Review: SMÄK Food House, South Yarra

Originally published on Concrete Playground.

Smack this South Yarra health food destination on your cafe bucket list.

Care about your body but just as much about brunch? Then maybe it’s time you met SMÄK Food House, which has quickly made a name for itself as South Yarra’s new health-conscious eatery.

Tucked away in Daly Street, SMÄK (pronounced ‘smark’ for those of you chatting to your computer screen) takes its inspiration from Scandinavia. Smak itself is the Swedish and Norwegian word for taste, which is certainly not compromised in pursuit of serving healthy fare. The cafe’s offering is hearty and tasty.

The dishes are as pretty as pitched on the menu. Diners’ faces commonly light up when their plate of food art reaches the table — which will only make you more excited for yours.

Coeliacs and vegetarians are also generously catered for here. SMÄK’s buckwheat and banana hotcakes are gluten free, and come with a coconut maple and cherry reduction ($20). They also have five salads on offer as well as stellar dish of local greens with edamame, farro and activated charcoal hummus ($18). That isn’t to say there’s a shortage of meat options. A coffee-rubbed porterhouse ($19), poached tarragon chicken with garlic ($16) and a 12-hour braised lamb dish make up the lunch menu, which starts at 11am for those who need a little more to start their day.

To drink, there are fresh juices, smoothies plump with dates and acai, and coffee made with beans from local roasters Seven Seeds.

And of course, the place is beautifully designed — we wouldn’t expect anything less from an eatery claiming to be Scandinavian inspired. The polished concrete space, splashed with a little greenery was designed by Studio Ole, a relative newcomer to Melbourne’s interior design realm.

Note that weekend brunches are quite busy and waits can be a little lengthy. But dishes with the quality of those at SMÄK don’t just zoom out of kitchen five minutes after ordering. If you’re game, stick it out. This cafe could leave its mark on you long after your visit — and maybe even inspire you to hop on the health food train.

Image credit: supplied

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