Ethical food, coffee… and clothing

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The brekkie burrito… the tasty salsa and creamy guacamole sat pretty in a side dish. Photo: Wendy Johnson

WOLLEMI, a new ethical store and café in Civic, knows its place in the market. It’s dedicated to ethical food, coffee and clothing and is home to a small bookstore with titles such as “Waste Not” by Erin Rhoads.

Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson.

Although its niche is clear, Wollemi welcomes everyone, not just those committed to a plant-based diet. It’s a great place for a meat-free meal (something we should all incorporate into our diets).

Owner Karen Rees aims to “make ethical choices easier”. Everything sold in the café or store is fair trade, handmade, organic, eco-friendly, sustainable, vegan, cruelty free or a combo. Whew! What it means is you can shop and eat while being kind to the environment.

But before we go shopping, let’s dine.

Wollemi’s all-day menu (specials board also available) includes a falafel wrap, with hummus and salad ($15 and gluten free available), a veggie bowl loaded with goodies such as roast pumpkin, marinated tofu, brown rice, kale, carrot, red cabbage, cucumber and nori mayo ($17.50). The burger is a veggie patty ($18.50).

I chose the brekkie burrito ($16.50). The tasty salsa and creamy guacamole sat pretty in a side dish. The burrito was tasty but could have used a bit of seasoning to bring everything to life.

I’ll return one day when in the mood for decadence to give the pancakes a go. They come with peanut caramel and chocolate sauce, peanuts, strawberries, coconut ice cream and raw choc peanut slice ($18). It’s just as well they’re “ethical”.

Cold drinks include freshly squeezed juices, frappes, smoothies and organic drinks by well-known Daylesford and Hepburn Mineral Springs Co. Coffee is by Canberra’s Highgate Lane Roasters.

Wollemi’s shop is towards the back. Items, all beautifully presented, include cotton clothing for babies and adults, and beauty and skin-care products for men, women and little ones.
Wollemi’s interior décor very much supports the ethical theme. Outdoors could use some TLC, but these are early days with the café having opened only six weeks when I arrived. The square, white tables outside look a bit lonely and the area lacks character.

It was service with a smile at the counter where I ordered and paid. No-one popped outside at any point to see if my meal was okay, even though the place wasn’t super busy.
And the name?

The café and store are named after the majestic Wollemi Pine, one of the world’s oldest and rarest trees, discovered just 10 years ago in a national park outside of Sydney. It’s said that less than 100 adult trees exist in the wild.

Wollemi, 16-18 Mort Street (entry via Cooyong Street), open 7am-4pm, Monday-Friday; 8am-3pm, Saturdays and 9am-3pm, Sundays.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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