Surry Hills cafe Gratia and its nighttime counterpart Folonomo are no strangers to the concept of dining for a cause. The Bourke Street venue donates 100 percent of its profits to charity. Usually, customers choose which of the three rotating charities will get their money when settling the bill. But for the next three months, the focus will be on helping one organisation in particular, as Gratia is transformed into a pop-up OzHarvest Café.
From July to September, it'll be sporting a few fresh pops of yellow and a brand new food offering, and all of the cafe's profits will go towards supporting OzHarvest's work fighting food waste around the country. If you're not familiar with the charity, OzHarvest rescues quality excess food from commercial outlets and delivers it to more than 1000 charities across the country, providing much-needed meals to those who otherwise may not have access to any.
The same philosophies have inspired the OzHarvest Café. While not all the food will be salvaged food waste, OzHarvest executive chef Travis Harvey has designed a special waste-conscious menu that features lots of ingredients that would otherwise be binned, including food donated by Brasserie Bread, Black Star Pastry and Select Fresh.
Here, he's flexed plenty of creative muscle, transforming rescued food into some very clever brunch fare. Expect elements like pickled broccoli stalks, roasted cauliflower leaves, and ramen noodles crafted from bread crumbs. The avocado toast features a pesto made from rescued salad leaves and pumpkin seeds, banana curd will be made from donated egg yolks (and poured onto pancakes) and the house jam is a crafty reworking of excess fruit peels and Black Star's watermelon rind off-cuts.
With every $1 spent at the OzHarvest Café by Gratia able to deliver two meals to someone in need, this is brunching for a cause other than your morning hunger.
Gratia will operate as the OzHarvest Café by Gratia until September. It's open Wednesday to Sunday from 8am–3pm at 372 Bourke Street, Surry Hills.