On Friday, as the sun was losing the fight against the clouds and the rain for the weekend was closing in, a friend at work and I decided to escape the office and try somewhere new for lunch in Northbridge. After tossing up a few options, we decided to head to CNR Kitchen, a small cafe in the Northbridge Piazza, just under the big screen. I had been there for breakfast a couple of times when it was relatively new and had fond (if somewhat vague) memories of the food, so off we went, jubilant in being being outside for a short time after a long week at work.
Tucked away in corner of the piazza, if you didn’t know CNR was there you would likely walk straight past it – particularly with the Northbridge Brewing Company next door with its enticing beer garden. However, it is well worth checking out – the food is certainly a lot healthier!
The menu focuses on paleo, vegan and raw food, with a wide range of healthy juices, and they are licensed if you feel like something a little less wholesome.
When I think back on going to CNR years ago, I don’t remember it being as raw food focused as it was on this visit. Maybe it was that I was just a young thing without a care in the world about what I ate last time that I went, or maybe it was that they weren’t so into raw food then – this food movement has experienced a big uprising since that time. Either way, it was a really pleasant surprise and a really different dining experience for me. Having said that, as we perused the menu, and I was interested to see that they had options like bacon bombs and pies alongside the healthier options – a menu to suit everybody!
We ordered some juices to start off with – a green juice with kiwi, apple, baby spinach ($7.50) and a ginger burst which was made up of apple, ginger, cucumber and lemon ($6.70).
They were both really gorgeous juices – full of flavour and not too sweet. I loved the amount ginger in mine, but I love ginger in anything!
To fill my grumbling tummy, I had the puttenesca with zuchinni and carrot ‘noodles’, and olives, sundried tomatoes, basil, tomato concasse, capers and macadamia ricotta ($20.70), which was (get ready for this) raw, vegan, dairy free, gluten free and paleo! Normally I find dishes that lack all these ingredients to also be fun free, but I was willing to give tone a go as it sounded so interesting. Lauren ordered the ‘Rainbow Raw’, a vibrant sounding salad with rocket and cos, avocado, spiralised beet and carrot, macadamia ricotta, sticky chilli lime almonds, pepper nut parmesan and orange cider dressing ($21).
I had never had vegetable noodles before, and it was an interesting experience! I had expected them to still be warm for some reason, but when they came out cold and I thought about I realised that would have made them a bit too floppy to support the dish. Once I got over my initial confusion about this, I really enjoyed my meal. The capers were salty and plentiful, and the macadamia ricotta almost crunchy. I am not sure I would go so far as to say it tasted like regular ricotta, but it worked with this dish. Accompanied by the ginger juice, I felt so refreshed.
The rainbow raw was a hit with Lauren, who exclaimed that it was one of the nicest salad’s she had ever had. Plentiful, with fresh ingredients and topped off with the tangy dressing, it was a real hit.
Between the juices and the health food, CNR made me feel like I was doing my body a favour. If paleo or raw is your thing, or you are slightly intrigued by it as I was, they CNR is well worth a visit for some fresh tasty produce.
They also had an interesting range of dessert options, including raw macarons and brownies, but unfortunately we had dilly dallied over the menu before lunch for too long and there was no time left for this. I did spy that they have raw pizza that I would be intrigued to try though, so maybe that is something to go back for! Although there are so many places on my wish list these days, that it seems like I hardly ever make it back anywhere a second time!