Owner and founder of Serotonin Eatery, Emily Hazell Arundel, knows this all too well and is aiming to bring to Melbourne the world’s first and Happiness Educational Institution.
She’s started off by incorporating healthy, guilt-free food in combination with an exercise centre right next door, and a 12 month education program entitled the ‘Serotonin Formula’ which is due to kick off in January 2016. It all seems like a simple, common sense, concept but I – being a wife and mother working full time hours – know all too well how fine a balance life can be. Well into my thirties now, I definitely do swear by a healthy diet with daily green juice, working up a sweat at least five days a week, and consistently thinking positively. You’ll find me laughing out loud at my own blunders, and attempting to coax a grin out of each and every patient I see.
So seriously, who could possibly say no to an eatery that is plant-based, nourishing and completely guilt-free? It seemed like the perfect place to take our young children for a nutritious family meal.
We entered Serotonin where the natural light, fresh flowers, spacious seating plan, whimsical Pop & Scott swing chairs and energetic (and genuinely happy) staff members made all of us feel right at home.
Arundel has a background in interior architecture and communication design which is definitely portrayed via the unique interiors and the incredibly coherent branding throughout. Our children absolutely adored the Japanese-inspired seating and admired the pops of happy yellow throughout from the cushions dotted along the sofas to the fresh sunflowers adorning some of the tables. Gold was also a key feature which added a little glam to this unassuming establishment.
The staff were wonderfully child-friendly, bringing out colouring pencils and a selection of coloured A4 paper for the kids to draw on, and even happily made them both babyccinos which weren’t actually on their standard menu. Making everyone happy is their goal at Serotonin and they even provide an all day breakfast and lunch menu because they don’t want to dictate or restrict what you tastebuds may be craving on any given day.
Almond milk cappuccino ($5) The coffee was deliciously smooth and this particular blend of 5 Senses coffee had an interesting citrus note to it. Matcha latte ($5) – fine organic green tea powder spun with Timboon milk
My husband had a hunkering for this as soon as he saw it on the menu, having missed all the delicious matcha lattes we inhaled on our recent trip to Japan. This was unfortunately lacking. It was completely void of sugar (and there wasn’t any sugar on our table) and the matcha hadn’t been whisked sufficiently so unfortunately wasn’t particularly smooth in texture.
Vegetable rosti ($4)
We ordered this for our kids to munch on. They were filled with organic vegetables and loads of colour. The fact that they were low in fat meant that the rosti weren’t crispy but the textures and naturally sweet flavours from the vegetables were absolutely wonderful.
Ancient grains salad ($15) – Quinoa, freekah, brown rice, chickpeas, feta, herbs and nuts.
This was divine. The portion size was so large that I managed to save some for my work lunch the next day.
Blissful open burger ($17) (GF)
Two field mushrooms with two patties, seasonal greens, beetroot, tomato, avocado topped with housemade relish.
A spectrum of nutritious colours and flavours were to beheld in this spectacularly enormous dish. It was one of those dishes where we really didn’t know where to start. The good thing? There were no rules – so we gradually picked our way through each individual component and experimented with different combinations. Such fun. If I were to honestly take this dish from an 8/10 to a 10/10, I would humbly suggest taking a leaf out of Irena Macri’s Eat Drink Paleo Cookbook and add a couple of super crispy, sweet potato ‘bagels’ to the mix. That would be incredible!
Smiling pizza ($16) (GF) – Gluten free base with pumpkin, feta, spinach, cherry tomatoes and eggplant.
I’m used to gluten free pizza bases because of my mum’s dietary requirements, but base aside (which was actually really good as far as gluten-free bases go), this pizza was amazing! There was definitely something magical about the tomato-based sauce.
All in all, we had a wonderful time at Serotonin Eatery. The fact that they use organic produce wherever possible, and have raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and vegan options is refreshing for people with dietary intolerances or dietary restrictions due to choice. Chef Sean Muir (previously of Oli & Levi, Bell Jar, Amsterdam Street Cafe, and Pho & Co) has excelled creating a comprehensive, and entirely meat-free menu.
Serotonin Eatery is definitely a place worth checking out – it will nourish and energise you.