52 Madden Grove, Burnley, Richmond
So, I finally got around to visiting Serotonin. I’ve been putting it off for aaaaages because:
a) it’s a shit to get to from my place, and
b) it just seemed a bit bright and shiny and happy and positive for me.
But, overdue for a lady date, my lovely friend suggested Serotonin, and I figured “why not?” I probably wasn’t going to go on my own! I figured I’d kick back and relax with some good food and great company after a looooong week, and not worry about photos or anything this time, because I didn’t intend on writing a blog post about it, because every other man and his dog has already. Obviously, I changed my mind..
Serotonin is all about the healthy. Combining an eatery and exercise centre, they’re all about promoting good health and the happiness that comes with it. The menu is plant-based, relating back to their belief that this kind of food helps regular hormones, moods and gut balance, and therefore gives you more energy to enjoy the things you love. Normally, I get a bit antsy about these super healthy types, having experienced the full range of health-nuts working in the health industry; I always worry that they’re going to be a bit preachy and judgy with those of us who aren’t rolling up to eat in our tights and sports bras, toned and tanned and terrific.
I couldn’t have been happier to be proven more wrong; yes, the team working there were all far fitter and more beautiful than I, but there was not a speck of arrogance or holier-than-thou about them. I genuinely don’t believe I have ever been anywhere the staff looked so happy to be there, and it makes all the difference (those of you who’ve experienced the surly, snappy service first thing on a Sunday morning in some lovely cafe or other know what I’m talking about). Not only did this crew take your order, they asked if you needed any recommendations or had any dietary restrictions that needed attending to, pulled up a seat next to you and actually stopped for a chat! And you know what? I did not see a single customer grumpy at having to wait an extra 2 minutes because their server was having a chat with the people at the next table. I didn’t actually believe this was possible in Melbourne…
The place itself is gorgeous, too – heaps of seating inside, but the courtyard is where it’s at, in my opinion. When the winter sun hits it, it’s perfection. And even better, there are swings to sit on out the back – you wanna talk about getting the happy chemicals flowing, put a grown woman on a giant swing at a fancy cafe and watch it happen!
And the menu was actually pretty impressive – they even had a few dishes that were specifically mentioned as being onion and garlic free! Do you have any idea how hard it is to go out for lunch and find something without onion and/or garlic?! Even soups are made with them! We both ordered the deconstructed sushi bowl ($17.00), because it just sounded too good to pass up – a bowl of warm brown rice & quinoa piled high with pickled ginger, daikon, carrot, mushroom, capsicum, cucumber, avocado, shredded nori and crunchy wasabi peas, along with a syringe full of tamari soy sauce.
I loved it. I love sushi anyway, and I actually really like raw veggies, so even without any meat, this was brilliant. It was deceptively big, as well, and very filling, without being heavy and sickening. If I wasn’t totally lazy, this is the sort of lunch I’d make myself most days – don’t get my wrong, I’m still an utter and complete burger addict, but sometimes it’s nice to have something fresh and light, and this completely hit the spot. Those crunchy little wasabi peas were magic in there, too (note to self: add to shopping list).
By that point, the sun was out and we were warming up on our swings (and we were both procrastinating going home to adult for the day), so we decided to stay a little longer with some hot drinks. Drinks menu is incredible; they even have a peanut butter latte (seriously)! It was a matcha latte ($7.00) for me, though, made with organic coconut milk. Matcha and coconut milk is one of my favourite combos, and even though it wasn’t a cheap drink and I couldn’t ever justify ordering these regularly, it was the perfect treat to end lunch with. And, it was so happy to see me 🙂
We finally and reluctantly left our seats on the swings, bellies full and happy, and I have to admit how wrong I was about this place. The food was fantastic, the people couldn’t have been nicer, and it couldn’t have been further from the scary, intimidating experience I was imagining. I just wish it was closer to home!