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If someone were to ask me the latest trend when it comes to food, I would say there has been a significant shift towards healthier choices. It is no longer just the models and gym junkies that are watching what they eat but the average Joe has started looking for healthier options – as is clearly indicated by the number of health-oriented cafés that have sprung up all across town.
212 All Good has embraced this thought of clean eating, but strongly insists that they are not a health café (though one look at the menu and you would think otherwise). The philosophy here is refreshingly different from any other restaurant in the city: every dish has been carefully thought out using ingredients that are great for your gut. Ingredients have all been locally sourced and they proudly boast that everything is made in house (they do not use anything from a bottle, with the exception of olive oil and balsamic vinegar). This means they make their own hot sauce (not tabasco), their own fresh ketchup (no bottled stuff) and their own tofu-filled version of mayonnaise (without any egg) and all three are quite impressive.
The café feels warm and friendly, with wooden benches and chairs and plenty of open space so you do not feel cramped. The idea is to make it an interactive café, where you can walk around and maybe pick up an adult colouring book and enjoy your time or gently pluck a few leaves from the various herb plants all over the café and add them to your meal. In fact, even at your table, there is a small herb plant if you feel the need to further garnish your salad. The plus here is that there is no soil or dirt – it is grown in coconut husk so you do not have to worry about hygiene.
The café focuses on all-day breakfasts and encourage you to start your day by eating well. There are various types of home-made granola, along with eggs, tofu scramble or fresh fruit bowls. The menu consists of soups, salads, entrées, mains and desserts, all carefully created without any refined flour, sugar or oil.
The kitchen is helmed by Chef Paul Kinny, who is the first to admit this is a bit of a challenge as this is not a vegan or gluten-free or calorie-conscious restaurant but one that adopts a bit of everything and has a nourishing menu that enables you to eat well. The real challenge is to make popular dishes taste familiar with different or even slightly healthier ingredients. For example, there is a pad Thai noodle with all the same flavours except there is no rice noodle; instead, there are strips of tender coconut and carrots. It is an incredible dish – despite there being no noodles, you do not miss them. For the fish tacos, the taco shells are made from buckwheat but still taste incredible, specially with a generous dollop of their home-made hot sauce. They even make their own in-house cola, which is probably the healthiest version of a cola you will find anywhere in the city. Without straying from flavours and textures that are familiar, they have managed to create a very innovative and different menu, giving folks plenty of choice.
The café is open from 8 am till midnight at High Street Phoenix and is ideal for good, tasty and clean food.