image: The West Australian Newspaper
Restaurant Review: Food to Make You Feel Whole
There’s so much to tell about this place that, quite frankly, I don’t know where to begin. Should I start with its multi-award-winning hip-hop owner, Drapht (aka Paul Ridge) who, thanks to an impressive array of food intolerances, ended up opening up his own café just so he could eat out in safety? Perhaps the menu, which is all-organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, processed sugar-free and has a healthy dose of raw, vegan and vegetarian dishes to boot? Or the kitchen, with a dessert chef who specialises in raw organic sweets and a world-class head chef who’s well-versed in cooking organically and specialises in food intolerances?
Let’s start with the beverages. Forget your soft drinks and reconstituted OJ – this place is all about coconut water, made-to-order fruit juices and smoothies, and kombucha probiotics. You can also order from a range of coffee and tea, but it’ll be with rice milk or almond milk. When the muso and I visited for dinner, we went with the fruit juices - a ‘kidney cleanse’ (watermelon, green apple and carrot) and a ‘liver love’ (carrot, apple, kale, celery, lemon and ginger). We couldn’t help but feel refreshed after all that colour.
To the food and, to be frank, if we weren’t already au fait with many of the ingredients we may have been a little put off. Quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wah’, not ‘ka-no-wa’), agave and coconut oil feature fairly heavily on the menu, and if diners aren’t down with these terms they may feel a bit bereft. Saying that, there are plenty of familiar ingredients to fall back on. Grass-fed lamb cutlets crumbed with garlic, lemon and fresh oregano gave us lean, clean flavours, while a side dish of beetroot chips crisped up in the dehydrator were healthy and moreish (yes, the two terms can co-exist). A warm winter lamb salad with parsnip, purple carrots and slow-roasted tomato was, like many of the dishes, massive. The food is filling, but not in a bloaty, I’m-going-to-have-to-go-have-a-lie-down kind of way. In other words, it’s real food without any of the preservatives, emulsifiers, additives, improvers and refined white stuff that make most of us feel a little bit meh. This was a good thing, because the dessert card rocked. At Solomon’s the sweets apparently take two days to create. They’re raw, 100% organic and extremely popular, as we discovered when we were advised the raw Snickers had sold out (noooo…). In all, it had ten organic ingredients in it that we were itching to sample, but what can you do. We went with a choc-banana cheesecake and the last slice of chai caramel cheesecake (ha!). To get an idea of the amount of grunt that goes into these desserts, let me list the ingredients of the latter cheesecake: almonds, cashews, rice syrup, coconut oil, Celtic salt, vanilla cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, chai tea, ginger, dates and tahini. It cost $14 and was sensational.
Is Solomon’s expensive? Yes, it’s up there, but then I imagine so would the eatery’s organic shopping and specialty ingredients bill. The service is smiley and passionate – staff know their stuff and so they should, because they’re bound to get asked lots of questions about the ingredients. The sprawling venue seats around a hundred people, and if you keep an eye on the pass you may get a glimpse of a calm, self-possessed young man going about his business. Mark my words, Solomon’s is a taste of things to come.
Score – 14/20
Address – Solomon's, 487 Beaufort Street, Highgate
Tel – 9328 7995
The Buzz – A Mecca for anybody who enjoys organic wholefood, and an absolute haven for those with food allergies and/or intolerances. Solomon’s fills a growing hole in Perth’s dining out scene.
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