Melbourne has a new vegan eatery — and it's fuelled by matcha. The plant-based café comes from Sarah Holloway and Nic Davidson, the same people that brought you (and basically every cafe in Australia) Matcha Maiden. Dubbed Matcha Mylkbar, the cafe will serve an entirely vegan menu to St Kilda locals needing something new to Instagram.
Matcha is green tea leaves ground into a fine powder. That means instead of throwing out the tea bag, you swallow the leaves and get 137 times the antioxidants of simply steeping green tea. 2015 was a big year for matcha; traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies, it started to be used creatively in baking, smoothies and lattes. Matcha Maiden has been everywhere ever since.
"We never thought we would start a physical venue, but we realised there was obviously a market there," says Holloway. "Then one of our friends [a founder of St Ali] happened to have a venue in Melbourne for us."
The menu has regulars like smashed avocado with heirloom tomatoes and corn fritters. But then there's the coconut bacon and the matcha pancakes with dark chocolate sorbet. There are mushroom lattes, and beetroot lattes. Yes, you read that right — beetroot lattes. The breakfast bowls, a requirement of any vegan café, are elaborate and beautifully decorated. The 'eggs' follow suit with the rest of the menu and are made completely of plant-based products. A little sceptical? Holloway promises that when poached, they ooze just like a regular egg.
"They have the same nutritional profile, but the yolk is made of linseed protein and sweet potato, and the outside is almond milk and coconut milk," she explains.
Despite what you might assume, Holloway and her business partners aren't actually vegan themselves. Knowing about the benefits of plant-based eating, they wanted to fuse it with their love of matcha and make it available and affordable to everyone — not just vegans.
"People on the outside tend to think of veganism as this really hippie, weird thing. I think the fact that this café comes from non-vegans makes it like vegan eating for non-vegans. Hopefully people will be a little more open minded."