A few months ago, I discovered Solomon's Cafe on Beaufort Street in Perth. It is a wonderful place and they do a great job of catering to just about every food need or desire you can imagine. As their website proclaims, the restaurant suits the "common carnivore, vegan, vegetarian, raw foodist, paleo, allergics, food sensitives, GAPS follower and the overall health conscious" (Solomon's Cafe). This is somewhere for everyone.
Much as I love vegan-focused cafes, it is almost more exciting to discover somewhere that caters whole-heartedly to vegan eaters as well as other people. My Dad could enjoy breakfast here. I could invite any friend I can think of and trust they'd find something on the menu just as easily as I could. That's a rather delightful scenario.
My first visit to Solomon's was with my Mum, for breakfast. I knew ahead of time what I would be ordering: the vegan beetroot and cacao crepes topped with in house seasonal jam. The crepes also came with a generous scattering of dehydrated raspberry pieces, coconut, and slivered almonds.
|Vegan beetroot and cacao crepes; $18|
The crepes were everything I had hoped for. Just sweet, with no discernable beetroot taste and plenty of cacao, they were true crepes in thickness (or, more accurately, in thinness) and were complemented perfectly by the jam and raspberry pieces.
My Mum ordered the quinoa porridge with poached apple, pear, and cinnamon, also vegan, which was equally impressive. I tried a spoonful and enjoyed it, and she proclaimed it tasty and filling.
|Vegan quinoa porridge; $14|
As you would expect, all of Solomon's drinks can be made with almond milk or soy milk. They also have a range of caffeine free lattes, including a rooibos red latte, spicy dandy latte and vanilla tumeric latte. At breakfast, I stuck with a straightforward almond milk cappuccino but I did try the vanilla tumeric latte on a subsequent visit. Alas, I found it too milky but I am sure those who avoid caffeine (and perhaps are happier with milky drinks) appreciate the range of latte options.
My subsequent visits were at dinner time, and on both occasions I ordered the "super salad", consisting of kale, white mulberries, coconut and carrot, with a citrus and apple cider vinaigrette and some sesame seeds. The fact I ordered it twice, despite many other appealing vegan dishes (quinoa sushi, raw zucchini pasta...), speaks to how good it was. It might be my favourite kale salad ever! My focus on being sociable and the low nighttime lighting mean I have no photographs, but the presentation was also marvelous, with the salad served as a towering cone of kale.
My raving about Solomon's is all well and good, but I know most of you can't pop out to try their menu for yourselves. That's where my own take on beetroot and cacao pancakes comes in. As soon as I had eaten my breakfast crepes, I knew I wanted to create a version of the dish at home. Crepes are beyond me (my pancake flipping skills are not good!) but I thought I could have a go at pancakes.
This dish has a number of differences to the Solomon's equivalent. In addition to making thicker pancakes, I added a generous serve of raspberries and omitted the jam and coconut / almond toppings. I think I used a little more cacao too; my final result was almost fudgy! In an ideal world, I would recommend trying Solmon's crepes and this recipe, but if you can't access the former...I can endorse this as a worthy alternative.
Beetroot and cacao pancakes
These pancakes turn simple ingredients into a decadent breakfast, dessert, or dinner-dessert
Makes 4 to 6 pancakes (depending on size), to serve 2 to 3
Food processor required
For best results, prepare the mixture at least 30 to 60 minutes before cooking your pancakes
Author: Bite-sized thoughts, inspired by the beetroot and cacao crepes of Solomon's Cafe
~200g beetroot flesh, cooked and cooled (see note below)
3/4 cup plain flour (I am sure gluten-free flours could work)
1/4 cup cacao
1 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
Extra oil, for cooking
1 - 3 tbsp maple syrup, to taste
1/2 - 3/4 cup raspberries, fresh or thawed from frozen
In a food processor, process the beetroot until smooth. Add the flour and cacao and process to incorporate. With the food processor running, gradually add the milk.
Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the water, chia seeds, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and vanilla. If you like your pancake batter sweet, also add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup; otherwise reserve for topping the pancakes after cooking.
Transfer the pancake batter to a medium bowl and leave in the fridge to stand for at least 30 to 60 minutes.
Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and spray or lightly drizzle with oil. Ladle 1/3 to 1/2 cup batter into the pan (to make one pancake) and tilt the pan to distribute evenly. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface and the mixture has firmed up, about 4 minutes.
Flip and cook for approximately 4 minutes on the other side. Repeat for the remaining batter.
Serve with raspberries and a drizzle of maple syrup.
I used the new vacuum-sealed pre-cooked baby beetroot made by Love Beets, which came as a bonus item in my recent vegetable box delivery. If you are starting with fresh beetroot, allow time to boil it ahead of time. Chopped into pieces, it can take 30-60 minutes for beetroot to cook.
Solomon's Cafe is located at 487 Beaufort Street, Highgate. Their menu is available online at http://solomonscafe.com.au/ and they can be contacted on (08) 9328 7995. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday.
Have you adapted any cafe / restaurant meals at home lately?