Pimp My Plate #12 – Mona Vale

PIMP MY PLATE is my weekly series of reviews of cafés and restaurants in city and regional areas. My food challenge to have my lunch-or-brunch plate pimped for $18 or less.

ROUGH & BARE Wholefood Kitchen

If you’re heading in a northerly direction towards Mona Vale Beach, take your tastebuds on a detour, and make a quick left turn off busy Pittwater Road into Waratah Street. Take another right turn and you’ll find ROUGH & BARE squeezed down the end of Bungan Lane.

It’s a detour for your consciousness as well as your tastebuds, because this kitchen is as committed to sustainable farming practices, as it is to serving fresh produce.

The philosophy of ROUGH & BARE is to ‘create meals the way nature intended – stripped back, nourishing and wholesome.’ And to ‘serve the best quality, organic, pasture-fed and wild caught food’. Yes, please!

ROUGH & BARE are catering to a healthy clientele with a menu ‘rich in ingredients like meat, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruit’ rather than catering exclusively for a gluten-free or vegetarian clientele.

That energy flows into their hospitality too – staff at ROUGH & BARE are friendly, happy, happy to please you, and professional.

Their menu plates hover around $20 + so I chose the option nearest my budget, the Heirloom Vegetable Salad, with Seeded Crackers and Salmon Pâté ($19.90), although I wasn’t really in the mood for a salad, after a tough yoga session that morning.

That is, until I saw my plate of harvest of heirloom vegetables arrive, looking as vibrant and fresh as if they’d been plucked out the soil only minutes ago.

The salad was sensational – a colourful harvest of young heirloom carrots, white and red radish, sliced fennel bulb, and cucumber – served with two dips: beetroot, and sweet potato. The vegetables were fresh, crunchy, hydrating and satisfying.

Their Seeded Crackers are the ‘bizness’ and are made on site. Smeared with salmon pâté they are an instant palate pleaser – crunchy, chewy, and textured, using a delicious mixture of activated nuts and seeds including buckwheat, chia, millet, quinoa and sorghum. It’s worth a drive just to eat these!

I also ordered a Golden Latte ($6.50), containing turmeric. It arrived with a tiny bowl of honey, and a complementary bliss ball. Thank you!

Now to my score … the only thing that pulled my dining experience back from a top score were the flies. No one likes being buzzed by flies while they eat. It was an unseasonably hot day and every window and door was open. Maybe they don’t use an electric bug zapper for philosophical reasons, and I wasn’t going to get into a debate about that when everything else they do is so right. It’s worth taking a look at their website to read more about the ingredients they use and their food philosophy.

This café will become a must-stop whenever I’m in the Northern Beaches area – the beach may have to wait.

RATED: Pimped!   FOOD: 4.8/5
VALUE: 4/5   ATMOS: 4/5   VIBE: Fresh is best
ROUGH & BARE Wholefood Kitchen – 1/1 Bungan Lane, Mona Vale, NSW

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