Having lived on and off on The Parade for the past 5 years, I can safely say that the food culture game has been quite strong, with restaurants and eateries coming and going (and coming back). There are a variety of cuisines from all around the world that can be found on this small but diverse pocket of Norwood – think of those hailing from Thailand, Italy, China, America, India, and Australia (to name a few).
New kids on the block Bravo’s Kitchen has aimed to place themselves as a “point of difference”, given their location. Formerly known as Cafe Bravo, this place used to specialize in Italian dining, but being surrounded by other Italian restaurants didn’t really give them that “edge” factor. The cafe used to alright, but there is a distinct memory of less frequented visits to Cafe Bravo due to their customer service. But that’s all changed, and oh! What a refreshing change it has been!
I was fortunate enough to have a chat with manager Rory Gillespie, who has not only worked hard with his team in bringing a healthier and greener change to the menu, but has also started revamping the presentation of the store.
From channeling the beautiful yellow radiance of the sunshine in their bright yellow menus offering vegan and gluten-free options, to incorporating clever Vegan puns and simplistic twines wrapped on his potted plants, Bravos Kitchen is certainly looking fresher and happier with the much-needed facelift it needed for quite a while now.
If you’re a lover of puns, then boy are you in for a treat!
From their breakfast menu, we tried three smoothie bowls (available 8am – 1130am at $12.90 per bowl), all of whose names I fell in love with:
- Let The Man-Go with mango, banana, pineapple, chia gel, coconut water, and granola
Packed with a burst of fresh flavors, super summery bowl, subtle sweetness.
- I Can’t Believe It’s Not-Tella with banana, dates, raw cacao, hazelnuts, almond milk and granola
Did you ever think that bananas and dates would mix well? Here’s the proof! A dish for the chocolate lovers to enjoy guilt-free.
- Acai What You Did There with acai, berries, banana, lime, coconut flakes, chia gel, coconut water, and granola
Normally not a huge fan of acai, but coupled with berries and banana, it works brilliantly.
It has been a struggle to find a smoothie bowl that isn’t super cacao-y, too milky, or overly watery…cue in the bowls at Bravo’s! Each of these smoothie bowls are packed with ingredients that not only provide you with nutrients and healthy benefits, but also deliver in freshness and taste. It’s hard to pick a favourite as it depends on your ideal mix of ingredients. No matter what you choose, though, you will enjoy a hearty breakfast meal.
The spiced purple carrot dumplings with sesame maple soy sauce ($12) surprised me. Being a non-vegan, I’ve never fathomed the possibility of having dumplings without meat in it. Having tried vegetarian dumplings in the past, I wasn’t overly impressed by the idea. But, these dumplings proved me wrong – light in texture and act as a healthy alternative for a snack. Coupled with the soy sauce, it’s a great option of a meal where sweet meets savory.
Talking about the chickpea falafel with Harissa puree and roasted citrus eggplant with flat bread ($13), the falafel was crumbly in texture and with the first bite, you can see chunky bits of falafel effortlessly falling through. The puree was a unique taste on the classic Bolognese sauce and complemented the juiciness from the eggplant. Overall, a very diverse dish that uses only a few ingredients that, together, delivers powerfully in taste.
It is pleasing to see that Bravo’s Kitchen has incorporated several (tasty) vegan options on their menu, but they have not limited it to just that. There are several non-vegetarian (red meat, white meat, seafood) options that are also available, including share platters ($13 – $18), pizzas ($19.99 – $26.90), and main courses ($19.50 – $27.50). There are also options for the little ones, with a kids menu that offers options of nuggets + chips, pizzas, toasties, and pasta ($10.90 – $12.90). Looking for dessert? Bravo’s Kitchen has a quaint selection of delicious cakes, pastries, and other baked goods, which are available by the counter in store. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options decorate the menu – by doing so, Bravo’s Kitchen aims to cater to a wide array of customers.
While it might take some time for the locals to adjust to the changes that Bravo’s Kitchen has brought to the table, we can safely say that the people behind this new business are passionate about delivering only the best service to the people who visit and dine there. All food is made from locally sourced ingredients, the customer service is heaps better than what it used to be, back when it was Café Bravo, and the menu selection sounds (and tastes) much healthier and fresher. The Kitchen has done a great job at providing a classic cuisine with a modern twist.
Words & Photography by Fatema Sitabkhan