A CAFE with no coffee is a bit like a pub with no beer.
Native Feel Real has neither coffee nor beer on its menu. This Manly cafe also doesn’t have dairy, animal protein and refined sugar.
Coincidentally, the clumsily-named cafe has settled into the hole in the wall vacated by the sugar king himself Adriano Zumbo.
Instead this concept cafe, which opened 14 months ago, beats to a diet of beets, nuts, seeds, fruit and veg.
Native Feel Real is a raw food cafe and its menu takes food back right back to basics — or to extremes — depending on your viewpoint. It is chock-a-block with raw, unprocessed food. Native’s food philosophy focuses on food preparation using undressed, unrefined food not heated above 44 degrees.
A raw food diet swaps acidic for alkaline food and keeps the nutrients and enzymes in the food, owner Betania Barkway says.
Native has evolved from studying hospitality at TAFE, attending raw food courses with local diet advocate Amanda Brocket and research at Cafe Gratitude in LA and in Bali.
Barkway eats what she preaches and claims that after three years she now has more energy and doesn’t have that bloated feeling.
After the colourful and crunchy Native salad bowl for lunch, I certainly felt lighter (as did my purse) and quite virtuous, although I’m not sure that I comfortably adopt such a strict regimen.
The spiraliser gets a lunchtime workout for the rawsome spaghetti, which is made with zucchini, homemade basil pesto and cashew parmesan. The ‘cheesiness’ comes from nutritional yeast.
And a raw pizza will never replace the real thing — no matter how healthy it is.
Native has burgers too — there’s a sweet potato and bean patty served with activated cashew aioli and wrapped in iceberg lettuce.
One special — the rather tasty eggplant burger in a wholemeal roll with barbecue sauce — has been such a success that it is going to be on the menu over summer. The patty isn’t meat, but it should satisfy hungry carnivores.
Breakfast is more mainstream than extreme. Dehydrated 14-hour raw granola and homemade almond milk and coco yoghurt could appear on any trendy cafe’s menu.
For drinkies there are ginger shots, cleansing green juices sipped through bamboo straws, smoothies and turmeric lattes.
If you fancy a sneaky coffee, Barefoot Coffee Traders is next door when it reopens after renos. Alternatively if you want a craft beer, then 4 Pines is just around the corner.
What: Native Feel Real
Where: 1a/40 E Esplanade, Manly
Phone: 9977 1617
Open: Daily, from 7.30am — 5pm
Go for: rawsome spaghetti with basil pesto and cashew ‘parmesan’, $16; eggplant burger with barbecue sauce, $16.50; acai bowl with raw granola, $15.50; Mayan warrior smoothie with coconut milk, $9.50
Vibe: Raw deal
Bottom line: $53