I recently shared a blog post detailing Windsor’s new healthy eating café Uncommon, in which I wrote that ‘the frekkah, quinoa and kale-laden menu felt like I was reading Lord of the Rings, given I’m as familiar with my health food vocab as I am with Gandalf’.
A week later, I was invited to the grand opening of holistic lifestyle grocer and cafe About Life in Port Melbourne. At that point, it seemed the universe was on a karmic mission hell-bent on having me embrace a healthy eating lifestyle, paintballing me with raw cacao chia balls until I caved in.
While Uncommon is still growing on me, I fell head over hazelnuts in love with About Life. Here are five reasons why:
1. A good #girlboss
About Life is the brainchild of two Sydney sisters – Jodie Stewart and Tammie Phillips – who wanted to educate the masses on clean, healthy eating. That was 1996. They’ve since been winning Sydneysiders over one kale bunch at a time, now running six stores spread across the harbour city, all independently-owned and operated.
The freshly-opened Port Melbourne store is About Life’s first foray into Melbourne, tweaking its product offering to include more cheeses and (nitrate-free) cured meats, given how much us Melburnians love our gouda, I’m told. And with a fridge full of brie, I probably can’t argue.
About Life has taken over the old Thomas Dux storefront on Bay Street and as much I thought I loved The Dux and we’d grow old together, I admit, About Life is a sexier, younger version.
2. Convenience on a fork
Working full-time and running a blog on the side doesn’t leave much time to Martha Stewart it up in the kitchen. Yet why do ‘convenience’ and ‘healthy eating’ only belong in the same sentence if separated by the words ‘near’ and ‘impossible’? Sometimes I feel like finding a nice salad that’s not smothered in a full-fat creamy dressing is like looking for a framed photo of Taylor Swift in Kanye’s home.
So, one of my favourite things about About Life is that they take the hard out of being healthy. From pre-chopped zucchini straws and fresh vegies to bright, flavour-filled salads that don’t break the bank, there’s no excuses for eating bad anymore.
The best bit is the self-serve nature’s servery where you can box up a combo of hot and cold meals that are designed by a nutritionist (all for $8.90, small; $11.90, medium; and $15.90, large). Think miso-marinated chicken, kale pasta and beetroot quinoa risotto.
3. The health and wellness pledge
About Life has a simple promise, offering a ‘full range of groceries under one natural, ethical, sustainable roof, with no nasties’ – like artificial preservatives, sweetners, flavours and colours; growth hormones; hydrogenated oils; and bleached flours.
This pledge is blazingly plastered as you walk through the doors, leaving you with faith that About Life will hold the hand of us non-lycra wearing yogis and guide us towards a more balanced, ethical way of eating.
This promise isn’t just for what you put in your body but also on your body, offering natural cosmetics, scrubs and baby products. Although I got a little carried away with the coconut and coffee bean scrub, turning the shower into a coffee roaster.
So on top of picking up your sin-free fruit and veg, bakery goods, pantry staples, meats and smallgoods, throw some eco-friendly toilet paper in your shopping basket too.
4. Buy the week’s groceries, then brunch at the About Life Café
Every week I need to brainstorm a new tactic to get the husband to help with the groceries. Bacon and eggs at the wholefoods About Life adjacent café is my latest strategy – it worked.
Serving a breakfast and lunch menu all day (7am–3pm) off recycled plates, choose from an overload of nutrient-rich café meals. I predictably went with the chia’zy avocado, which unlike my other dalliances with health-focused breakfasts (ahem, Uncommon), it was crazily delicious, with just a punch of spice.
As you’d expect, the raw smoothies and juice menu is off the richter, blending up a rainbow of fruits, vegies, herbs and spices; or you can stick with the organic, fair-trade coffee; therapeutic herbal teas; and ginger turmeric and matcha lattes.
The café is also very kid-friendly, with lots of prams, babies and kidlets chomping into their sweet potato chips.
5. THE RAW CARAMEL SLICE!!!!
This single serve dessert is sex on a spoon, and with the word raw in its name I can fool myself into thinking it’s good for me…
About Life | 120 Bay Street, Port Melbourne, Victoria