to Friday. This precludes any weekend or dinner visits, which is a shame.
Overall, though, Eden's Salad Bar has a cheerful, casual persona and an extensive and delicious selection of veggie options. I am glad to finally share some with you!
Update 1st February 2014: After I posted the above, Eden's made contact to thank me for the review and to say that they will be updating their menu to include some new salads - such as quinoa, purple kale, roast pumpkin, sunflower seeds and pepitas with a spicy pomegranate dressing; toor dahl, broccoli and fresh mango with a chilli/lime dressing; zucchini noodle 'pad thai' with tofu and peanuts; and marinated baked tofu as a salad bar option. They also have a new green smoothie featuring banana, coconut water, kale, chia and dates. I love the sound of all of these additions and shall have to visit again to test them out!
Eden's Salad Bar is located at 151 Rokeby Road, Subiaco. Their phone contact is 6380 2000 and their Facebook page has a picture of their menu. They are also highly reviewed on Urbanspoon.
Do you find yourself forgetting about cafes / restaurants in your local area?