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Bread & Circus Wholefoods Canteen

The impression of wellbeing and earthy goodness is hard to escape at this ever-popular spot.
By Zoe Ferguson
May 15, 2012
By Zoe Ferguson
May 15, 2012

The atmosphere that washes over you when approaching Bread & Circus is one of health. This canteen is bursting with colours, fresh produce and delicious condiments, all beautifully exhibited on shelves as you enter. With pineapple leaves and pot plants on every table, the impression of wellbeing and earthy goodness is hard to escape. Not that you'd want to, mind you.

Surrounded by warehouses and with a construction site right next door, the canteen-cum-cafe seems a bit out of place. It really deserves to be somewhere more accessible accommodating a 'walk by and pop in' type of clientele, like on Crown or Elizabeth Street. That's not to say this ruined the experience though. A mixed crowd – young workers chattering while waiting for take away, married couples with strollers and even a couple of grandparents – were enjoying the food and relaxed atmosphere.

Inside, there are seven large wooden tables and foldable glass doors that spill sunlight in, warming the backs of lunchers. Outside are four tables, stools and striped beach chairs and, with Pete Murray and John Butler Trio playing softly in the background, I couldn't help feel as if I was on a summer holiday. The four staff were hurriedly pumping out orders, given the lunch rush at 1pm. (Wait until half past, it's much quieter.)

Now for what you came for: the food. Open for breakfast and lunch, Bread & Circus' menu changes every day. They do delicious breakfasts. Try the Foxy Autumn Porridge ($15), with slow cooked, pre-soaked dairy-free organic oats, real vanilla-cinnamon, cardamom, hazelnuts, organic coconut milk, seasonal fruit and agave. There's also Very Particular Pancakes ($16), pre-soaked buckwheat black quinoa coconut-rapadura wholefood pancakes with your choice of maple-orange gloss or maple biodynamic yoghurt, or for a savoury palate, the Parmesan Not-So-Scrambled Eggs ($18), biodynamic eggs under shaved parmesan with brave bullet chilli or real truffle oil, fresh tomato, 'something green' and sourdough.

For lunch, there are delicious soups ($7-$14) and salads ($14-$25) made in-house by Amanda Bechara. For those with a larger appetite, their sandwich boxes ($13-$16) are a big hit. I opted for a half plate of salad with a side of roast beef ($20), with blanched ginger green beans, tamari toasted almonds, slow-roasted tomato, and kamut couscous with basil and aged balsamic. While a 'half plate' sounds small and $20 a bit steep, the flavours were wonderful and I was stuffed full. You'll be amazed how good wholesome food can taste here.

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