This shopping mall cafe delivers with its healthy yet approachable menu.
The recipe that makes up your average mall cafe isn't usually that appealing — a lack of natural light, sad predictable cabinet food, and staff that by and large couldn't care less if your flat white is up to scratch or not. It's not always the case, but more often than not it's the sad truth.
Westfield's Newmarket's Leafé Cafe is a brilliant example of what a shopping mall cafe can be. Just beyond the entrance is a large and inviting natural light-bathed space for dining, complete with high chairs for little companions.
The menu is familiar with a healthy twist; cafe staples like avocado toast, eggs benedict and fish and chips are all present and correct, but where Leafé separates itself from the others is in its health-conscious, yet approachable additions. The 'Brunch Bowl' ($18) is one fine example, combining turmeric eggs, roasted beetroot, avocado, pickled red cabbage and quinoa with the optional additions of haloumi or cold-smoked salmon.
On this occasion we enjoyed two Brunch Bowls with a side of fries to share just in case our meal choice was too virtuous. Even so, the portion sizes were generous and satisfying. To drink was one of Leafé's signature smoothies. The delicious 'Pick Me Up' ($10) combines dairy-free ingredients like banana, coconut cream, almond milk and raw cacao with a double shot of espresso. The rest of the beverage menu features an impressive range of wine, Hallertau craft beer and cider, and non-alcoholic options of juice, sodas and kombucha.
The staff at Leafé were friendly and attentive and not at all fazed by any indecisiveness in the face of such an inviting menu. Leafé gives hope for the future of the mall cafe and shows that it is possible to create a beautiful inviting space within the urban shopping sprawl.