Kirra, Coolangatta and Tweed Heads

Sunday 23 March 2014

Greenhouse Factory Restaurant Review

Vegan dining goes mainstream at Kirra beachfront

Please note: Greenhouse Factory is no longer at Kirra due to a major high-rise redevelopment of the site. The team from greenhouse factory have relocated to Miami and are now called Greenhouse Canteen

At last! Queensland’s vegan dining scene grows up. This is a restaurant that embraces all; a place where earth-loving vegans and their family, friends and colleagues can all meet in style with no dampened expectations or compromise required on either side. It’s a calculated business move on the part of owner, Natalie, whose vision it is “to bring plant-based dining to the mainstream market” and “make vegan dining accessible and sustainable”.  She has certainly done this with a restaurant that has real commercial appeal: there’s not a hint of the hippy, hari or hipster vibe that vegan food lovers have come to accept as their restaurant lot in life.
The location is prime Kirra real estate, directly across from the beach and up the top of Lord Street. The corner locale gives breezy outdoor dining options with ample shade. Mellow timber tables, chairs, and outdoor decking and walls ooze earthy upmarket appeal while inside is cool and classy with ambient green wall plantings and a sleek industrial look that’s very carefully and artfully put together: hugely inviting and instantly relaxing.
Wholesome goodness pervades the menu with no sacrifice to delectability. The lunchtime menu offers 8 choices. The vegetable garden burger ($23) gets my vote not least for the irresistibly tasty accompanying chickpea fries and the generous serving.  The tropical rice paper rolls ($15) are a light and lovely option; nicely done with a chilli, soy, lime dipping sauce.  And the minted red quinoa salad with cannelloni, red onion and cashews ($18), replete with leafy kale, tasted utterly delicious and left me feeling completely self-satisfied and virtuously smug from the newly gained heights of my high moral (cruelty-free, locally-sourced, organic, superfood) ground.
The restaurant is open for dinner from 5pm making it perfect for the early diners. I took my rather discerning, steak-loving, elderly Mum here recently. She had no complaints at all with her choice of the quinoa chilli ($24). In fact I do believe I heard her utter the word “vegan” in a tone of wholehearted appreciation and ungrudging respect for the very first time.
Those on raw vegan and gluten-free diets will feel in heaven here with a wealth of offerings including a raw zucchini parcel ($23) and raw pesto zucchini noodles ($19). Freshly blended fruit smoothies and cocktails – served up big in jug-sized glass containers - are a sweetly delicious health kick and a meal unto themselves.
A breakfast visit is on my must-do list: the pesto scramble tofu ($18) sounds totally inviting and as alluring as the intriguing “spinach and banana pancakes” ($22). The words “banana cinnamon coconut French Toast topped with berry compote and maple glaze” ($16) are simply music to vegan ears.
The staff are smart, young and happy and the service is admirably accommodating. I applauded in quiet amazement at a recent Saturday lunchtime meet-up of over 20 where the waitresses painstakingly recorded and tallied each person’s order separately thus allowing each to leave the party and settle the tab at their convenience on the way out – a deeply appreciated gesture that neatly avoided that fraught group dining ritual of complex communal accounting. Service indeed!
This place scores high, a perfect 10 awaiting only a slightly more adventurous dive into the sumptuous depths of flavours and ingredients now on offer from the world of plant-based cuisine. Knowing the calibre of this restaurant team, I’m sure that’s on its way! 

Please note: Greenhouse Factory is no longer at Kirra due to a major high-rise redevelopment of the site. The team from greenhouse factory have relocated to Miami and are now called Greenhouse Canteen

Address: 1/74 Musgrave street, Coolangatta (corner Musgrave and Lord streets).

Phone: (07) 5599 1112

Facebook: Greenhouse Factory

Hours: Tuesday to Friday 11am - late. Sat and Sunday 8.30am - late. Closed Monday.

In a nutshell: Pure vegan joy with mainstream appeal


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16 Sep 14

Ali Dark

What! And I don't live there any more. Tragic. Seriously though that's amazing.