If we talk food phases, I'll say that I've had it all. For an entire month, I ate nothing but buckwheat soba noodles, and at one point, I indulged in reoccurring dinners of apple slices and cheese. When I was a kid, I avoided everything from strawberries to tomatoes to onions - ingredients that I would never dream of neglecting now! In more recent years, I've left my bad kid image behind and gravitated towards the veggies by serendipity. What soon followed was my newly discovered love for eating raw foods - namely sashimi and tartares. Naturally, those two much appreciated developments in palate melded very nicely together for me and soon, a perfect mid morning brunch at home for me started looking a lot like a fresh salmon sashimi salad with ponzu dressing.
In recent years, I think the concept of Vegetarian and Vegan dining has become less of an eating taboo and more of a popular alternative food movement. (I'm especially a big fan of Vegan cake baking as well, because I think it produces a great, moist result) Whether you're a Veggie eater for political, social or preferential reasons, the fact of the matter is - I can't deny that veggies have the capacity to harbour so much great flavour!
I was introduced to the little arcade nook known as the Raw Kitchen a number of years ago now, and I would say that it is definitely one of the most unique restaurants in Perth. On a busy weekend, you'll be hard tasked to get a warm and cosy seat inside, but for me - I'm definitely more than happy to nestle myself amongst the sunshine, cool breeze and mismatched furniture outside. Nothing screams "the weekend", like a couple of hours in Fremantle and I always make it a point to revisit the Raw Kitchen. For those none the wiser - everything from pizza to smoothies is not only Vegan, but completely raw. This means that all the food is prepared below 46 degrees, with the intent of preserving it's natural nutrients, flavour and life force. It can be a daunting concept for some to steer clear of meat entirely and to eat a whole meal composed of "cold" foods - but the following deliciousness will ensure that your courage to try well and truly pays off!
Speaking of flavours and foods that grew on me beyond my childhood...I can't go past the combination of chocolate and chilli. I'm a massive fan of the Azteca Hot Chocolate from San Churros, and after I saw the King Hit Choc Chilli Smoothie on Raw's menu, I just knew that I had to give it a try. All smoothies are 100% dairy free, and made with The Raw Kitchen's very own fresh almond milk which they make daily in the cafe! The smoothie had a great texture, and a pleasant cacao and banana flavour. Best of all, the promised hint of chilli was not only present, but well balanced. I wouldn't hesitate to order the King Hit Choc Chilli again, even though it's slightly more expensive than your average smoothie - the taste and the effort that goes into producing each of the drink's components well and truly justifies it.
As or the Red Melon juice, how can one go wrong when one makes a juice out of my three favourite fruits? It was very refreshing, and a great contrast to the slightly richer smoothie.
I'm also a huge fan of the glass straws that Raw uses for their drinks, and I love them - it's unique, and as strange as it might sound, it actually makes drinking from the tall glasses really enjoyable!
One thing that you can really commend the Raw Kitchen on is how they've made their food approachable and appealing. Many favourite dishes appear on the menu, such as falafel, pizza, soup and pasta, and it's a great way to entice Carnivores or patrons who aren't use to eating 100% raw foods, to just tuck in! I love the pizza; the fresh ingredients are so flavourful that you hardly miss any of the warm bubbling cheese or crispy bacon pieces. I actually especially love the blobs of "Cheese", which is 100% non-dairy and like most Vegan subsitutes, made from nuts like macadamias and cashews. I could happily polish off an entire pizza and I must not be the only one, because the Raw Kitchen actually allow their customers to pre order an entire whole pizza at $65 a pop!
It's hard to deviate from what you know tastes great, and I'm guilty for sticking to the same dishes when I do dine at the Raw Kitchen - but this time I decided to live on the edge...by ordering salad! As soon as you walk into the cafe, you're greeted by colourful bowls of vibrant looking salads for your selection. The most interesting one of the lot was the red Beetroot salad which had various notes of coconut and cranberries - interesting, but not for me as I'm not really a coconut person. The green Garden Salad was fresh and had a great, tasty dressing but within this "traffic light" of salads, my favourite had to be the orange coloured Carrot Salad which I would gladly order again!
My favourite dish on the Raw menu is definitely the Nachos. Like with the Raw Pizza, the flavour that arises from the extremely fresh salsa is unbelievable and doesn't leave much room for missing the usual Nachos suspects like gooey cheese and spicy jalapeños. The only downside is that there's no great dipping sensation of plunging a crunchy corn chip into a mound of salsa and guacamole - the crisps are a little on the flimsy side and you're much better off making a mouthful out of piling all the ingredients on top with a fork. By the third forkful, I was reaching veggie overload and the friendly staff were more than happy to not only pack away our healthy leftovers but also put my leftover smoothie into a takeaway cup.
My first couple of visits to the Raw Kitchen a few years back lead to me discovering what I would call "The Best Chai Latte in Perth" - the aroma of the fresh spices that are infused together with their fresh house made milk really made it the most flavourful and most unique Chai I've ever tried. Sadly, when I visited last year my experience was disappointing, as I was met with a cup of bland and watery. It was really a shame, and I have since switched to the above mentioned smoothie. $6.50 is a fetching price for a small cup of Chai, and I hope that it'll be worth it next time around.
As for the other raw creations found on the menu, I found the Pasta ($16.90, Regular and $19.80, Large) to be interesting, but shunned out of the spotlight left by the amazing Raw Nachos and Pizza respectively. (Still, cold zucchini based "noodles" is definitely worth trying) On my next visit, I'm determined to deviate from temptation and try their Falafel and Salad or the Raw Club Sandwich, both of which intrige me greatly. If I could also draw your attention past the "traffic light" salads in the fridge display, Vegan baking fans and the adventurous eaters alike should indulge in a slice of their Raw, Dairy Free Cheesecake with a cup of their organic fair trade BioBean coffee, made with (or without if you choose) their housemade nut based milks.
The Raw Kitchen is definitely one of Perth's trailblazing Vegetarian/Vegan eateries and manages to stamp out any misconceptions about Raw Vegan eating being boring or inferior by creating interesting, fresh and delicious food. It's honest vegetables made approachable, served by knowledgable and friendly staff, and presented in a great, bustling ambience to boot. I'd highly recommend squeezing a visit to the Raw Kitchen into your next Freo day itinerary, for the sake of trying something different or indulging in old favourites!
Wednesday to Friday, 11:00am - 3:00pm. Saturday and Sunday, 11:00am - 4:00pm