Fort Green – Northcote
Review & Images by Kate Taylor
The new gem northside is Fort Green, which opened its doors just six weeks ago. Offering more than a café, and much more than the healthy food fad sweeping Melbourne, the upstairs yoga studio set to open January 2018, and the beginnings of a flourishing indoor nursery, promises a nurturing hub for Northcote.
If you’re anything like me, you hear wholefood bowls and rose water and think, “Nah.” But I’m serious when I say, leave your judgement at the door and say, “Yes!” – your body and brain will thank you.
It was a lazy Sunday morning, perfect early Summer. High St was abuzz with young people tucking into smashed avocado, pups were out for their walk before the heat kicked in, and I was in the mood for bacon. Spoiler: I never did get that bacon. Stepping off the street into Fort Green is like crossing a threshold – it’s a breath of fresh air, a cuddle for body and mind, and rare treat of personal space. The walkways are wide, the walls painted a heritage green. The lights are soft and wiry, and hang from the high ceilings like curious boughs from the same wanting tree.
Walk through the café towards the Pantry, through the nursery to the big sun-filled courtyard out the back. You’ll be greeted with large communal tables, a back gate so you can bring your pups, exposed brick, and a flurry of new plants set to attach themselves and grow up the surrounding wooden slats.
Do not walk away from Fort Green without trying the Rose Water Latte or the Golden Latte. One sweet, one savoury, both like Christmas in your tummy.
I personally couldn’t walk away without tasting the Banana & Walnut Smoothie, a combination of banana, manuka honey, walnut, coconut yoghurt, cinnamon, nutmeg and almond milk. It’s subtle and not too sweet, and surprisingly, despite how big it is, did not make me hate myself when I’d finished the whole thing. There’s something about the mix of these healthy ingredients that act like magic.
Now to the Wholegrain Bowl. I chose the Mushroom Bowl – roasted mushrooms, seasonal greens, avocado, 60° egg, and a slice of wholegrain sourdough. When they say mushrooms, they’re not mucking around. This bowl is for a serious mushroom fan like myself. The egg was so perfectly poached, I watched teary-eyed as it broke and spread across the pile of crazy mushrooms, kale and seasoned broccoli!
But I didn’t stop. Oh no. I also tasted the Smoked Salmon Toast with avocado, dill and capers. The thick-cut wholegrain sourdough toast was completely covered with smashed avocado, topped with little heavenly balls of bright smoked salmon, garnished with delicate wisps of spring onion.
Feeling warm and cared for, I trod off to find the owners – eager to hear from them about their piece of gentle forest in the middle of busy High St.
Co-owner and nutritionist, Bannie Williams, shines bright with a radiance that emanates from a healthy lifestyle and all those wholefood bowls! Fort Green was designed by the other half of this collaboration, the calm, reserved Nick Cooke. From the interior to the courtyard, the branding and the menu design, he’s thought of it all.
You can’t help but think Fort Green has taken the best from both. Given life and love, it is now starting to walk on its own.
So go get yourself some inner peace in the New Year at Fort Green’s new yoga studio, and then grab some nourishing breakfast, carefully selected by Bannie and Nick, with love. You’ll have completely forgotten about that bacon, I swear.
**Kate was a guest of Fort Green/Michelle Campbell – Minc Communications
Connie Lambeth – The Australia Times News
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