With a promise to support artisan, organic, seasonal, wild crafted, handcrafted, sustainable, free range, ethical and nutrient dense produce, the focus at Little Sunflower Cafe in Elwood falls squarely on providing whole food, naturally.
With ten years experience in the Melbourne hospitality industry, owners Angie Robertson and Grant Waters have quietly and confidently made their presence felt on Ormond Road since opening their doors in August. Serving up healthy, delicious food in a relaxed, mindful space, there are no pretensions at Little Sunflower. It's simple, calm and soul filling. And everyone there is just so gosh-darned nice. As such, there's a happy buzz at 8.30am as locals filter in and out. Angie is in the kitchen, but comes out with meals, greeting customers like an old friend.
Little Sunflower is all blond wood, blue and yellow pastel patchwork chairs and jaunty cushions. If you like a bit of sun on your back, the window bench seating provides a curl-up cosy alternative to the smaller wooden tables or large communal table. Lovely final touches are the 102 planter vertical wall creating a green leafy celebration of nature juxtaposed with a charmingly simple cream faux pressed tin wall.
The choice of name for the cafe is explained on the menu — they represent cheerfulness, as well as healing, vitality and longevity — as are the various terms and products used on the menu. But it doesn't feel like preaching; the information is merely there if you want it. Other than that, it's just good food, done well — and it tastes delicious.
There's an all-day breakfast with a good variety of dishes. It is difficult to decide between dishes such as a breakfast salad packed with all the goodness of freekeh, avocado, watercress, spinach salad, rye croutons, puffed amaranth, bacon pieces and a poached egg ($15.50), or a warm black rice pudding with coconut milk, strawberries, banana, bee pollen and buckinis ($14.50).
There are not one, but two types of granola: one raw and one toasted (both $13.90). The raw granola — soaked for three days to activate the nutrients — is crunchy and light, and the addition of coconut yoghurt, rose and rhubarb compote, and some edible flowers perched on top, is visually and nutritionally satisfying. If flavours can transport you elsewhere, this granola does so — it's a sunny day, the wind is tugging lightly at your hair, there's a soft floral fragrance in the air and life is definitely golden.
There are also smaller offerings for those who don't like to start the day big. The chia, banana and coconut pudding ($8.90) or a corn tortilla taco with black beans, a sunny side-up egg and avocado salsa ($7.50) are both great breakfast snacks. Lunch features Buddha bowls: nutrient-packed bowls of delicious vibrant vegetables, legumes, grains, shoots and optional protein, served either hot or cold. To wash it all down, choose from cold pressed juice, super smoothies, Allpress coffee, or tea by Somage.
This is health food without all the fanfare. Like a sunflower, it's cheerful and vibrant — and it's good.