It's getting mighty chilly here in Melbourne, and if you're to believe what the studies suggest, that equates to a dip in serotonin, which can affect your mood. So it's rather timely that the concept for Burnley's newest cafe, Serotonin Eatery, is based on the idea of giving diners a boost of this feel-good brain chemical. To do this, they're serving up a plant-based menu filled with colourful, nutritious and organic fare, and nixing meat products, processed foods and refined sugar completely.
The idea was always guaranteed to hit a home run with the clean eating crowd, but the way it's been executed should keep everyone else happy too. Well, perhaps everyone except the most ardent meat-lovers.
The fit-out is contemporary and upbeat, with smooth timber features and neutral tones broken up by pops of yellow and black. Tiny hexagon wall tiles are a subtle DNA reference, and there's a range of seating options, from a communal table, to a courtyard, to a row of sunken booths.
Food-wise, you'll find half a dozen breakfast options and about the same number on the weekly changing lunch menu. Weekend brunch favourites have been given a healthy makeover, so the bread is wholegrain rye or gluten-free, the eggs-on-toast comes with an alkalising salad and the beans with something called 'powerkraut'. A bite of the 'positive pancakes' will satisfy even the most devoted sweet tooth — they're made with coeliac-friendly banana flour and teamed with berries, house-made banana ice cream and orbs of hung yoghurt ($22).
Seasonal lunch offerings might include a gluten-free 'smiling pizza', with eggplant, pumpkin, spinach, feta and cherry tomatoes ($16), or raw zucchini linguine ($18). The 'nutrition bomb' is clearly the serotonin fix of choice: a riotous salad bowl packed with greens, broccoli, house-made hummus, cold roast veggies, sprouts, kraut and pickles, topped with a poached egg ($22).
Coffee is from Five Senses, but there are caffeine-free options aplenty. This is your opportunity to try one of those matcha or turmeric lattes (both $6) that have been overtaking your Instagram feed.
Staff (also known as the 'Serotonin Dealers') are plentiful, and as happy as you'd expect, given their working environment. Even though it's early days and the crowds are flocking, it's pretty smooth sailing as far as the eye can see, so props to them. Put as much stock as you like in the science behind this feel-good find, but if you nab one of the highly coveted window swing seats and tuck into some colourful breakfast fare, then it's pretty hard not to leave with a smile on your dial and a pep in your step.