A kitchen dedicated to organic wholefoods and raw cuisine. It’s a Sydney first and it’s here to stay.
Sadhana Kitchen. You may have heard of it. It began life as a raw food pop-up in the backstreets of Enmore before securing a spot on its main strip. Now, it’s grown into one of Sydney’s most acclaimed raw/vegan/organic/gluten-and-dairy-free kitchens.
And it’s not planning on relocating again anytime soon.
Image credit: James Watkins
Which may come as a disappointment to inner-east foodies who’ve been following the venture, which was to relocate to Surry Hills last year. But plans are never concrete in this industry and that move sadly didn’t work out. So here, on Enmore Road, is where Sadhana’s made home.
It’s the debut venture of nursing graduate and current vegan Maz Pugoy. That’s right, vegan. While Sadhana flaunts the flag as a raw food cafe, Maz admits she’s only “80% raw.” Which comes as a relief to those of us still working toward developing healthier habits and cleaner and greener guts.
Even the best of us aren’t 100%.
Like many Sydneysiders, this lifestyle wasn’t something Maz was initiated into at birth. Growing up, the now 26-year-old entrepreneur knew little of raw eating. Or veganism. Or green vegetables. “My background’s Filippino,” she says. "I grew up on spam, corned beef, chicken, rice and potatoes." It’s a culture that revolves around starchy foods and meat, so you can imagine what her parents’ response was when Maz broke the news of her newfound veganism:
“They thought I was going through a phase,” she laughs. “Two-and-a-half years later and they must’ve realised... it wasn’t a phase!”
It took time, but Maz finally opened their views to embrace a healthier, less meat-heavy, diet – and a visit to Sadhana is sure to do you a similar favour.
As to be expected; all food is organic, the menu’s seasonal, produce is locally sourced where possible and every dish – from the onion bread to zucchini lasagna – is raw. Which doesn’t mean it’s not cooked. “Raw means it’s prepared and processed without exceeding 40⁰C,” Maz explains. “But we cook ours at 38⁰C.” Because, you know, they can. It all comes down to using alternative methods, like dehydration, to achieve a similar outcome.
Top of the dehydration list is Sadhana’s crisp and curly Kumara Chips. These come as a side to the kitchen’s sandwiches – which includes anything from coconut bacon to eggplant pastrami. Yes, coconut in lieu of bacon and eggplant for pastrami.
It’s a “raw-exchange” that we fast discovered was paramount to Sadhana’s intriguing menu. For as we sat there drinking our mind-boosting superfood smoothie of cacao powder, chia seeds, strawberry and banana (Smooth Criminal) in the light open space, the words “Tejas Tacos” tickled our ears as a plate slid across our grainy wooden table. But instead of the crispy corn shell that our minds had anticipated our mouths for, what lay before us were three generously sized romaine lettuce leaves, each cupping salsa, guacamole, house-fermented sour cream and an addictive salted walnut mince.
They were just as good and just as messy as the cooked version.
You can thank Maz for that. Despite having a team of well-seasoned chefs (one of which is ex-Mojo, all of which are passionate about healthy eating) on rotation in her kitchen, it’s her who curates and crafts the menu - including what you don’t see on the board.
As if the bragging rights for being Sydney’s only organic wholefoods and raw food cafe isn’t enough, this healthy trailblazer also hosts sell-out seven-course raw degustation evenings and is the proud owner of Sydney’s only organic, raw, vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free high tea. Now there’s a mouthful.
And a healthy one too.