Cafe and Wellness Centre Willow Urban Retreat Plants Itself in Armadale

Originally published in The Age Good Food.

A health cafe, spa and wellness studio meet under two heritage roofs on Armadale’s High Street.

A visit to a wellness retreat proved life-changing for former teacher Sharon Bassat, who was inspired to open her own holistic business – Armadale cafe-wellness studios Willow Urban Retreat.

The venture is housed in two High Street heritage buildings. On the left is the cafe, on the right is the spa and wellness centre, which Melbourne-based Meme Design has joined with sculptured walls and arched walkways, giving Willow an earthy palette of jade-green onyx and textured cement.

The cafe menu is the joint effort of head chef Nick Cree (ex-Supernormal and Top Paddock) and in-house naturopath Joanne Riley. Breakfast favourites so far are baked eggs with yellow split pea dhal, fresh curry leaves, cumin yoghurt and charred flatbread, andrice flour pancakes with charred figs, coconut maple butter and sour cherries.

Willow’s offerings expand when the clock strikes 11.30am, with a Kerala-style fish curry with okra and brown rice, and a series of salads available.

Though Bassat’s formal teaching days are over, it’s evident her urge to teach isn’t. The menu also includes descriptions of the benefits of notable ingredients (locally sourced and organic where possible).

Cafe opening hours Mon to Fri 7am – 3.30pm; Sat to Sun 8am – 4pm.

Photography: supplied.


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