Cafe review: Raw Power
A completely vegetarian cafe menu isn't everyone's idea of a good time. Carnivores would likely run screaming for the door. But Boyfriend and I – who on a normal day love nothing better than a juicy steak – are highly impressed by the meat-free lunches on offer in front of us.
It's been years since I last visited Vulcan Lane institution Raw Power but I'm glad to see the diverse menu still looks as good as ever. As well as your regular breakfast dishes (minus the bacon and sausage), there is a huge selection of hot meals and a salad bar where you can choose your own combinations.
We both order freshly squeezed juices, which are vibrantly coloured and frothy, straight from the juicer. My apple, carrot and beetroot juice is a bright purple and tastes delicious. Boyfriend's dark, sludge-green spirulina has a strong banana taste and isn't to my liking but he thoroughly enjoys it, slurping it all up in what seems like only a couple of gulps. Our waiter tells us the juices are made from whole fruits and vegetables – they don't remove the skins – and no concentrate, water or sugar is added, which makes us feel even more virtuous in our choices.
Boyfriend also likes his Sri Lankan roti, a blend of spicy vegetables wrapped in light, fluffy roti, complemented by a tangy fruit chutney and green side salad. My vegetable and cashew tart has a piped mashed potato top standing high and proud, hiding a creamy sauce, vegetables and nuts inside. The pastry case is delicious and tastes homemade. The tart comes with salad; I could have chosen my own but instead let the assistant choose for me and receive three selections – noodles with sesame seeds and bean sprouts; beetroot; and baked potato. All are incredibly tasty and all together, the dish is very filling.
Our sunny spot at a window table overlooking the Vulcan Lane hipsters and weekend shoppers below is a great spot to linger, which we do with coffees and newspapers to nicely round off our meal.
When Boyfriend says it has been "nice to eat something different, fresh and good for you", I nearly fall off my chair in amazement and make a mental note to add more vegetarian meals to our repertoire at home.
WHERE: 10 Vulcan Lane (above O'Carrolls), Auckland, ph (09) 303-3624.
WHEN: Monday to Saturday 7am-4pm; Sunday 11am-4pm.
WHAT'S TO EAT: Vegetarian and vegan breakfasts, salads, lunch dishes and juices.
HOW MUCH: $51.80 for two mains, two coffees and two freshly squeezed fruit juices.
WHAT DO WE THINK: An old favourite, still fresh, full of goodness.
Sunday Star Times