Kudos to Brisbane (for many reasons of course, but in this instance) for being home to Australia's first fully licensed organic restaurant, Mondo Organics. Opened in 2000, the West End eatery and cooking school was ahead of the curve — championing organic eating and alternative food choices before it became the done thing about town.
Apart from being free from pesticides, preservatives and genetically modified additives, the food at Mondo Organics is sustainable, healthy and often locally sourced. Of course, this doesn't mean much if the food doesn't taste good, but as anyone who has paid a visit should know, it does. The food at Mondo Organics is definitely more indulgent than may be expected of a restaurant with healthy living at the forefront of its philosophy. Their menu demonstrates a well-struck balance between the simple nourishment of wholefoods and luxury of flavour.
Mondo Organics serves up all three meals of the day, though lunch and dinner offerings are the most enticing. The seafood bisque with green rouille and preserved lemon ($17) is rich and warming. Dishes like the ricotta and goat's cheese spelt tortellini with pear, cavolo nero and hazelnut butter ($18) and the slow-roasted pork shoulder with honeycomb crackling, celeriac apple puree, baby sweet carrot and liquorice ($34) are chockfull of nourishing ingredients and taste just as they sound. Presentation is not too precious or dainty, with a look of abundance rather than refinement, an aesthetic in keeping with Mondo Organics' dedication to what they describe as 'real food'.
Mondo Organics also offers regular cooking classes, with the Holly Davis Fermentation and Sourdough two-day workshop a recent example. This Saturday, chef and restaurant partner Brenda Fawdon, with naturopath Tanya Quod, helm a class focusing on gluten- and dairy-free. Details about upcoming classes are available on their website.