Update June 2015: Vivre a Vie gained new owners, Tati and Callum, in March 2015. The good news for diners is that the menu’s central tenet remains organic. On our last visit we enjoyed a tasty brunch from the short menu, augmented by specials: a Corn fritter served with fresh figs and salad, and a Lamb burger, enjoyed with an organic coffee served with Baranbah organic milk. Although the restaurant has moved to table service, when we visited there were several problem areas. Service in particular appeared quite random due to under-staffing. Beautiful venue, however, and the food was delish.
Vivre a Vie in Mermaid Beach is a modern continental bakery café where you can take your dairy free, gluten free, raw and sugar free friends, or even your vegan and vegetarian ones and be assured that there will be options for everyone.
Opened first and foremost as an organic bakery by Lara Forsyth-Madden, it has slowly transformed into a café without straying too far from the original concept – a deliciously beautiful little shop making organic artisan baked products and serving organic food at reasonable prices, especially considering that everything is organic.
In colours of bark and leaves, earth and wood, it’s as though nature has taken a step inside. Furniture of hewn wood and hessian are placed against faux cracked paint overlooked by a beautiful wooden ceiling fan and crystalline pendant on a timber-lined ceiling. It’s a tiny but peaceful space where diners gather for a cake and coffee or a baguette and organic juice.
Cabinets and baskets carry baked goods, including sourdough, spelt bread, the popular 7 ancient grain loaf, almond croissants and chocolate Danish. Raw treats, such as raw snickers bar, beetroot and chocolate cake, occupy a shelf of their own. There are even treats for the kids, the organic smarties made using vegetable-based colourings taken from beetroot and carrot!
Due to customer demand, late in 2014 table service and a full brunch menu was introduced, ensuring a more peaceful flow and wider appeal to this beautiful place. The Organic Breakfast Platter catches our eye: bacon, poached eggs, beef and caramelised onion kofta, roasted tomato sautéed baby spinach served with organic sourdough. (At $22 it’s the most expensive dish on the menu!) There are lots of options for vegetarians as well, such as the Housemade Vegan Fritter, and lower priced ‘Get me to Payday’ specials for thrifty diners on offer from Monday to Wednesday.
The organic house blend coffee, organic of course, is made from Columbian Excelso beans blended with Budan Beans’ Nicaraguan, served in double layered glass cups. The brew carries shades of lemon and smooth caramel with a crisp toasty finish – quite yummy! You can also enjoy juices from Parkers, including a caffeine-free cola or an organic tea. Vivre a Vie carries a range of Chamellia teas, sourced directly from organic estates committed to sustainable and ethical trade practices. The 9 Spice Fresh Chai is served black; the French Vanilla is a premium Ceylon tea from the Uva region of Sri Lanka mixed with organic vanilla bean.
Step through the side door and down the lane, and there’s a whole new aspect to the bakery: a huge expanse of lawn flanked by trees and garden beds. Tables and beach umbrellas provide dining areas for a quiet chat; the gardens are the source of herbs and greens for the café.
When the olive tree is outside the front door, the bakery is open. Free from artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, pesticides and chemicals, you’ll know that you’re taking a step in the right direction. After all, Vivre a Vie could be translated ‘Live Life’!
Review updated March 2015
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