It’s been a tough two years for hearts and livers. The greasy, bready wonders of the USA have besieged this town and we've celebrated them all with gusto. And so it’s with pure joy and huge relief that our vital organs bid welcome to Barry: the blazing bright new Northcote café where everything from the soaring white walls stacked with potted grasses to the power breakfasts packing kale and quinoa vibrates with freshness and pep. Health food here is a party, not a penance.
This is the handiwork of industry family Loren, Kael and Matt Sahely from Pillar of Salt, and you can tell they’ve spent the past couple of years figuring out what people want for breakfast.
A near-solid banana smoothie comes in a pint mug and looks like a gut-buster but its only crime is a sprinkling of cacao nibs and a dollop of peanut butter, which gets blended in with almond milk and frozen bananas to make a creamy, icy breakfast-in-a-mug that neither fat lovers nor your mum could fault. Then there’s the IQ-boosting brunch salad that sees waves of bright, gin-cured ocean trout draped over a citrusy speed hump of nutty freekeh and pomegranate jewels, all topped with baby herbs and a soft-centred boiled egg gently torn in two. It’s a win for everyone, whether you’re glutarded or just like to see a café flipping the tired old eggs and sourdough numbers the bird.
The even better news is it’s not all kale and Kumbaya. Barry is just as happy to pistol whip your liver with impressively fatty wonders.
Cheese fans can go for the thin, golden omelette wrapped around a molten core of porcini mushrooms in a mire of Tallegio – the most delicious of all the foot-ripe cheeses – crunched up with toasted hazelnuts. You can super size your super grain and kale salad with serious sides like juicy pork and apple sausages or smashed avocado and feta. Peanut butter abounds. We’re all for it in our hot chocolate where the spread adds some extra body, but paired with tomatoes on toast, the tart acid and nut combo is a table divider – a poll of our group indicates you’ll only love it if you had a crazy parent who did.
A month in, Barry has some serious fans. On a Saturday morning the communal tables are packed with health fans draped in ponchos, parents draped with children, and the plaid patrol in shades the size of satellite dishes applying 5 Senses pour over coffees like a balm.
The room is breezy, the tunes are cruisy and the name is endearing, even if it is like calling a pet dog ‘Steve’. We'll be back.